Selecting the proper and natural way to feed goats is very important for goat farming. You might heard that ‘goats eat almost everything’. Yes that’s right. They eat almost everything whatever they find edible in front of them.
But for good health and proper growth of your goats, it’s very important that ‘they are getting the right combination of leaves, grass and grains to fulfill their daily nutritional demands’, instead of their willingness to try just about any food.
It’s also important to observe that ‘they are getting proper nutrition from woody-stemmed plants and weeds, grass, leaves, flowers or other roughage which they are eating daily.
Natural Way To Feed Goats
Usually goats are ruminants and there are four compartments in their stomach. Among the four compartments, there are one compartment which houses bacteria.
These bacteria help the goats to break down the foods they consume and help to provide nutrition. Goats are considered as browsers, that means they love to browse and like to eat grass, leaves, weeds, brush, bark, trees etc.
And the bacteria inside their stomach help to break down these coarse foods and provide nutrition for the goats. Goats are also grazers like sheep and cattle.
They graze in the pasture and try to eat all they find in the nature. However, read more about the natural way to feed goats.
Let your goats to choose the most nutritious foods for themselves. They will do their best if there are plenty of choices available in front of them.
Goats have the ability to choose best foods and determine which plant will provide them with more fiber, protein or nutrients they need.
For this reason, the best natural way to feed goats is to allow them to choose best foods by themselves. Although encouraging your goats to eat certain plants is tempting and absolutely a good practice.
Supplement your goats nutritional requirements with hay, if you don’t have a suitable and large pasture where they can browse and graze. Always try to purchase high quality hay from the suppliers.
The hay must have to be clean and free from dust and mold. The hay should smell sweet, but not like freshly cut grass. Don’t forget to ask the supplier that ‘whether the hay was rained on after it was cut or not’.
If pasture is not available, supplement your goats diet with goat feed along with providing them high quality hay. You can purchase commercially prepared goat feed from your nearest livestock supplier stores. Ensure that, this type of goat feeds are made from all natural ingredients.
Ask the supplier about the ingredients on the feed and the ingredient ratio. This type of ready-made feeds should not contain chemicals, herbicides or fumigants and also should not be grown with any of these harmful chemicals. You can provide this type of feed with a diet of both hay and feed or just the feed.
Pasture feeding is considered as the best natural way to feed goats. A pasture with a wide variety of plants and grasses can fulfill all the necessary nutrient demands of your goats. If you allow your goats in a pasture, they will choose the best natural diet by their own.
Try to plant various types of grasses and woody plants in your pasture, not just the grasses. Because goats require woody plants along with grasses for a healthy diet. A good pasture will be a perfect place for your goats to forage for a natural diet, although this process is quite time consuming.
So it’s a good idea to track the activities of your goats. Usually goats prefer browsing than grazing. So make a good browsing environment. The pasture should include such things where your goats can browse on, such as grass, trees, shrubs, brush etc.
You can also consider planting different types of vegetation in the pasture for your goats. They will enjoy it very much. You can try brambles, bushes, honeysuckle, pine trees, wild herbs, weeds or something else which are available in your area.
You also have to consider the safety of your goats inside the pasture area. Ensure that your goats are safely enclosed from all types of predators. Make a strong fence around the pasture area for keeping the predators out. Also ensure a clear and fresh water source inside the pasture.
Your goats will eat a wide variety of plants daily, while grazing or browsing, for fulfilling their dietary requirements. Usually goats eat a little of one plant and then move on to the next, while consuming bark, grass, leaves or weeds.
Usually their regular diet requirement contain about 45 percent of grass, 45 percent of leaves from woody plants and 10 percent flowers or weeds. Your goats must have to have access to all of these types of forage for a healthy natural diet composed of many different plants.
Dangerous Plants For Goats
Generally, goats have the ability to avoid all types of dangerous plants for them. They usually avoid the plants which are toxic to them. Sometimes they can eat a small amount of such dangerous plants.
Consuming small amount of such dangerous plants don’t have a serious effect on your goat’s health. But there are some plants which can cause serious problems, even by eating a small amount. The shrub and ground cover varieties of rhododendron plants and the azaleas are such dangerous plants.
Remove these type of plants from the area where your goats browse or graze on. Buckthorn, daffodils, foxglove, rhubab, poppies, juniper, tomato plants etc. are other common plants which are toxic to the goats. Remove all these plants from your pasture area and never feed your goats such plants.