When it comes to feeding an animal there are many variations to decide the amount of feed to give them daily. Here are a few tips to think about when you are deciding how much to feed your goat.
Tips on how much hay to feed a goat?
Lets look first at the type of feed you are feeding. In different parts of the country the hay you feed can test differently. We live at 5600 feet where our nights are cooler so our hay tests very high in protein as well as total digestible nutrients.
When selecting your hay it is important to look at the quality of hay you are buying. The cheapest hay you can find is not necessarily your best deal. In the long run if your hay is poor in quality you will have to feed more to keep your goat in good health.
On the other hand if you were to purchase hay high in protein, such as a dairy hay, you may run the risk of bloating your goat which can cause death.
What type of hay should you choose?
So what type of hay should you choose? That depends on the area where you live and what you are using your goat for. A goat is a picky eater despite what people say. A goat won’t eat just anything, especially tin cans like I am sure you have seen in the pictures.
A goat is considered a browser when you put them out on pasture. They will eat many weeds at times before they touch the grass. Goats love to eat trees and will get into things you don’t want them to eat like flowers.
This is probably why a goat is accused of eating just anything.
How do you know what to buy for your goats to eat. When choosing your hay, choose it wisely. Ask the grower questions to decide if this hay is right for you and your goat. Ask them if they have a hay test stating the amount of protein and relative feed value or digestible matter.
Factors to consider when choosing your hay
Besides choosing the hay that best fits your needs. Here are some factors you need to consider.
- Age of goat.
- Is the goat producing milk for kids or being milked?
- Is the goat a meat producing goat?
- Is the goat pregnant?
- What is the season? Is it spring, summer, winter, fall?
- What is the size of the goat.
As you can see there are many factors to consider when choosing feed and feeding your goat. Here is another tip you won’t want to miss on feeding your goats.
The age of the goat is very important. When raising a young goat you need to make sure you have plenty of feed for the kid to eat. Growing a healthy goat is the main objective.
Consider keeping plenty of feed available for the growing goat so it can grow healthy and strong. At the same time you don’t want to feed so much the goat is wasting the hay.
Breed and size of the goat are important
Is the goat lactating?
This is an important question. If you are not feeding enough protein rich hay the milk production of your goat will go down. The goat will begin to lose weight. In order to maintain a healthy milk goat good feed is necessary, especially if the demand for her milk is very high because of kids or milking.
A meat goat will require more hay to maintain it compared to other breeds. But is maintaining what you want or are you trying to put on the grow. If you are raising meat goat kids it is important to feed them what they need. If you are maintaining an adult meat goat you will feed them only what they can eat without wasting it. You don’t want them to get too fat.
Is the goat pregnant? Now this is an important one. You will need to feed a pregnant doe more than you did before she was bred. Remember she is eating for 2 or maybe 3 or maybe 4. It is also important to remember that just because she is pregnant you don’t want to feed her so much she becomes overweight.
Being an overweight pregnant doe can be hard in many ways. Not only is it hard on their body to have all the extra weight, it is also harder for them to kid when the time comes. There is a fine line. You don’t want to over feed but don’t underfeed the doe.
What season or climate are you in
What season are you in? What is your climate like. Is it freezing cold or below zero? Is it hot, maybe humid? Is it chilly but not really cold? All of these questions need to be taken into consideration.
Does your goat need the extra feed in order to keep her body warm and still maintain a healthy weight. Weather is very important to consider.
Another important factor to consider. What is the size of your goat? This is important. You wouldn’t feed the same amount of feed to a small pygmy goat as you would to a large boer goat. Size is important to think about.
After going through this list you can see there are many variables to think about when deciding how much to feed your goat. The amount of feed really can’t be the same for every goat and situation.
The amount even changes for the same goat depending on what the situation is for that goat. I have read many places the average amount to feed is 2 to 4 pounds. I guess this could give you an idea but it could easily change depending on the goat.
Listen to your goat, they will let you know how much to feed.
How much do I suggest you feed your goat? I can’t tell you how much you should feed but I can tell you to take these ideas into consideration.
- The quality of the hay.
- The size and age of the goat.
- What is the goat being used for?
- What is the weather like?
In order for me to decide how much hay I should be feeding I look at which goat I am feeding. What size is my goat. After analyzing what type and crop of hay I am feeding.
After taking all of these things into consideration I feed the amount that I think the goat would need. I listen to my goats. Yes they usually cry every time my door opens and tell me they are hungry.
How long did it take before they started to cry they were hungry. I check the feeder, are they being picky or are they really out of food. Are they quiet and content and laying around the corral. If so how much hay was left?
I want to make sure they get enough to eat but I don’t want them to waste it either. They really don’t need to spend the day eating either. If it is cold I make sure they have extra food so they can produce body heat. If they leave a lot when I go back for the next feeding, I cut back on what I feed.
Feeding your goat the right amount is totally up to you, your goat and your situation. Hopefully I have given you a few things to think about while deciding how much hay to feed your goat.
I would love to hear your comments and how you decide how much to feed your goats.