Feeding goats

If you ask around, you hear that goats will eat anything. I’ve heard people say they will even eat tin cans!

While I’m sure that plenty of goats do eat a lot of things, I’m not sure they will eat anything.

Goats are browsers. They usually eat the brush and stuff that other animals leave behind. They also eat bark off of trees, leaves, sticks, funny little plants that I don’t know the names of.  And while mine have never eaten a can, they do eat the paper off of them, and paper off the ground. And they chew or nibble on clothes, shoelaces, hair, ears….anything they can reach.

Goats are pretty good about not eating things that are bad for them. We usually check to make sure that there aren’t any poisonous  (to them) plants in the pens. This is a good place to look for a list of plants that goats can and can’t eat. Actually, it’s a good website about goats, period.

Goats need a balanced diet just like we do. If your pasture can’t or doesn’t provide the proper nutrition, you will have to supplement it with additional hay and/or grain, especially if you have pregnant or milking does. Remember, what you feed to your goats, gets passed along to you, either in meat or milk.

We feed all of our goats free choice hay. That just means they have access to it at all times. During the winter, it’s a must for our animals, since the ground is hard and the grass has died (or is covered by snow and ice).

I also feed them grain once a day. I feed Purina goat feed (it’s a green bag, found at tractor supply.) Because it’s not medicated. Noble is supposed to be an excellent feed as well, I know a lot of goat farmers who feed this. You don’t want to feed it to does you are milking though, as it’s medicated.

The goats all have free choice loose minerals as well. It’s formulated to have everything a goat needs, including a little extra copper. The goats know when they need it, and eat accordingly. Just make sure that it’s available and refill it when empty.

Water is important, as well. Our goats have free access to water at all times.

You can also feed table and kitchen scraps as long as you don’t feed meat. We like to give them the veggie scraps and such.

I want to formulate a feed for the goats so I can make sure what we are giving them. I like the non medicated so when we are milking I don’t have to worry about drinking medicine. 🙂

What do you feed your animals? Do you prefer to build your own feed?

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