What are the best grass for goats? It is a common question for the people who are raising goats or want to keep some. Goats are actually 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.
What Are The Best Grass For Goats
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 greens for goats and considered as the best for goats. Actually alfalfa is not a grass; it is a legume, like clover. It is 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 field 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people ask questions about best grass for goats (especially the beginners). Here we are trying to list the most common questions about the best grass for goats, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.
How to grow grass for goats?
Growing grass for your goats is very easy. First of all, you have to select the grass you want to produce. Then plough the land, add fertilizer and level the land. Then spread your desired grass seeds throughout the field. And then irrigate the field. And you will notice a field full of grass within few weeks. Irrigate the field once every week for faster growth of the grass.
What kind of grass is best for goats?
Some best grass for goats are Alfalfa, Bahiagrass, Bromegrass, Clover, Fescue, Millet, Ryegrass, Timothy etc.
What kind of pasture is best for goats?
A pasture with Alfalfa, Timothy and some other mix is considered best for goats.
How do I improve my goats pasture?
There are several ways for improving your goats pasture. Most common methods are:
- Incorporate annual pastures into the grazing system and drag some implement in the stubble before planting.
- Incorporate into the grazing system plants containing high concentrations of tannins.
- Take a hay crop.
- Use control grazing practices to optimize pasture production.
- Graze a contaminated pasture with another livestock species.
- Allow the goats to have plenty of forage, thus giving them the opportunity to select the most nutritious parts of plants.
- Always put goats with the highest nutritional requirements on the best quality pastures.
- Rest pasture after a few years.
Can goats survive on grass alone?
Yes, goats can survive on grass alone. But, it will be better if you can allow them to access pasture.
Do goats need hay at night?
Yes, goats need hay at night, especially during cold nights. Goats generally munch on their hay to generate their own heat and stay warm. They also need constant access to hay during rainy nights.
How many hours a day should goats graze?
Goats generally spend 6-12 hours a day for grazing.
What should you not feed your goats?
There are many things that you should not feed your goats. Garlic, onion, chocolate or any source of caffeine, to name a few.
How long does it take goats to clear an acre?
Generally, it takes about 3 days for 60 goats to clear 1 acre.
Do goats prefer weeds or grass?
Goats generally prefer forbs over grass.
What can I plant for goats?
You can plant grasses, vetch, chicory, clover, horseweed, pigweed, curly dock, plantain etc.
What can I plant for goat winter grazing?
For winter feeding, planting small grains (wheat, rye, oats and barley) and annual ryegrass in combination with crimson clover or arrow leaf clover reduces feed cost and the need for stored forage.
Should I mow my goat pasture?
Yes, you should mow your goat pasture. The tips of the grass get less digestible to goats, as the grasses grow. The pastures that have tall grasses tend to stay wet at ground level. And such condition increases the exposure to worms, pasteurella and other organisms. So, you should mow your pasture to about 8 inches in height occasionally so that the underlying ground dries out.