There are many misconceptions about goat care. Most people think that there is nothing to it except leaving some hay for the creatures every now and then. They assume that all the animals ever need are scraps of food to sustain them and that it almost doesn’t matter what it is they get. Of course, this could not be farther from the truth.
Caring for goats is a lot more complicated than that. Their nutritional needs alone are quite demanding with well-cured hay, browser grass leaves, and other types of roughage required throughout the year. If the young do not get enough quality food, then their risk of developing diseases will increase while their growth will be stunted. As for the breeding, growing, and milking goats, a constant supply of legumes will be necessary. Those who raise these animals for their meat will have to dedicate a massive portion of the overall budget to nutritious feeds.
Animals have to obtain the right amounts of vitamins, minerals, and proteins to survive. Goats are no exception. Food items that are rich in calories tend to be a limited resource and those that are rich in protein are quite costly. Still, raisers have to find a way to get them for their stocks. Their diet must be tailored to their nutritional demands. Any deficiency or excess will lead to an imbalance that may threaten growth and development. Different illnesses may also emerge as a result. Just like humans, goats need to have lots of water and fiber to aid in their digestion. Other factors will dictate the exact requirements of these animals including environmental temperature, level of activity, lactation, growth rate, and so on.
The right amount of consumption will vary from case to case. On average, it is recommended that goats consume roughly 3% of their bodyweight. Raisers who are looking for economical solutions should look into browse and pasture food. These have high nutritional content while being easy on the pocket. It is possible to get them in large amounts without breaking the bank.
During the winter, most turn to hay to feed their stock. There are various types to consider. For instance, legume hays such as clover and alfalfa tend to be richer in nutrient content compared to grass hays. The actual composition of vitamins and minerals will depend on the age of the hay when it was harvested.
Another possible food for goats is silage which can be secured from grain and forage crops. It should be noted that these are prone to fungal growth. They have to be washed and checked carefully to ensure that only highly quality feeds are given to the animals. Otherwise, the goats may suffer from diseases.
Providing just one type of food is not the best idea in terms of nutrient balance but it often happens because of limited budgets and availability. Raisers compensate by adding food supplements like grain concentrates to the feeds. Protein supplements could be anything from fish to soybean meals. Cottonseed may also be employed.
Just like house pets, a few manufacturers have begun to create ready-made homogenous feeds in pellet form. This so-called complete goat food makes the entire process easier for everyone involved. Picky eaters also can’t separate the ingredients anymore so they get all the nutrients like calcium phosphorus and salt. Clean water must be available to the goats.