The best thing about goats…
… is that they do amazingly well on a simple diet.
Aside from hay and an occasional bit of grain, they are good to go! Well, except for a few supplements.
You see, a goat’s basic diet is their foundation. Click here if you want to learn the basics about what goats eat. I truly believe if you can get the highest quality when it comes to the basics, then you’ll have strong, healthy goats!
However, in nature goats thrive on a variety of forage. So unless your goats have access to a large, LARGE pasture with plenty of variety, it’s important to include some supplements into their feeding schedule.
Supplements for goats
I’m listing the following supplements in order of necessity. The top of the list are pretty important, but as you work your way down, they can be optional depending on your goat’s needs.
Providing a good source of minerals is probably the most important thing when it comes to supplementation. Minerals are the transports for protein, fats, and carbs. So trust me, they need ’em! Check out my article here on which kind of minerals we feed our goats.
(Where to buy.) We always keep probiotics on hand because they can help with SO many different issues and for just boosting health. We purchase a brand that is designed for horses (because horses have a similar digestive system to goats) and give our goats a lesser dose.
We’ll give our goats a teaspoon of probiotics when moving them to a different location, bringing in a new goat, during times of stress, when young kids are ready to start transitioning to hay, to does after kidding, or really for any kind of distress. You can also add this to your regular goat feeding routine and supplement once a week with probiotics.
(Where to buy.) Baking soda is a good way to help the rumen of the goat function correctly and prevent bloat. There’s some debate on whether to offer it free choice in a container or to limit it to a scoop a week in their feeding trough. It’s up to you, but read this article from The Prairie Homestead about feeding baking soda to goats to help you decide.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
(Where to buy.) Black oil sunflower seeds have a surprising amount of protein, as well as lots of fatty acids, trace minerals, and vitamins. Plus, goats love ’em! We feed each goat about a handful a day.
(Where to buy.) When my goats start to show signs of health issues, or we have extraordinary circumstances that require intervention, we use Fir Meadows Herbs. Kat the owner is a great resource for all things herbal!
What to do with picky goats?
The best and the worst thing about goats is that they come with their own (very different) personalities. Some goats will chomp on herbs and some will turn up their nose.
My advice is just to offer it to all and then just allow them to decide if they’re going to eat it. You can’t force a goat to eat something it doesn’t like. There are a few instances when you’ll need to squirt an herbal mixture into their mouth, so be prepared for that!
Above all, if you provide a good base of nutritional support, your goats should be healthy and vibrant!