1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

What should be on a goat's diet?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by ChickHick134, Jul 31, 2014.

  1. ChickHick134

    ChickHick134 In the Brooder

    44
    2
    24
    Mar 4, 2014
    I have 5 miniature silky goats who all weigh differently but average in the range of 40-50 pounds. One of the females may be lighter. There is one wether and the rest females. They have access to minerals and are fed 1 cup of grain in the morning and fed orchard grass at lunch time.

    Right now I'm working on making a hay feeder that doesn't waste so much hay. Anyway I would like to know how much each goat should eat of what and if I need to add anything else in their diet. Thanks!
     

  2. ChickHick134

    ChickHick134 In the Brooder

    44
    2
    24
    Mar 4, 2014
    Bump
     
  3. ChickHick134

    ChickHick134 In the Brooder

    44
    2
    24
    Mar 4, 2014
    Bump
     
  4. cassie

    cassie Crowing

    5,307
    1,065
    361
    Mar 19, 2009
    What you need to feed them depends on their body condition and what they are used for. Unless they are young growing stock, thin, milking, or in the latter stages of pregnancy they don't need much grain. They should have all the hay or other roughage they can eat. Unless you have a hay feeder of some sort they will waste hay so a feeder of some sort is a must. You can feed some feed alfalfa pellets if you like. They need to be vaccinated with CD/T for tetanus and enterotoxemia if this hasn't been done already. And they need access to a salt block and a mineral mix. That is about it.
     
  5. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Songster

    817
    77
    111
    Jul 13, 2014
    Dateland Arizona
    I feed my nubian a leaf of hay and a cup of oats a day and all the weeds she can eat in the back yard, i also have a mineral block for her. [​IMG]
     
  6. Anna6

    Anna6 Songster

    797
    81
    176
    Jan 3, 2014
    SoCal
    Ours eat alfalfa and have a block of salt in the field. The milkers get grain with molasses when they are being milked.
     
  7. You are going to get answers all over the place, but the reality is they should be fed a consistent diet, don't suddenly change it up on them... A goat that has been fed a diet of grain can handle it fine, on the other hand if you take a grass fed goat and give it lots of grain chances are you are going to have issues... Don's suddenly change up their diets and they should be fine...

    When I got my goats, I did a ton of readying on preferred diets and to be blunt there is no real consensus...

    What I did find is a bunch of people proclaiming, if you feed them this or that you will kill them, followed by someone saying that is the primary diet for my goats and they are not dead...

    Mine pasture graze all summer, I heavily over seeded my pasture with a premium horse pasture seed this spring (best $70 I have every spent on food), let it grow up to about a foot tall before I let the goats and llamas out of the barn, and I have not supplemented at all this summer and they are all a healthy weight... For winter I feed mine whatever local 'horse' grade hay I can get cheap that is about a 20% alfalfa, 80% mixed grass, the llamas get a daily supplement of a little grain during the winter and the goats get a treat of grain, not a daily thing... My animals are locked in a barn all winter and way form the elements (not heated but still not wind or snow) so if your are outside a little more grain might help them keep warm...

    As for how much, well I found if I overfeed them it just becomes bedding, they just pull it out of the hay rack and waste it... So it became a trial and error process that was pretty easy, I justed watched how much waste was on the ground each day and adjusted until that amount was minimal...
     

  8. ChickHick134

    ChickHick134 In the Brooder

    44
    2
    24
    Mar 4, 2014
    Thanks for all the answers! I mostly ask this because recently one of my wethers died from some unknown reason. I wrote that story below encase someone didn't want to read it. Anyway, the farm we bought our first goats fed their adult grain, alfalfa pellets, and sunflower seeds mix. We mostly just feed ours grain and will just stick to that based upon the responses. We give them just one cup a day with open pasture, hay and the salt lick plus minerals.

    I decided to write about my recent wether's death to see if any of you were interested or had any ideas.

    It was night and I came up to shut the doors of the chicken coop when I noticed Bracken, the wether, sitting in the goat house by himself. I knew isolation was a sign of sickness but I would wait till morning to see how he was so. Morning came and all the goats ran out into the pasture to eat their grain. Bracken was still in the goat house his head was slightly lowered as he watched from the doorway. I slowly led him to the pasture and to his grain feeder. He didn't eat anything. Night time came around and he was laying beside the fence, I noticed or possibly just looking too carefully for signs, that his breathing was a little choppy and breathy. It was too late in the day to call a vet so I gave him a wormer and treated him for coccidia. The next day he was still laying down but he ate a little grain.

    I knew there was something wrong. I called the local farm vet and he came out within thirty minutes. He gave Bracken a wormer and another shot and something in the mouth but I came remember at the moment what the names were. The vet said by morning he should be up and moving and eating. He thought it was parasites. I was unsure but hopeful.

    So the next morning I go up there to see Bracken in the corner of the fence. His head is lightly bobbing down and up. The vet said he would be better but now he seemed worse. I don't think the shots the vet gave him were treating the right thing. I called up my friends who know some more experienced vets and get a number. I call and schedule an appointment. The vet I had to go to now was around 2 hours away. I gave Bracken a lot of water with electrolytes. The only thing he ate was Ritz crackers. He could stand but not walk properly. His head bobbing was worse and was in nonstop movement. When I called his name he gave a small cry. I began thinking it had to do with his nervous system.

    I drove to the vet and the whole way there he kept getting worse. He no longer reacted when I called his name. He begun having seizures and clear liquid slightly sticky, possibly his saliva.

    I took him in the vet and what she thought it was possibly copper something where copper builds up in a goats liver and when it gets stressed it just all weighs down on the goat because goats shouldn't be having copper. We told her the goats live in the same area as chickens and her thoughts were that the Bracken could be eating the chicken poop because chicken poop has lots of copper but we have never seen him eat it. The only thing the goats eat related to the chickens is the chicken food but we try to keep the goats out of that as much as possible.She also saw that the inside of his eyelids were a orangeish color which they hadn't been yesterday.

    She ran some blood tests and saw he had 39,000 white blood cells which is wayyy above average. With only Bracken's seizures getting worse and her thoughts of his survival chances very low we made the decision to put him down.

    The vet called us later to share when she had done an autopsy the liver was practically destroyed. And in his stomach was a whole trash bag and something plastic though she doesn't believe that is what killed him. They think it could be a toxic plant seeing as our goats to access to a small portion of woods. But they are testing and going over results so at the moment we have no idea. That is why I asked about the diet to see if that could have any possible influence though I doubted it would.

    I know that was a lot to read but thank you for all the readers and if anyone has any ideas or thoughts please share. I have other goats that I pray don't have the same future as Bracken. And sadly to admit, I have favorites and he certainly was one of them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2014

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by