How much grain?


10 Years
Apr 29, 2009
Northeastern Michigan
As my previous goat post mentioned I just got 2 Nigerian dwarf does about 4 months old. Neither one was in top condition, the little one Sugar was pretty bad I took her to the vet and found out she wasn't blind but had been on such a poor diet that she was having problems with her vision, she was either eating what she shouldn't have been or not eating what she should have been. Anyway she's so much better now, they are both happy goofy goats. They have shiny silky new hair coming in on the necks/shoulders and spreading over their bodies and they are growing like weeds. They've doubled in size since they got here, I'm going to need to let their collars out again. But lately they've been going nuts when I feed them grain (the goat chow stuff with pellets and loose grain pieces). They were eating from a two compartment feeder but started fighting so I hung another feeder, they are still being little brats to each other. Since they are growing so fast and were not in tip top shape should I modify the amount of grain I'm feeding. I don't want to make them sick with too much or not enough. What is the max amount I should give each one a day, I split it into two feedings, I've heard 3 cups is a max but that seems like a lot of grain for a little goat. What should I be feeding a day max and min, thanks.
Definitely make any diet changes with goats slowly. You're doing the right thing, splitting the feeding into two, smaller feedings. Grain is often best fed according to weight rather than volume.

How much hay do they eat everyday? That might help make a better decision on how much grain they should get. For example, some market goats who are fed grain only (no hay) are given 3.5-4% of their body weight in grain a day. But a goat getting hay is fed less grain, of course. And hay is very good for them, very important for proper rumen health.

I suggest trying to feed them separately. What I do, is I tie up my goats at different spots on their fence, and they get their grain ration. Means I stand there with them until they are all done (hah, that doesn't take long!) and then untie them when the last goat is done.The reason I do that, is because I lost a goat to bloat because she vacuumed up the other goats' grain. When her stomach was pumped by the vet, the contents had no hay, just all that grain she'd gorged on.
They have 24/7 access to really good hay its grassy with leafy bits here and there its dark green with a sweet hay smell. They eat lots of that and waste plenty too, lol. I've been feeding the recommended amount for their weight a little more then that actually. I know when puppies and such are growing like crazy sometimes you have to modify the amount. Well the goats are growing like weeds and eating lots of hay but all of a sudden they are going grain crazy. They seemed uninterested in the grain when I first got them and couldn't get enough hay, they are still hitting the hay hard but seem to want more grain then before. I don't know if they just like it or actually need more, its also gotten a lot colder here lately so maybe they are burning off a lot just staying warm. I just was wondering if there was a max amount per weight not listed on the bag or if the amount listed is the max amount. Maybe I should get some alfalfa pellets to offer too? or are they used like grain in the goats system? All my books say free access to hay, minerals, soda, and feed grain based on body weight and life stage, but only tell how much to increase for pregnant/milking does, breeding bucks, and very young growing kids. Doesn't say anything for dilapidated poorly nourished young goats much less dwarf ones. also I stay and watch mine too while they eat but they still try their hardest to steal the others feed who ever finishes first becomes a little monster until the other one is done.
I never grained my goats. They got hay and free choice browse and were always fine. I think like many animals, humans included, they'll start to prefer grain to other food that's actually more appropriate for them. A goat does just fine on hay and browse, even in the cold.
Alfalfa pellets should be introduced slowly as well. They're very protein rich, so a goat needs to ease onto a diet including them. Think of it more as a supplement, since they are getting hay. I'd never recommend replacing hay with pellets (I know you weren't planning on it, just wanted to mention it) because the long stem roughage of hay is better for rumen health than the already pulverized and pelletized pellets.

I never grained my goats. They got hay and free choice browse and were always fine. I think like many animals, humans included, they'll start to prefer grain to other food that's actually more appropriate for them. A goat does just fine on hay and browse, even in the cold.

Except Sylverfly's goats were acquired in poor condition. So they're not at an optimal weight. Hay and browse is great for maintaining their condition if they are healthy to begin with.
There isn't an animal on my farm that doesn't get grain twice a day. Pigs, steer, chickens, goats and ducks. I have standard breed goats now, but I started with miniatures. If they are gaining weight, that is what you want for now. When they get to be a good weight and look good, you can cut back a little on the grain, but I would always grain them twice a day. More when they kid and after kidding. I rescued an emiaciated alpine doe in milk this last March. She apparantly was never fed grain because when I gave it to her she sniffed it, looked at me and walked away from it. It took her a couple of days to figure out what it was and once she did, she loved it. I gradually worked her up so she was getting 2 cups of grain twice a day. Since drying her off, I have cut her grain in half and she is still looking good. It takes a long time to get them back into condition. I wouldn't introduce them to alfalfa at all. If they are getting a good grass hay and feed, they don't really need the alfalfa pellets. I would topdress their grain with Black Oil Sunflower seeds. It provides them with selenium and protein. Just a sprinkle on top of the grain when you feed them is what I do. Mine love BOSS!! If hubby feeds them and he doesn't put them on their grain they let him know it!!

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