Grain for Goats: How Much and What Kind?
Have you ever wondered how much grain your goats should get and what the best grain for goats to have is? If these are questions you’ve been asking, don’t worry – we’ve all been there. And, to a certain degree, feeding your goats will somewhat depend on trial and error since so many different factors come into play. Nevertheless, we’ve outlined some of the key things you need to know about the best grain for goats, what you should be feeding your goats, and how to come up with a suitable goat feeding chart for your goats as follows.
Why is it Important to Find the Best Grain for Goats?
Creating a feeding plan for your goats can understandably be difficult. In many cases, it’s easy to just fling a little grain or compound feed to your goats and hope for the best – but, in reality, we often need a much more careful and tailored approach to feeding goats. With this thought in mind, finding the best grain for goats is highly important.
It’s worth considering that grain quality is equally as important as grain type. Indeed, grains can often become contaminated with molds, leading to mycotoxin build-ups in the grain. As such, it’s crucial to only use the highest-quality grains you can source and always check that your chosen grains have come from a reputable supplier. If you notice any spoilage in the grains whatsoever, do not risk it!
What are the Best Grains for Goats?
There are numerous different types of grains that people feed their goats. However, if you want the easiest solution, opting for a compound feed – made with numerous different types of grains and minerals – is often the best. Some other common grains include wheat, corn, and barley. However, I’d recommend being careful with feeding these straight, as they can cause excitability if not balanced out. Feeding too much grain in one go can significantly risk your goat’s health, putting them at risk of developing acidosis.
How Much Grain Should You Feed Your Goat Each Day?
If you’re planning on feeding your goats grain, you should never feed more than 500g in a single feed – ideally less. Since grains cause a spike in acidity in the rumen, feeding large amounts of grain in one go will substantially risk your goat’s health. It’s always best to split daily feeds into smaller meals, as such.
The amount of grain you should feed your goat daily will vary significantly. For example, my Boers don’t have any compound feed unless they are young, heavily pregnant, or lactating; however, some other goats may require more grain. Dairy goats in milk, in particular, may need large quantities of grain, due to the high demands placed on their body to produce milk.
How Can You Ensure Your Goat is Getting Enough Grain Each Day?
The best way to ensure that your goat is getting enough grain per day is to maintain their body condition score, which you can check by feeling its spine. It varies heavily from breed to breed, but generally, the spine should be present and rounded, without significant ridges or bumps; the latter indicates that the goat is not carrying much fat on their back. However, body condition-scoring goats can be tough, since they primarily carry fat around their internal organs rather than around their muscles.
If your goat is getting enough grain per day, it should maintain a healthy body condition. If they have been skinny, they should steadily gain body condition. However, if your goat begins to get fat, they are potentially having too much grain per day, and you should consider whether cutting them down may be a better option.
When is the Best Time to Feed Grain to Goats?
There’s no best time to feed grain to goats; you can feed your goats grain at any time of day. However, if feeding grain to your goats, you should always ensure that you feed them at roughly the same time of day to maintain consistency in the ration.
What are the Benefits of Feeding Grain to Goats?
There are some benefits associated with feeding grain to goats. The most notable benefit, however, is that grains offer an easily-digestible, nutritious source of energy compared to most forages. As such, grains can be a good option to top up your goat’s diet if their forage isn’t nutritious enough to meet their needs.
Plus, goats also really enjoy eating grains, which can make feeding grain an excellent way to keep your goats under control. Bucket training a goat to follow is often a much easier way of moving them than trying to round them up with dogs and the like.
How to Make a Suitable Goat Feeding Chart for your Goats
If you’re ready to begin planning your goat feeding chart, it’s worth contacting the person you bought the goats from to see what and how much they fed the goats before. This will give you a baseline to work from to begin making your goat-feeding chat.
Then, slowly alter your feeding rations accordingly. If you think your goats are not maintaining weight, and the issue isn’t health-related, you may want to increase the feed. If they are gaining too much weight, your goat feeding chart may not need to be quite as generous!
Trial and error is your friend here! Make slow, gradual changes, and monitor how your goats cope with these changes. This can help them adjust to the new diet easily and allows you to create the most effective goat-feeding chart for your animals.
I’d recommend tailoring your goat feeding chart based on the quality of forage available and the goat’s stage of life or production. For example, I feed around 300g / 0.6lbs of feed once per day to my Boer while they are in milk or going in kid. However, they don’t have any feed for most of their pregnancy, which helps prevent the kids from getting too big.
If you’ve been looking for the best grain for goats, we hope today’s guide will have helped. Indeed, finding the right grains for your goats is integral since these are often highly nutritious and can help ensure that your goats maintain good condition.
However, it’s also important to note that the best grain for goats is not enough to keep your goat healthy. As a ruminant, your goat also needs access to plenty of high-quality forage and roughage to keep their rumens ticking over nicely. So, don’t leave this to chance; make sure you’ve considered everything that we’ve outlined in today’s guide while making your goat feeding chart. And remember: every goat is different, so what works for one won’t always work for another.