Goats are both browsers and grazers. That means they like to eat fresh green grass and tasty hay, the tender tips of woody shrubs and trees. Availability of a wide variety of grasses will help to keep your goats well-fed and healthy. Some goats are picky and some aren’t. Usually they eat almost everything which they find edible in front of them. They will eat any type of grass which you will put in front of them, and they will chow down on weeds with just as much enthusiasm. They are not so picky in this case.
Goats are selective in their munching while they browse or graze through the forage in front of them. While browsing or grazing, they eat plants at their fullest nutritional value. A mixture of various types of grasses can meet up their needs. If you are planning for starting a profitable goat farming business, then you must have to learn what kind of grass do your goats like and the best grass for goats. Short description of some common grasses are listed below.
Alfalfa is among the mostly cultivated grasses and considered as the best grass for goats. It’s like nectar for goats and other foragers and grazers. Alfalfa is enriched with high protein, high fat legume and contain a good amount of mineral content. Don’t let your goats munch the grass when it is shorter than 6 to 8 inches. For making a good balance of nutrition and energy for your goats, consider cultivating other types of grass with alfalfa.
Bahiagrass is suitable for growing in all types of soil. It is a competitive grass and it can tolerate drought well. Even, this grass can grow well in some areas where other grasses can’t. Bahiagrass’s competitive ability is helpful in the pasture where it trodded by the hooves of many goats and other animals, although is not desirable trait in settings such as lawns. Bahiagrass is lower in quality as a food source, but it will still on the scrub land or pasture when other grasses are gone, especially during drought.
Bromegrass is enriched with high protein. This grass grow well when temperatures are not too warm. Growth slows during excessive warm temperatures (about 90° Fahrenheit) in summer. Bromegrass grows vigorously and tall. It produce high quality forage when mixed with other grasses such as alfalfa. It is also a perennial and drought resistant grass. Bromegrass comes in two varieties. Northern and southern. Northern bromegrass is suitable for pasture land. It’s young plants are leafy. All type of goats find them easy to digest.
Clover is a legume, not a grass. It is sweet in taste and all type of goats enjoy it very much. Adding clover to your pasture land is an efficient way to add stability to the grazing areas. Clover is a nitrogen fixer and also help to grow other plants. If you add clover to your pasture, it will add nitrogen to the soil for other plants to use. Planting clover on your land also help to protect the soil from erosion. Because it sends out stolons inside the soil that cover the ground.
Fescue is a cool season perennial grass. It can grow well in moist and cooler climates. You do not need to reseed this grass on each growing season. It can highly tolerate drought, disease and insects. Usually goats heavily graze the land. Fescue has the ability to persist in the field even when grazed heavily.
Millet is a very fast growing grass. If left alone, it will grow fast and reach 40 to 50 inches within 60 to 90 days. It’s an annual grass and a productive choice for producing winter hay for your goats. Once millet grass has established itself at about 18 inches, it will provide a consistent food source for your goats if you mix it with other grass seeds for pasture land. Millet is highly enriched with protein, and it’s digestible protein value is higher than that of corn. And it’s protein value is also comparable to those of barley and oats.
Ryegrass is a rich and high quality forage grass. It is a perennial grass and grows well in midtemperate climates. It grows back fast and can be grazed closely and frequently. Ryegrass has many varieties. Try to cultivate the rust resistant varieties, because ryegrass is susceptible to crown rust. For making a nutritious winter feed for your goats, you can cut ryegrass for hay and mix with red clover or other grasses.
Timothy grass is a good alternative of alfalfa. Although your goats may not find it as tasty as other grasses. But you can feed your goats timothy if alfalfa is not available. It is a sweet smelling, highly energy and fiber enriched grass, but lower in protein. If your goats don’t graze aggressively, it can grow about 30 inches tall. Timothy grass grows well in sandy soils as long as the soil is well drained.
All of the above grasses are suitable for your goats and considered as the best grass for goats. You can choose any for cultivating on your field, depending on your local facilities, weather and availability of the seeds.