It should be no surprise that when you start a goat farm you will need to feed your goats.
This raises the question: does feeding your goats have to be complicated?
The answer to the question is no, but what you feed your goats, the amount you feed them, and how you feed them all make a difference to the health of your herd.
Best Feed for Goats
There are many benefits of giving your goats added feed in their diet that complement the hay you are feeding them. All of these feeds have their own benefits as well as their own uses.
The common denominator with all of them is that you will need to follow the instructions on the bag they come in so that you can use them to your advantage without making your goats sick by giving too much.
Goat Starter Feed
When growing your herd often times you will start out with young goats. These young goats will need an extra boost in their growth to meet the demands that will be placed on them down the road. You will also be raising your own goats once you get your herd started, and those kids will need a head start on their growth as well.
A good starter feed that aids in growth for all ages of goats is Purina Goat Grower. This feed comes in a 50-pound bag and is found at many local farm stores across the country. The price typically comes in at only $16.50, making it very affordable.
Sometimes your goats need to gain some extra weight or need a little extra energy; this is where sweet feed comes into play.
The nice thing about sweet feed is that it has molasses in it, which makes it more appealing to your picky goats who seem to enjoy being underweight. It also provides the nutrients to your high-needs goats, like those that are lactating with multiple kids.
The Producer’s Pride Sweet Feed 50-pound bag is a great option when you are shopping for sweet feed. It retails at $10.50 and you can find it at many Tractor Supply stores across the country.
Medicated Goat Feed
Sometimes your goats need a little extra help to avoid getting sick or to help them get healthier. Many times, people will give young goats medicated goat feed as a way to avoid them getting coccidia. Coccidia can be deadly to young kids as well as adult goats, so this is where medicated goat feed comes into play.
The Producer’s Pride Sheep and Goat Medicated Feed 50-pound bag can be exactly what you are looking for if you are concerned about young kids getting coccidia. The bag retails for $16 and is found at many Tractor Supply stores across the country.
Organic Goat Feed
If you are looking into making your goat farm completely organic, you will want to know what organic feeds are on the market.
One of the good options on the market is the StandLee Organic Alfalfa Pellets 40-pound bag.
When feeding this it replaces the need for you to buy hay, since it really is hay in pellet form. The hay goes through a process to make the pellets you buy in the bag.
But buying the bag will hurt the pocket book more than buying hay from the farmer near you since it retails at $21 for only 40 pounds.
High Protein Feed
Protein is mandatory if you want a healthy herd of goats. Usually you think of protein as a component for building muscles, but it does much more than that. Without adequate protein your goats will suffer tremendously. To avoid this, you will want to make sure your goats have access to adequate protein in their diet.
One good product that helps with this is the Prairie Pride Protein Pail. This protein pail weighs 18 pounds and costs $20, making it an economical option to add protein in your goats’ diet.
Ammonium Chloride Feed
What on earth is ammonium chloride, you ask?
Well, the easy way to answer this question is to tell you that it supports urinary tract health. This is very important for goats, especially in your wether goats.
The San Juan Ammonium Chloride 2.5 pound supplement is a great way to encourage urinary tract health in your goat herd. At $18.66, this supplement is a lot cheaper than a calling a vet out to your farm to take care of a wether!
Show Goat Feed
If you are planning on showing your goats you will need to have a good show feed, giving your goats that extra edge before they enter the show pen.
When you feed a quality show feed, you are supporting muscle development and overall growth of your goat. Show feed may also enrich the health of your goat’s hair.
One of the great options on the market is the Purina Honor Show Goat Feed. This 50-pound bag retails at $22 and may well be worth the investment in giving you’re the edge at a goat show.
Purina Goat Feed
Purina has many great products that farmers of many species trust all over the United States. Many local farm stores throughout the country carry Purina products, making them highly accessible. Here is a sample of Purina’s best goat feed products:
Purina Meat Goat Feed
When you are raising meat goats it is beneficial to give them food that is formulated just for them. If you are going to have max weight for butcher time, you need to make sure your goats are getting all the nutrition they can get. The Purina Goat Feed 50-pound bag is a great option at $21.
Purina Show Goat Feed
Show feed was covered earlier in this article, so you will only need a little recap. The Purina Honor Show Goat Feed can help out when you are looking to become a competitor in the show pen. This 50-pound bag costs $22 and can help give you the edge you are looking for.
Purina Noble Goat Feed
Purina Noble Goat Grower Feed is a good all-around feed to give your entire herd. It can be given to meat and dairy goats while providing them with the nutrition they need to be successful. Buying this 50-pound bag is easy on the pocket book at $16.50 and can help your goat herd’s overall health.
Best Goat Feed at Tractor Supply
Tractor Supply has all but one of the products recommended on this guide so far. So, if you choose to go to Tractor Supply for your feed needs you know that you will be able to find the best goat feed for your goat herd. However, the most universal goat feed they have in their stores has got to be the Purina Goat Grower Feed since it can cover many of the needs for your entire goat herd.
Other Goat Feed Brands
Depending on where you are in the United States, there are many other brands of goat feed that you can find for your goats. All of these feeds can help aid the health of your herd.
Some of the other popular brands you may find are ADM, Showrite, Nutrena, Kent, Blue Seal, Jacoby, Kalmbach, Southern States, TSC, Moormans, and High Noon. By looking at the nutrition label they place on the bag, you will be able to determine how they compare to the better-known brand of Purina and make an educated decision on what you will feed your goats.
Goat Hay Feeder
Once you have figured out which feed you will give your goats you will not want to neglect how you are going to give your goats their hay.
Having hay fed straight off the ground is just asking for your goats to get worms, which can lead to a sick herd. So, you will want to have something that keeps your goats’ hay off the dirt.
Goat Creep Feeder
One of the options that you should look into is a goat creep feeder. This handy feeder restricts your goats from totally gorging themselves on all they hay you buy in one day as well as allowing the kids to get to the hay they need without the adults stealing it from them.
Tarter makes a very good goat creep feeder, but it’s fairly expensive at $700. However, it can potentially save you a lot of money in not having wasted hay or sick goats.
Homemade Creep Feeder
If you want to save money and are willing to use your time to build, then a homemade creep feeder may be a fantastic option for you. Stoney Creek Heritage Farm has an easy to follow video that you can watch so that you can make your own without doing a ton of guesswork:
Hanging Goat Feeder
Another good option for you to consider is a hanging goat feeder. This will keep your goat food off of the ground out of reach of nasty things found down there.
The Rugged Ranch Hanging Feeder runs $130 and also provides you with a place to put their grain and salt.
Homemade Hanging Goat Feeder
If you are creative and like to save money then you will like this homemade hanging goat feeder that Johnson Family Farmstead made. Making this feeder will require a couple tools and 1 cattle panel. Doing this one could potentially cost you less than $30 if you already have your own tools:
A hay manger is one of the most common ways to keep hay off of the ground. These handy feeders can feed multiple goats at once while doing its job.
The Tarter 5-foot Goat Hay Rack is a great choice at only $170 if you are wanting to go with this type of feeder.
Homemade Hay Manger
You can also make your own homemade hay manger if you feel like saving some money. Harper Valley Farms shared a neat way that they used to build one. Following their instructions could help you make your own homemade hay manger on a budget:
With all the many food options on the market for your goats, along with how to give them that food, you may get overwhelmed. However, the best thing to do is try out what is most appealing to you and talk with experienced people in your area.
At the end of the day, your feed and feeder choices will not be as complicated as you first thought!