Are you looking for the best goat feed that can support its growth?
If your goat has a low protein diet or has been feeding on low-quality hay, taking feeds is an excellent option to boost their nutrition.
However, choosing an economical feed that provides the quality nutrients your goat needs isn’t always easy.
So, today, we’ll discuss:
- what is the best feed for goats, and what is in it
- the nutritional requirements of each goat type
- and the best goat feed pellets you can find out there
Using this guide will benefit you if you want your goats to be healthy and your investments to pay off.
So, join us as we uncover these things for you.
What Does A Goat Feed On
Goats are ruminants, meaning they can eat almost any type of food.
They thrive best when they’re exposed to an adequate pasture.
Goats usually browse, meaning they don’t just feed on the grass on the ground.
They also nibble on weeds, tree branches, and brambles.
But when winter comes and goats cannot access pasture, 50% of their diet is grass hay.
Feeding on grains is practical too, but it must only be 20% of their diet.
25% of their diet comprises pasture grass during winter, and the other 5% are treats.
Although commercial feeds aren’t essential if your goat feeds on a lush pasture, there are instances where they can become an essential part of their diet.
But how can you find the right feed for your goats?
Goat Feed: What’s the Best and What Is in It
When searching for the best goat feed, one of the essential things to consider is the quality.
It has to be rich in the following nutrients:
Pasture grasses like hay and grains are some of the best energy sources you can find.
But they may still lack nutrients if they’re feeding on poor-quality pastures and roughage or if their feed is inadequate.
This essential nutrient, made up of amino acids, helps repair old tissues and build new ones.
It also plays a vital role in a goat’s growth and development.
Regarding tiny ruminants like goats, protein quantity is more important than quality.
Thus, your chosen goat feed must have an adequate amount of protein to support its growth and development.
Unlike energy and protein, minerals are necessary for much smaller quantities.
There are two types of minerals:
Sheep and goats need 0.1% macrominerals in their diet, and it includes the following:
Both the calcium and phosphorus need to be in proper proportions because calcium is essential for growth and bone development.
On the other hand, phosphorus plays an essential role in chemical reactions that release energy in a goat’s body.
As its name implies, these minerals are essential, but they’re required in just parts per million.
Your goats can get these minerals from their diet, supplement, and for some areas, water supply.
Goats can get many vitamins from pasture, but having a goat feed that provides complete vitamins is essential if they can’t browse outside.
Vitamins contribute to normal growth, health, and reproduction, making them a critical dietary requirement for all goats.
Having good quality forage and enough fiber in the body can help goats attain better health and performance.
Additionally, it helps their rumen function properly while it increases rumination and salivation.
Special Nutritional Requirements When It Comes Goat Feed
Here are the nutritional requirements you need to consider when choosing the best feed for your goat.
Daily Nutritional Requirements for Meat-Producing Goats
Meat goats in temperate and tropical countries need 2.0 lbs of dry matter when they’re weighing 30 lbs and at the stage of getting weaned.
They’ll also have higher needs for total digestible nutrients at that age, about 68%.
They’ll also need 14% protein in their diet, and as for essential macrominerals, their minimum requirement for calcium is .6%, and for phosphorus, .3%.
When a young goat becomes a yearling and turns 60 lb, its dry matter consumption will increase, but its nutritional requirements will decline slightly.
Their total digestive nutrients should be at 65, and they’ll need at least 12% protein, .4% calcium, and .2% phosphorus in their daily diet.
Weighing about 110 lb
When a young goat grows into a pregnant doe weighing 110lb, they’ll consume more dry matter, which should be around 4.5lbs.
But their total digestive nutrients will decline to 55%, and their protein needs will be 10 to 11%.
They’ll need the same calcium and phosphorus percentage as the yearlings.
It should only be .4% and .2% of their diet, respectively.
When it comes to lactating goats and those at the late stage of their pregnancy, their diet should be almost similar to the early pregnancy days.
However, you need to raise the protein content in their daily diet to 11% and their total digestive nutrients to 60 lb.
On the other hand, lactating goats with high milk also have higher requirements which are 5.0 lbs of dry matter per day and 65% total digestive nutrients.
They also need 14% protein, .6% calcium, and .3% phosphorus in their diet.
Bucks weighing about 80 to 120 lb
Goats at this stage require 5.0 lb of dry matter and a total of 60% total digestive nutrients.
When it comes to essential nutrients like protein, its feed must provide at least 11% protein, .4% calcium, and .2% phosphorus to ensure they’re healthy.
Nutritional Requirements of Newborn Kids
Newborn kids need colostrum – the first milk produced by mothers right after birth.
It contains immunoglobulins (antibodies that help fight diseases), vitamins, minerals, fats, and other energy sources.
A newborn kid’s ability to absorb antibodies declines fast 24 hours after birth.
That explains why kids need to consume colostrum during the first 12 to 24 hours of life and before the kids suck into their dirty mothers or stall.
During the first 12 to 24 hours of life, a 5-pound goat baby should consume 12 pounds of colostrum (about 12 pints).
Extra colostrum produced by high lactation does within the first 24 hours after kidding can be preserved and used as needed later.
Nutritional Requirements of Pregnant Does
Goats who are in their late pregnancy have the same nutritional needs as lactating ones.
Nutritional deficiencies during late pregnancy can result in tiny, frail babies at birth and a high early death rate, particularly in twins or triplets.
Goats in late pregnancy and early lactation need around 1 lb/day of a 16 percent protein concentrate when fodder or browse is of poor quality (40 to 55 percent TDN; 10 percent protein or less).
Nutritional Demands for Show Goats
Believe it or not, show goats require a different diet than standard meat or milk pasture goats.
These goats need higher protein for muscle building.
You can feed them hay and then follow these nutritional markers for the feed you will buy them:
- Protein should be between 15-17%
- Fat needs to be between 3-4%
- Fiber must be in the range of 10-15%
The way you use this mixture is simple. Alfalfa hay is just fine and make sure the hay has the feed you bought sprinkled on top of it.
After a few days alternate to a more balanced food that you choose. Now make sure to decrease the intake in hay since we don’t want the goat to gain too much weight.
This also keeps them from craving more each time you feed them.
Use these parameters we found from this website:
- Feed your goats a free choice mineral
- Make sure only to feed your goats 2-3% of their body weight daily
- And you can feed your goat twice or three times in a day.
Top 5 Best Goat Feed and Supplement Choices for Small Ruminants
Whether your goat browses on a pasture or feeds on hay in a barn, if these foods aren’t enough to meet their nutritional needs, they’ll need concentrate feeds as supplements.
Purina Goat Feed Grower – Finisher
- High-quality wholesome plant proteins - no animal protein sources
- Highly palatable ration - helps ensure consumption
- Key trace minerals - helps maintain strong bones, supports fertility and immune function
- Natural oils from pure ingredients for vibrant skin
- Vitamins A, D & E for optimal milk production, vibrant skin and coat
This pelleted feed sits at the top, thanks to its top-tier quality and features. It can serve as a grower and finisher for meat goats.
It’s a wholesome feed that delivers the following features.
Features of this goat feed:
This goat feed is formulated with Lambitine technology, which supports immune competence and optimizes feed consumption.
It also comes with urinary acidifiers like ammonium chloride, which aids in minimizing the risk of urinary calculi.
On top of that, it contains a high amount of essential vitamins and minerals, which are critical for fertility and immune function.
It includes 14% crude protein, 22% fiber, 0.95 to 1.45% calcium, and 0.60% phosphorus plus vitamin A, D, and E.
Furthermore, it contains added copper, which is why it’s not ideal for sheep and other sensitive animals.
Since it comes as a pellet with complete nutrients, it reduces the goat’s likelihood of sorting.
This pellet is also highly palatable. Therefore, your goat will likely enjoy this feed.
And lastly, it has contains oils that help make your goat’s skin look more vibrant.
The only downside of this feed is its price.
It’s more expensive when bought online than in physical stores since you’re going to pay a shipping fee aside from the product itself.
The price online is not economical if you’re raising lots of goats for meat production.
We’ve seen that this pellet, fully loaded with essential nutrients, really delivers and boosts a goat’s growth and health.
Our goats like this feed and had a shinier coat since it has been part of their diet, so it’s one of our top recommendations.
If you’re willing to splurge a considerable amount for your pet goats, then this is for you.
But, if you’re looking for a more economical price, going to your local stores is a better option.
Item Weight: 50 Pounds
Best Goat Mineral Supplement Feed
Manna Pro Goat Mineral
- FORTIFIED: Manna Pro Goat Mineral is fortified with minerals and vitamins to support sound growth, reproduction, and show appearance. Can be fed to all classes of goats.
- AMMONIUM CHLORIDE: Goat Mineral contains ammonium chloride to help prevent the occurrence of urinary calculi
- ABSORPTION: Goat Mineral contains chelated minerals help ensure absorption and utilization
- MICROBIAL BLEND: Exclusive blend to support digestion
- LOOSE MINERAL FORM: Can be fed free choice
If you’re looking for a goat feed that oozes with essential minerals, this product may be the one for you.
Features of this goat feed:
This supplement contains all the minerals and vitamins needed for faster growth, better production, and appearance for shows.
And when we say it oozes with it, we mean it.
It only contains 4% crude protein, but the percentage of its calcium content ranges from 16 to 19.20%, and it has 8% phosphorus.
It also has adequate potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and zinc, and vitamins A, D, and E.
Like the previous feed mentioned above, it contains ammonium chloride that reduces the occurrence of urinary calculi.
It also comes in loose mineral forms, and its chelated minerals ensure better absorption and utilization.
And another good news is you can feed it to all types or breeds of goats.
Its only disadvantage is it’s so expensive for an 8 oz mineral product.
If you only have a few goats saved for shows, this is the one for you.
But if you own plenty of goats, this mineral is way more expensive.
Despite the considerable upfront price, this product is excellent and worth it.
It smells tempting and makes goats want to consume it, and you can already tell the difference in your goats in just about a month.
And in three months, you can witness the significant difference it makes in your goat’s health, coat, and skin.
It also aids in kidney stones and bladder problems. Therefore, it really does the job, and it’s worth recommending.
Item weight: 8 oz
Best Colostrum Supplement for Kid Goats
Manna Pro Colostrum Supplement for Newborn Goat Kids
- Specifically formulated for goat kids
- Highly digestible protein at a level comparable to goat milk
- For both standard and pygmy goat kids
- Fortified with vitamins and minerals to promote healthy, robust development of kids
Now, if you’re welcoming some newborn goats but their mother’s milk is inadequate to support them, this is the remedy for you.
This colostrum supplement comes as an easy-to-mix powder and provides everything your newborn needs to survive and grow.
What makes this supplement outstanding is it contains 30% protein and 15% fats.
Therefore, it’s an abundant source of essential amino acids.
Additionally, this powder goodness contains 1 to 1.5% calcium and 0.70% phosphorus, and 0.10% fiber – all essential for a kid’s robust development.
It is evident that this supplement is fortified with vitamins and minerals and will help kickstart your newborn’s growth.
It is suitable for both standard and pygmy goat kids, and its protein is highly digestible and as good as goat milk.
The downside is it only contains 8 oz of powder, and it needs to be mixed with water, so feeding your newborns will take time.
If your newborn’s mother has no milk or refuses to feed her kids, this supplement is ideal for them.
We find it very helpful in boosting newborn goats’ immunity in the first days of their life, and it doesn’t just help them survive.
It also helps them grow strong. We also love the vanilla ice cream smell and have seen excellent results in our newborns.
Item weight: 2 lb
Best Copper Supplement for Kid Goats
UltraCruz Goat Copper Bolus Supplement for Kids
- Slow-release Copper bolus for all goats
- Promotes healthy development and optimal coat quality
- Supports a healthy immune system
- Sizes available for both adults and kids
- Supplied as 25 boluses (each bolus is 2 grams) For kids
This supplement is a game-changer for young goats who suffer from copper deficiency.
The symptoms of this condition include anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, and bleached-looking and rough hair coat.
Goats with this condition may also struggle in dealing with internal parasites and may even have bowed legs or spinal injury.
This bolus provides slow-release copper oxides for goats that are experiencing a copper deficiency.
Each dose of this unique bolus will last eight months to 1 year and helps maintain the goat’s growth.
Additionally, it makes the hair coat healthy and shiny.
It’s easy to use, and no balling gun is needed because you can stuff it inside a banana with the peel on.
There isn’t much concern about this copper supplement aside from the rare instance where a customer only received one bolus when she’s supposed to receive 25 pieces.
Overall, this copper supplement is effective as we’ve seen great results in goats after just five weeks.
The course and dull coat of our goats became shiny, soft, and smooth. So, we think it’s highly recommendable.
Unit count: 25 Unit
Best Show Goat Feed
Show-Rite Rite Tyme Sheep & Goat Supplement
- BEST RESULTS: For proven results in the show goat ring, use Rite-Factor supplement. Results are typically noticeable within a matter of days of feeding. This unique product incorporates innovative technologies to promote the traits which are important in the ring.
- FEATURES: Formulated to maximize rack shape, fullness of loin and leg expression. Supports lean muscle development, shape and dimension. Supports goat immune system response.
- FEEDING TIPS: Always provide a source of clean, fresh water. For maximum results, feed in addition to Show-Rite Advancer.
- DIRECTIONS FOR USE: Feed to growing show goats at the rate of 3 oz per head per day, mixed with the regular ration. Enclosed scoop holds approximately 3 oz
- GOATS ONLY: This product has been specifically formulated for goats and is not intended for any other species.
The brand Show-Rite is specifically designed feed for show animals. They are specifically known for their goat feed.
This supplement is a high protein feed weighing in at 17% crude protein, 2.4% crude fat, and 17% crude fiber.
This is an extremely reputable company that many goat owners use to get their goats ready for the show ring.
The only con, in my opinion, is that it is lower in protein.
Best Goat Feed Balancer Supplement
Manna Pro Goat Feed Balancer Supplement
- Vitamin and mineral supplement that promotes overall health and vitality
- Contains quality ingredients to boost and balance all types of goat diets
- Helps meet the needs for growth, milk production, reproduction and show appearance
- Highly palatable formula helps promote feed intake
This goat balancer offers a complete supplement for goats and helps to increase and balance their diets.
Here’s a sneak peek of the good things it can offer.
This supplement that comes as a pellet is loaded with crude protein(20%), crude fat(5%), and fiber(15%).
It also comes with diatomaceous earth that helps treat and prevent parasite infestation and sea kelp, an excellent iodine source that helps regulate metabolism.
Lastly, it’s enriched with ammonium chloride that promotes urinary tract health.
This package of goodness has a highly palatable formula that can make your goat crave more, thanks to its anise flavor and yucca content.
It also has dried yeast in it that supports optimal digestion.
This goat supplement can also work wonders on your goat’s coat, making it shiny and smooth.
According to a small ruminant veterinarian, the only concern with this supplement is the ratio of calcium and phosphorus, which is way off.
That’s because the ideal ratio of calcium to phosphorus should be 2 1/2 to 1, respectively, and this supplement has 4 to 5% calcium and phosphorus.
Although it has ammonium chloride that prevents urinary calculi, we suggest watching out for any signs of such condition if you’re using this.
If your goat has a low protein diet, this goat balancer might be the answer to boosting their health.
This supplement won’t just make them healthy inside; they’ll also exude a healthy outward glow.
So it’s worth the investment.
Item weight: 10 lb
What Plants Should Your Goat Avoid
Although goats eat almost anything when they’re grazing or browsing plants, you need to watch what they nibble because some plants are harmful.
Here are the toxic foods your goat should avoid:
- Any part of an avocado, including fruit, leaves, stems, seeds, and bark
- Celery and parsley (both contains furocoumarins which can potentially cause photosensitization)
- Any Brassica including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, and Brussel sprouts
- Citrus (since it can cause gastric problems if fed regularly or in large amounts)
- Nightshade veggies such as eggplant, pepper, tomatoes, and tomatillo
- Potatoes (Its green skin and eye has glycoalkaloids and solanine toxins, and its leaves and vines are also toxic)
- Rhubarb (The whole plant contains harmful oxalic acid)
- Stone fruits that haven’t been pitted (Pits can lodge in the intestines, and pits are toxic.)
- Peach leaves and Plum leaves
- Crotalaria, Pokeweed, Azaleas, Sumac, Dog fennel, Curly dock, Black cherry, Eastern Baccharis, Black cherry, and Honeysuckle
Any goat feed that contains the said plants should be avoided to prevent poisoning and other diseases.
Aside from those foods in the list, cigarettes are also toxic to goats.
So, we suggest keeping your cigarette and its butt and ashes away from your goat and pasture.
What Is the Best Food to Feed Goats?
The best source of nutrition for goats is typically hay. Hay is the end product of grass that has been processed by drying and cutting them and tying them into bales for animal consumption.
Other animals like horses also eat hay.
What Is the Best Grain to Feed Goats?
The best grains for nutrition in a goat diet is wheat, oats, and/or barley. Depending on the purpose of why you are raising the goat determines how much you feed them.
Is Corn Good for Goats?
Corn isn’t something you should feed goats regularly. Corn, while safe, in small portions has high amounts of calcium that can cause urinary issues with goats down the road.
Raising goats is challenging, especially when they cannot browse in a lush pasture or suffer from a lack of nutrition or any disease.
But by providing quality hay and goat feed, you can help improve your goat’s health and nutrition.
It may be a bit costly, but investing in a high-quality goat feed would be worth it if your herd is healthy and happy.
READ NEXT: How To Properly Care For Your Goat