Disclaimer – This feeding program is what we have developed over the years and what works for our herd. Each location and herd will have differing needs and this summary is not a replacement for recommendations from a licensed veterinarian and/or animal nutritionist.
Hay: We feed alfalfa hay to all of our goats. Where we are located, it is the most readily available and the most economical for our herd. We fill the feeders once a day in the evenings, and they browse the pasture during the day once they’ve finished their hay. If pasture or browse is not available to you, a good orchard grass hay or grass/alfalfa blend would be a great option to feed. Special considerations need to be given to wethers, please go HERE for more info.
Pasture/Browse: Our does have a 2.5 acre pasture, and our bucks have a large grassy paddock for supplemental browsing. Before turning your animals out in a new pasture, make sure to look for and identify any plants that may be poisonous to your livestock. Plants vary by region. Here is a link to an article on Livestock Poisoning Plants of California from U.C. Davis.
–Minerals: Loose minerals are available 24/7 to all of our goats. We feed Sweetlix Meat Maker mineral, which we are able to order from our local feed store. We use this mineral feeder in our doe barn.
-Kelp: We fill these Fortiflex Mineral Feeders once a week with Thorvin Organic Kelp. The macro and micronutrients in kelp are beneficial to goats, and kelp helps by supplementing, iodine, cobalt, and other vitamins and minerals. I found this nutritional breakdown from Cornell University very interesting.
– Zinpro 40: We have a couple of does with zinc-reactive dermatitis (they are daughter and dam, it seems to be hereditary in this case). They have chronically dry skin, that is resolved by supplementing zinc daily in their diets. We do offer Zinpro 40 free choice to the herd once a week, but top dress grain on the stand for the does who need it.
Grain: In our herd, grain is only fed regularly to growing babies, and pregnant and milking mamas.
-Does: Our lactating does are fed a 16% dairy ration that is blended by our local feed mill. During the last week or two of pregnancy (will vary by doe) I will offer increasing amounts of the dairy feed to get them used to having a full milking ration once they kid. I also offer alfalfa pellets, free choice during the last week or two of pregnancy, and on the stand during lactation.
-Kids: At 2-3 weeks old, when we first separate the kids from their dam for milk test, we start to offer grain to the kids. We feed Purina Honor Show Chow Commotion to all the kids until they leave or until they are 6-8 months old. This is a feed that is medicated with a coccidiostat to help control coccidia growth on our kids. This feed also has ammonium chloride to help prevent urinary calculi (bladder stones) in bucks and wethers. Kids are offered free choice alfalfa, and are out with their dams, nibbling on grass in the pasture.
-Bucks: Our bucks do not get grain unless for some reason their condition has deteriorated and they need some extra groceries. In that case we feed them the show chow that is fed to the kids until their body condition is back to optimal. This feed has ammonium chloride and is properly formulated with a 2:1 Calcium:Phosphorus ratio that helps prevent urinary calculi (bladder stones)
Treats – Our Goats LOVE these Animal Crackers!