Home 9 Resources 9 A farmers guide to feeding goats

A farmers guide to feeding goats

A farmers guide to feeding goats

Introduction To Goat Nutrition

Goats are curious creatures with heaps of personality, making them enjoyable to raise as livestock. They can produce milk, meat, and even fibre in addition to providing entertainment and friendship. Although keeping goats can be considered a low-maintenance endeavour, it is important to remember that they have specific dietary needs.

Goats prefer a diversified diet. When keeping goats, you should look at other forage mixtures besides the usual pastures. As with feeding farm sheep, providing goats with a concentrate feed alternative, such as pelleted goat feed, is a smart idea. This broadens the diet’s variety and aids in avoiding vitamin and mineral deficits.

Let’s take a look at our goat feeding guide for some more key areas to consider when feeding goats.


Nutritional Requirements For Lactating Goats

Just as it’s important to monitor what you are feeding ewes before mating, for goats, attention is required concerning their diet when lactating to optimise milk production and animal health. But how can you provide the best feed for goats at this time?

Feeding a doe a pelleted feed can increase the total amount of energy in the diet and give micro minerals, macro minerals, and vitamins that are essential for milk production. Lactating is a physically demanding state. The best feed for goats is high-quality forage combined with a high-quality supplement, which can increase calorie intake, boost energy and reduce condition loss.

The energy needed by does will drastically increase during peak milk production. For that reason, it is crucial to provide good food for does in your care. Before a doe’s condition starts to slip, supplemental feeding may be required to maintain the energy levels that will be required.


Feeding Kids After Birth

Kids must get enough colostrum soon after delivery. Immunoglobulins, which are found in colostrum, are crucial for sustaining a young goat’s immune system and the best diet for goats in the first few days.

When feeding, 10% of the newborn’s body weight should be fed in colostrum over the course of the first 24 hours. The kid should be given their first drink of colostrum as soon as possible. If the kid is to be taken away from the mother in order to milk the doe, this should be done as soon as possible following birth to minimise distress. 

In line with feeding guidelines for lambs, goat milk replacers can be used successfully as a fresh goat milk alternative. Purpose-made bottles or feeders are best used for this process, which are now more widely available for goats. Colostrum should be given to kids who are suspected of not having received enough of it by bottle or tube also. 


Transition To Hard Feeding

A hard feed should be offered from an early age to young goats whilst they are still drinking milk or milk replacer. As well as being one of the best foods for goats to gain weight, it also aids in the development of the rumen and, once fully weaned, helps maintain growth. 

For the first few weeks, they won’t eat much, but if you put out some fresh food every day, they’ll start to show an interest, and their intake will start to rise. It’s a good idea to keep the hard feed up once the milk has been discontinued because it supports kids during the challenging weaning process.

Kids raised on goat starter feed, intended for lambs, may require extra copper to guarantee good health and regular growth. Hard calf feeds are better suited for young goats than products made specifically for lambs from a copper perspective because goats and cattle both need copper in similar amounts.


Factors Responsible For Limiting The Production Of Goats

A good tip to prepare for a successful lambing season is to consider diets for productive stock. It’s the same with goats. Which nutrient, if supplied in lower amounts, will be responsible for lower levels of production, health or fertility? We’ve provided some information on two of the main contributors.

  • Energy

In most circumstances, energy is the first limiting factor for rapidly growing or lactating animals. When a doe is lactating or pregnant, the energy she requires almost triples. The health of the newborn can hinge on the mother producing enough energy from her diet in order to produce enough milk.

Forages are generally bulky, relatively low nutrient-dense feeds. Supplementing mature forages with grain-based supplements is a logical way to increase the energy density of a ration for lactating goats. 

  • Protein

Protein is typically the second component that restricts milk supply and, by extension, the growth of young goats. Protein deficiencies in diets based on preserved forages are likely to affect livestock that is nursing or growing. Rumination may not be supported by a diet high in effective fibre, which can have negative effects on production and health.

The most important minerals, including calcium, magnesium, salt, and phosphorus, need to be balanced in diets. A smart technique to guarantee that goats are always topped up on the mineral side is to use mineralised compound feed, or goat grower feeds. 


In Summary…

As with sheep and deer nutrition, a goat’s diet can hugely affect its productivity. Ensuring that your goats have a nutritionally balanced diet from the moment they are born to when they are mating and providing young of their own is key to the longevity of your farm. Healthy, happy goats produce more milk and stronger offspring.

All Sharpes Farm Feeds products are manufactured from the best locally-sourced raw materials. We manufacture only the freshest and highest quality products, either grown right here on the farm or sourced from our trusted group of local farmers. 

You know exactly what you are getting when you buy Sharpes – the same high-quality, nutritionally balanced stock feed, every time. 

External Links

For more information on the topics covered, go to;


©2021 Sharpes Stock Feeds Ltd. All rights reserved.