Mastering Goat Feeding: How much feed do goats need daily?

How much feed do goats need daily?

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One of the most popular question  a new goat raiser often ask is how much feed do goats need daily. When it comes to raising goats, proper feeding is key to their overall health and well-being. As with any animal, the food they eat provides essential nutrients for growth, energy, and even disease prevention.

Ensuring that your goats meet the daily feed requirement can be the difference between a healthy goat and one that is at risk for malnutrition or other health issues.

Why Knowing Daily Feed Requirements is Crucial for Goat Health

Just like people, goats have different nutritional needs based on factors such as age, weight, and activity level. Understanding the daily feed requirements for your goats can help you make informed decisions about how much and what type of feed to provide them.

Overfeeding or underfeeding can both lead to potential health problems down the line.

By knowing exactly what your goats need daily in terms of food intake, you can help prevent these issues from occurring in the first place. In this guide to Goat Feeding 101, we’ll cover everything you need to know how much feed a goat needs daily for optimal goat health.

Basic Goat Feeding Principles

Understanding the Digestive System of Goats

To properly feed your goats, it’s important to understand how their digestive system functions.

Goats are ruminants, which means they have a four-chambered stomach that allows them to break down fibrous materials such as hay and grass.

Unlike humans, goats do not have upper front teeth or a flat chewing surface in their mouths. Therefore, they use their lips and tongues to grasp food and chew it with their back teeth before swallowing.

Types of Feeds and Their Nutritional Values

There are three main types of feed that goats require:

  1. Hay – Hay is a primary source of fiber for goats and should always be available
  2. Grains – Grains provide additional energy and protein but should be fed in moderation, as too much can cause digestive issues.
  3. ForageForage includes fresh grasses, shrubs, or weeds that grow naturally in the environment where the goat lives. Each type of feed has its own nutritional value.

For example, alfalfa hay is high in protein, while Timothy hay is lower in protein but higher in fiber content. Oats are a good option when choosing grains for your goat’s diet, as they provide both carbohydrates and protein.

Understanding the basic principles of goat feeding is crucial to maintain optimal health for your furry friends. By knowing how their digestive system works, providing access to clean water at all times, and selecting the right types of feeds based on their nutritional values, you can ensure your goats are happy and healthy.

Daily Feed Requirements

How much feed do goats need daily?

Proper feeding of adult goats is important to their health, productivity, and well-being. Knowing how much to feed your goats is crucial in achieving these goals. The amount of feed an adult goat needs depends on its weight and activity level.

The recommended daily intake for adult goats is 2-4% of their body weight in dry matter. If a goat weighs 100 lbs, it will need at least 2-4 lbs of dry matter per day. It’s essential to note that overfeeding can lead to obesity, while underfeeding can result in malnourishment.

Read more: How Often Should You Feed Your Goats? A Comprehensive Guide

The amount of feed that a goat needs daily depends on several factors, including age, sex, breed, production system (dairy or meat), body size, climate, and physiological stage.

  • Forage: Forage such as hay, silage, and pasture should comprise most of the daily diet. Goats are curious and agile and require well-built fences for containment and protection from predators. One-half acre of land per milking goat should be plenty in temperate climates. Under arid conditions, people must guard against the danger of overgrazing. Overstocking in temperate climates is also bad for goats since it increases the reinfestation of parasites. Dairy goats and sheep can consume between 3 and 5 percent of their body weight per day in forage dry matter.
  • Grain: Rolled or cracked grain is more palatable than ground grain. Because of palatability problems, urea is not recommended. Some commercial cow feeds may contain too much copper for goats. Most products formulated for sheep will not contain enough copper for goats. It is important to routinely use a technique called “body condition scoring” to evaluate the adequacy of your nutritional program. Body condition scoring categorizes animals in scores from 1 (emaciated) to 5 (obese) based on the amount of palpable subcutaneous fat over the loin, ribs, and trailhead. During the far-off dry period (4 to 5 weeks), goats can be fed good quality hay (9 to 11% protein). Energy and protein must be supplemented during the last 3 to 4 weeks. Feed ½ to 1 kg of grain ration to adapt the rumen to the higher grain feeding during lactation and help avoid complications with ketosis. It is difficult to comply with this guideline in feeding situations as animals are fed twice per day at milking. However, grain feeding must not exceed 0.7 kg/feeding (1 ½ lbs/feeding).
  • Mineral supplements: All dairy goats must have salt and clean water. Mineral supplements are desirable. Adult goats consume daily 15 to 20 grams (approximately 0.5 to 0.7 ounces) of a mineral mix containing 1800 mg copper per kilogram of mineral.

Based on the above information, giving a goat’s exact amount of feed daily is difficult without knowing more specific information about the goat. However, here are some general guidelines:

  • Adult goats need about two to four pounds of hay per day (3-4% of body weight in pounds), which can be fed free choice or twice a day. If a good range isn’t available, dry grass forage of a horse quality is acceptable.
  • For dairy goats, high-producing does require quality forages and supplemental grain at a rate of 1 pound per 2.5 to 3 pounds of milk. Forages generally do not meet the energy and protein requirements of lactating does.
  • Kids and yearlings should be fed 1.0 lb/day of a 16% protein mixture for growing goats.
  • Meat goats, kids, and yearlings should be fed 1.0 lb/day of a 16% protein mixture. Goats can be forced to eat very low-quality feed, including twigs, tree bark, etc., but producers should be aware this practice will hurt the animal’s growth rate.


Remember that these are general guidelines, and the specific feed requirements for your goat may vary based on its age, sex, breed, and other factors. It’s always best to consult with a veterinarian or a goat nutritionist to determine the specific feed requirements for your goat.

So there you have it – the ultimate guide to daily feed requirements for your goats! We hope this guide has provided you with all the information you need to ensure that your goats get the right nutrition to stay healthy and happy.

Recap of Key Takeaways

  • Goats have specific nutritional needs, so it’s important to understand their digestive system and daily feed requirements.
  • Daily feed requirements depend on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and stage of life (pregnant or lactating).
  • Hay, grains, forage, supplements, and treats are all important factors in a goat’s diet. Make sure to choose quality options that provide nutritional value.
  • Schedule feeding times based on seasonal changes and adjust as needed for your individual herd.

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