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Goats DO NOT in fact eat just anything! They may try different foods once but will not eat food that has been dropped on the floor or poor quality hay.
Goats do not thrive under the same conditions as sheep and dairy cows as they are a browsing rather than grazing animal. Goats like to graze good pasture but their diet must also contain ample roughage, some concentrates and a supply of bushes, weeds or rough scrub to give variety.
Roughage forms a large part of the diet. Dairy goats need to be fed good quality roughage in the form of hay each day. Milking does need about 1.5 kg of lucerne hay daily, more if they are very high producers.
For a dairy goat to milk well and maintain condition you need to feed them well, a dairy goat will not milk and survive well on grass alone! A goat producing four litres of milk per day will need at least 2.5 kg of concentrates per day as well as access to good quality lucerne or clover hay. A good rule is to feed 500 grams of concentrates for every litre of milk produced and 500 grams for maintenance. A crude protein mix of 12 - 14% will give good results.
You could mix up the following ration for your dairy goats. Use a 9 litre plastic bucket.
3 buckets lucerne chaff, 2 buckets oats or barley, 1/2 bucket of lupins or dun peas. To this add 1/4 of a 500 gram margarine container of dolomite and the same of seaweed meal.
To teach a goat to eat concentrates you need to start when they are kids, offer kids bran at 4 weeks of age and gradually increase the amount. Goatlings and kids do not need as much concentrates as milkers as they can quickly become over fat. They need about a margarine container per day and some lucerne or clover hay. A pregnant doe needs to slowly have her ration increased during the last eight weeks of pregnancy. This is called steaming up during this time the growth of the kids is very rapid and the metabolic rate of the goat rises rapidly. The full ration that she will receive as a milker should be reached about a week before kidding. Good feeding at this time will help avoid pregnancy toxaemia.
A buck needs a ration of hay and 500 grams of concentrate daily to maintain condition.
Allow goats access to a mineral block. These come in a variety of types. Ollsons go-blocks are specifically for goats.
Access to good clean water is essential as a milking animal needs to drink a lot of water each day. You can add unpasteurized cider vinegar to the drinking water. Cider vinegar is meant to help prevent kidney stones in bucks, help with kidding and the general health of the goat.
Goats of all kinds enjoy branches, some suitable trees are Blackwood wattles and Acacias, goats really enjoy rose clippings and vegetable scraps. Be aware that Azaleas, Rhododendron, Oleander, Potatoes, Rhubarb and some Gum trees are highly poisonous to goats.
A great idea for a hay rack!
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