Petkeen is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commision. Learn More

Feeding Goats: How Much, and How Often? [Feeding Chart & Guide]

Nicole Cosgrove

To the uninitiated, goats may seem to be the easiest animal to care for. After all, goats have a reputation for consuming just about anything. But not so fast, as those claims are more or less old wives’ tales. Like any other animal, a goat will eat what is available to survive. However, it does not mean that they do not have dietary preferences.

What’s more, not feeding your goats the correct diet not only compromises their health but also lowers their quality of milk or meat. So, what should you feed goats? Read on to learn everything you need to know about this subject.

goat divider

What to Feed Goats

Goats need the following to thrive:

Roughage (Hay)

Roughage should always be available to goats, with hay being the best form of roughage for goats. Hay should form the bulk of your goat’s daily feed, making up to 40% of that feed. Goats bred for milking should consume more hay than others do, with experts recommending feeding milking goats up to 9 pounds of hay per day. For other goats, 4 pounds of hay per day should be enough.

When it comes to the choice of hay, Alfalfa is the best, as it contains more vitamins, minerals, and protein than any other type of grass.

Goat eating
Image Credit: qimono, Pixabay

Grains

Grains are a great source of proteins and vitamins for goats. However, refrain from feeding your goats too much grain, as this can negatively affect their health.

One cup of grain is sufficient for adult goats, while ½ cup of grain is ideal for kids (baby goats). However, pregnant goats and those kept for milking can eat up to 2 cups a day, as they need the extra protein and fat. The best type of grain to feed goats is wheat, barley, and oats.

Minerals

You should provide your goat with loose minerals to allow the animal rich access to nutrients that are not in high concentration in their feed. Consider buying blocks of magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus for your goat.

Clean Water

Goats require lots of water to help them digest their roughage-rich diet. Therefore, make sure that your goats have access to lots of fresh and clean water 24/7.

Related Read: What Do Goats Eat in the Wild and as Pets?

What Not to Feed Goats

Since goats are herbivorous, you do not want them to eat any meat or dairy products. Their stomachs are not designed to process those products. Feeding your goat anything, including supplements that contain meat or dairy products, can result in all kinds of health issues.

You should also check your pasture to make sure that it does not contain plants that are poisonous to goats, such as azalea, rhododendron, and yew. Here is the complete list of plants that are poisonous to goats.

Most importantly, make sure that your hay is not moldy when you feed it to your goats. If you even suspect that it could have mold, throw it away, as moldy hay can result in illnesses such as goat polio, listeriosis, or even death.

Feeding a goat
Image Credit: Carola68, Pixabay

new hoof divider

Goat Feeding Chart

Feeding Chart for Baby Goats 1-90 Days Old

Age Milk Conc. Mixture Green/Day
1-3 days Colostrum 300ml 3 feedings
4-14 days 350ml 3 feedings
15-30 days 350ml 3 feedings A little A little
31-60 days 400ml 2 feedings 100–150 grams Free choice
61-90 days 200ml feedings 200–250 grams Free choice

Feeding Chart for Growing Goats 3-12 Months Old

Age Concentrate Mixture Green Straw
3 months 150-200 grams 500 grams As per choice
4 months 200-250 grams 600 grams As per choice
5 months 225-275 grams 700 grams As per choice
6 months 250-300 grams 800 grams As per choice
7 months 250-300 grams 900 grams As per choice
8 months 300-350 grams 1,000 grams As per choice
9 months 300-350 grams 1,000 grams As per choice
10 months 300-350 grams 1,200 grams As per choice
11 months 300-350 grams 1,300 grams As per choice
12 months 300-350 grams 1,500 grams As per choice

Goat eating veggies
Image Credit: scollins619, Pixabay

Feeding Chart for Adult Goats

Adult Type Grazing (number of hours per day) Straw Green Fodder Concentrate
Dry, non-pregnant doe, adult male 5-6 hours 300-400 grams 750-1,000 grams 100-150 grams
Lactating doe 5-6 hours 300-400 grams 1000-1,500 grams 100+(400g/kg milk)
Breeding bucks 5-6 hours 300-400 grams 1000-1,500 grams 500 grams during breeding season only

Source: https://www.kisansuvidha.com/feeding-schedule-goats/?v=ad4f1670f142

new goat divider

How Often to Feed Goats

The amount of feed a goat requires varies with age, size, and the animal’s function. However, as mentioned, the average adult goat requires about 4 pounds of hay per day to thrive. That figure can increase or decrease depending on the amount the goat forages on pasture. This means that more foraging equates to less hay, while less foraging means more consumption of hay.

Consider feeding your goat twice a day, meaning about 2 pounds of hay in the morning and the other 2 pounds in the evening.

Is it Essential to Pasture Goats?

Pasture is vital to goats, as it is their primary source of nutrients. Pasture is especially rich in protein and energy. What’s more, it is cheap, which is why it is so popular with farmers. Therefore, ensure that your goats have access to pasture.

Goats eating
Image Credit: joolsazzy96, Pixabay

Can Goats Eat Kitchen and Garden Scraps?

Yes, goats can eat your compost. However, you must first make sure that it does not contain foods or materials that are toxic to goats.

Best Treats and Food Supplements for Goats

Providing your goats with free-choice goat supplements is essential, as it ensures that they are receiving the proper amount of nutrients daily. As mentioned, loose minerals or mineral blocks are the ideal forms of supplementation for goats, as they supply these animals with nutrients such as chlorine, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, vitamins A, D, and E, as well as trace minerals such as copper, cobalt, iron, iodine, manganese, and zinc.

When it comes to treats, desist from feeding too many to goats, as lots of treats encourage weight gain and urinary calculi. Nonetheless, the occasional treat is recommended for keeping your goats happy. Most goat treats come in the form of vegetables and fruits such as:

  • Squash
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Watermelon
  • Apples
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Grapes

What to Do if Your Goat Is Not Eating

Goats live to eat, literally. Therefore, one of the most telling signs of illness in goats is a decrease or lack of appetite. Therefore, if you notice that your goat has not been eating normally, have the animal examined by a vet.

alpine-goat-pixabay
Image Credit: Phil1001, Pixabay

goat divider

Conclusion

While goats do not require as much care as some animals do, you still need to be knowledgeable about their needs, as that will allow you to keep them happy and productive. Be sure to learn as much as possible about goats to avoid making common mistakes that first-time goat keepers make.

Interested in learning about goat breeds? Check these out!


Featured Image: FitMum, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.