Goats: You Are What You Eat

| 5/29/2013 2:47:00 PM

Tags: Goat School, dairy goats, Janice Spaulding,

goat kidProtein is as important to goats as it is to humans! Protein contributes to the long, lustrous, silky mohair that Angora goats grow in abundance. Hair is protein, and without proper amounts of it, these goats would have thin, lack-luster, fleeces which would appeal only to rug makers. If you want consistent, glowing locks that spinners will fight over, your boys and girls need adequate protein, either in their grain or as a supplement.  Having raised Angora goats for 20 plus years, I do realize that extra protein in the diet makes hoofs grow longer and faster, but, it is well worth the little bit of extra work to be able to harvest heavy, and beautiful fleeces.

Meat goats need protein to grow and maintain good muscle structure. Muscle is meat after all, so if the end product in your endeavor is meat, you must make sure that your goats have strong, healthy frames, with plenty of good muscling.

Last but not least, dairy goats need protein and lots of it to maintain good healthy milk supplies! We receive countless emails and phone calls about skinny, dairy goats with dull coats, and less than terrific milk supplies. Our first response to these questions is what and how much are you feeding? Dairy goats need at least one pound of grain per day for maintenance and one pound for every three to four pounds of milk they produce! A gallon of milk weighs in at 8.6 pounds by the way.  So, a goat giving a gallon a day should be eating at least 3 to 3 ½ pounds of grain per day, this does not count free choice hay and an endless supply of good, clean water.goat doe

Speaking of hay, do you have any idea how much protein is being supplied from your particular hay? Why not have it tested to see? Check with your local extension to see if either they will do it, or if they can steer you towards someone who can. Here in Maine, we can have hay tested at no charge.

Are you mixing your own grain or are you feeding a generic grain that can be fed to any animal? Are your goats receiving supplemental minerals and vitamins that the grain might be lacking? These are all legitimate questions that you should be asking yourself!

Most important to a goats diet are copper, selenium, and vitamin E. Are your goats getting the daily required amounts of these nutrients?

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