Feeding Greens and Other Garden Materials to Dairy Goats

| 10/1/2015 10:14:00 AM

Tags: dairy goats, raising livestock, kale, brassicas, milking, Eric Reuter, Missouri,

Using damaged kale as a milking treat.

Most dairy goats demand a treat in return for allowing you to milk them, often a scoop of grain or other purchased, processed snack. Many years ago, we decided to cut back on grain as much as possible, to reduce both expense and health concerns for our ruminants. This partly involved replacing the daily dose of milking treat with another foodstuff that the goats would enjoy sufficiently to remain cooperative on the stand.

Plenty of goats feel that milking ends when the food runs out, not the milk. Grain is like candy to goats, and regular old hay just didn’t produce the same satisfaction and cooperation in our herd. Yet the solution was not only obvious, but efficient: using various leafy vegetables from elsewhere on our farm.

Brussells sprouts, sweet potatoes, and pole beans all produce abundant leafy waste material ideal for goat treats.

What to Feed Goats from the Garden

As a full-time vegetable farm for most of our goat-raising history, we generated a lot of “waste” material which couldn’t go to market or CSA shares, but was just fine for goats. This included:

1. Unwanted leaves left over from harvesting roots or stems, such as sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, turnip, & kohrabi.

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