Full Information About Feeding Dairy Goats

Feeding dairy goats is just like feeding the dairy cows. And lust like the dairy cows, the diet of dairy goats also changes as their stage of pregnancy and production changes. Feeding dairy goats actually involves combining various feed ingredients into an acceptable and palatable ration to meet nutrient requirements. And these requirements vary depending on the stage of growth, gestation, lactation and the season of the year. And properly feeding dairy goats is the key to success in dairy goat farming business.

Goats are ruminants, like other livestock animals (such as cow, sheep and deer). And they have unique ability to digest roughage containing a high amount of fiber. Fiber in the goat's diet is broken down by the microorganisms and it provides energy to the goats. Goats and other ruminants eat quickly and shallow the food at first without much chewing. They returgitate the food later, and thoroughly chew it and swallow. If your goats are healthy, they will spend as much time chewing their cud as they do grazing or eating hay.

The doe should be slowly transitioned to feeds that will be given after the birth, about 4 weeks prior to kidding. You also need to provide the doe with proper vitamins and minerals prior to kidding, and also during lactation. Doing this will help to keep your goats healthy, and also will reduce the chance of the kids dying or developing health related problems shortly after kidding.

You should start milking your does about 8 weeks after kidding. And you should always provide the lactating does with high-quality forage and grain source during the lactation period.

Feeding Dairy Goats

Dairy goats require proper nutrient enriched feeds throughout the lactation period. The nutrients which are considered must for a dairy goat's diet are energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and water.

Proper balance of nutrients in the dairy goat's feed will ensure better performance, good health and better milk production. Here we are shortly describing about each factor below.

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Energy is the most important and essential nutrient to dairy goats. So, ensure availability of enough energy in the diet of the dairy goat breeds. Alfalfa, grass, corn, wheat, barley, oats etc. are great source of energy. A combination of pasture and grains also ensure sufficient energy for the dairy goats.

Energy limitations in dairy goats may results from inadequate feed intake, too much low quality food and incorrect roughage to concentrate ratios. Infertility, reduced milk production and weight loss are common signs of insufficient energy.


Protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are vital to all body processes of dairy goats. For measuring the amount of nitrogenous compounds in the feed, the term 'crude protein' is used. High quality legume hay, soybean meal etc. are some source of high quality protein.


Vitamins are essential for dairy goats. Vitamins can be divided into two major groups; water soluble and fat soluble. The water soluble vitamins are generally met by feedstuffs, rumen synthesis and tissue synthesis. While the fat soluble vitamins are stored in the fat or lipid portion of feed and include vitamins A, D, E and K.


Minerals are actually important and essential to body functions of the dairy goats. Calcium, copper, cobalt, iodine, iron, selenium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium and magnesium are essential minerals for dairy goats. There are different types of loose minerals and mineral blocks available, which are especially made for the goats. You can either use loose minerals or place mineral blocks inside the goat's feeding place.


Just like other livestock animals, water is a must for dairy goats also, and it is the most overlooked nutrient. Water assists in digestion, assimilation of nutrients, excretion of waste products, growth of young animals, control body temperature and obviously milk production. Always ensure availability of fresh and clean water for your dairy goats. God bless you!

Full Information About Feeding Dairy Goats Full Information About Feeding Dairy Goats Reviewed by Tanmay Roy on May 20, 2018 Rating: 5