Feed for Goats??!!!

Discussion in 'Goats' started by barnyardfun, Oct 27, 2005.

  1. barnyardfun

    barnyardfun Happy Homemaker Supporter

    Mar 26, 2005
    Okay, I am new to goats and am the proud new owner of three! One doe is milking (just got her yesterday and her 6 mth doeling is still trying to nurse her so I am going to try to get some milk out of her while she still has some!) One is due to kid in January.

    ANYWAY! I have done so many searches on here to find out what they need for feed besides hay (by the way is bermuda grass hay okay??) and I am now more confused on this topic then when I started! I went to TSC tonight and looked at their feed and ended up coming home with 10% sweet feed and a mineral block.

    Now from reading all the post on here I don't know if I am supposed to be feeding alfalfa hay, rolled oats, cracked corn, sweet feed, goat feed?, black oil sunflower seeds, any or all the above!! SEE HOW CONFUSED I AM???

    Please somebody make this easy on my poor little mind!! :stars:

    WHAT DO I FEED MY GOATS!!?? :shrug:
  2. titansrunfarm

    titansrunfarm The Awesome PT & Friends

    Aug 14, 2005
    Dinwiddie, Southern VA
    Yep, this place can confuse the tar out of you, but their is a pile to be learned here also.
    I feed 16% goat sweet mix from the feed store and timothy/orchardgrass hay. Occaisionally they get a handful of BOSS (black oil sunflower seeds) in their grain and they seem to like the horse treats I have also. They are at pasture during the day, also. I have heard some say don't feed wethers any grain but I need more info on this, too.

  3. trnubian

    trnubian Twin-Reflection Nubians

    Mar 18, 2005
    Yes, It all is confusing and different people have different opinions on how to feed their goats. It's all in what works and is most economical for you.

    We raise and competetively show Nubians. This means they have to be in top condition and milking to the best of their abilities. We keep our does slightly round throughout the winter to help them keep warm. A nice healthy looking animal will have a large deep barrel that springs out in a "pregnant look" mostly to her left side (this is where her rumen is).

    We live in North Central Indiana and we have access to grass hay and alfalfa hay. I don't know what kind of hay Bermuda grass is so I can't really help you there. :confused:

    If you can find alfalfa hay that would be your best choice. If not you can supplement grass hay with alfalfa pellets.

    Milking goats, kids, and bucks in rutt and after rutt need grain. Some people will debate this with me. However, around here, our nutrient supply in the hay is NOT enough to keep a goat going well and strong, so they need supplements. If you want a doe to milk to her potential, you HAVE to feed her grain and enough of it to make it worth feeding her grain at all.

    We have our own grain mixed at our local elevator. It is cheaper for us to do this ($5-$6 a bag compared to $8-$15 a bag of premixed goat feed). I DON'T like the pre mixed goat feed at all and it is more expensive. The goats do SO MUCH better on the formula that we have made up for them. It is more balanced with what they need in it. We can have a batch made up specifically for the milkers, one for the kids, and one for the bucks. They are all different not one formula like the premixed goat feeds.

    We feed an 18% protein grain and alfalfa hay to our milkers. This is during show season and milk production. (We get 12-16lb. of milk out of our girls a day). We feed hard and they milk hard while staying in top condition.
    Our kids get about a 14% protein feed and alfalfa hay.
    Our bucks also get about a 14% protein feed and alfalfa hay, but we don't have the dairy pellet put into the buck feed like we do the doe and kid feed.

    Baking soda free choice is a good idea. It helps them to balance the acidity of their stomachs, it's like pepto or soda water for us. They know when they need it and will eat more of it than you would think.

    Free choice minerals are also good. I don't like the block minerals, goats really need a free choice loose mineral, but blocks will wok if that's all you have available. We feed a beef cattle mineral that has worked very well for our goats. It is called ADE mineral and we get it at our local elevator where we have our feed made. A VERY GOOD goat mineral is called Golden Blend Goat Minerals. It is found at Hoeggar supply. It is expensive so we only feed it throughtout the show season. Otherwise, they get the ADE minerals.

    Good luck and I hope I helped you out a little. If you want to know what our feed mix is PM me and I will write it out for you.
  4. midkiffsjoy

    midkiffsjoy Bedias, Texas

    Sep 29, 2005
    And if you ARENT confused ENOUGH, growing up we had a wether who ran willynilly and ate coastal hay by day (with the cows) and dog food outta the same bowl as the dog on the porch at night (Gosh our porch used to be SUCH a mess!) giggle.
  5. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

    Aug 22, 2005
    Ontario, Canada
    A milking goat would be better off with alfalfa hay, as it is high in calcium and she needs that! I'm not familiar with Bermuda hay, but I'm guessing it's a grass hay? I feed 2nd cut alfalfa free choice and a 16% dairy ration (it's for cattle but the feed mill assures me that it contains no urea - which is not good for goats). The ones that aren't milking get a just a handful for love. What I have seen recommended for ones that are milking is 1 pound of feed for maintenance and a 1/2 pound for every pound (pint) of milk they are producing. Mine produces about 4 quarts a day, so that's 8 lbs of milk - therefore I feed her 2 1/2 lbs of feed at each milking. Loose minerals and salt free-choice. I have baking soda but no container to put it in at the moment, gotta head out to TSC. :)
  6. daisy05

    daisy05 Member

    Oct 29, 2005
    North Carolina

    We give our goast sweet goat from our BP in NC!!!
    If any other questions are need answered just PM me
  7. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

    May 6, 2002
    North of Houston TX
    I wish if nothing else folks would get the whole forage/hay/grain idea. The quality of your forage/hay is THE most important thing. Grain should only be used for calorie intake in milk does, does who are heavy bred, very heavily used bucks and in growing kids. Protein does not make milk and feeding alfalfa hay AND a high protein grain is not needed.

    Your hay/forage is where you calcium/protein/roughage come from, so make it the best you can find. Good quality alfalfa hay if you can afford it, make sure and count the waste in feeding it, and make also sure you have keeping quality of this hay. Or choose alfalfa pellets, a guranteed protein, calcium and rougage source. Now supplement the high quality roughage in your goats diet with grain. Oats, corn, barley...all cereal grains are excellent, less so in corn, to increase calories, energy, carbs....BOSS is excellent for roughage and fat. If you keep your protein up in your hay than you do not have to rely on soy in your grain mix or horrors cottonseed meal for the protein. An excellent mineral mix in the grain is great, but you can do all of the above with oats and BOSS and keeping a great loose mineral out. You do not want to use more than 12% molassas in the mix per ton....most COBS and Chows contain up to 25%, it makes for a very highly acidic rumen...so then you compensate for that fact with bicarb/yeast etc., being fed...more things to buy, more things to keep goat poop out of :) and more money.

    My feeding program is very simple. Alfalfa pellets for everyone. Coastal Bermuda or Sudan hay for everyone (they eat very little of this, mostly during wet weather) grain which is really just a dry COB...a horse grain with an excellent mineral mix in it...12% for the milkers and kids, and for bucks needing some weight after being used heavily. And excellent mineral mix that is high in copper free choice, low in iron so it is not red, and although does have some molassas in it is not one of the first ingredients....also containing yeast and kelp so no seperate containers of several things to put out. I do up the protein of my kids use of this grain, with a knock off of calf manna (a soy supplement pellet) since my kids do not readily eat alfalfa pellets until they are a little older.

    I can not rely on alfalfa hay here, because of our keeping quality problems with our humidity. So alfalfa pellets work very well for us, not only with does who win, but in the milk pail (my girls pay their way here at the farm). Alfalfa pellets, lots of milk and grain also give me kids that are born in March and they themselves kid the following March.

    The whole grass hay and sweet feed way of feeding goats is very old time, and thankfully is being debunked.

    Try to think about small ruminant nutrition as the best quality high calcium/protein hay....all grain (no by products) to supplement the hay....Not the other way around. Vicki