When I was new to owning goats, I agonized over what to feed them. I poured over the internet finding out what everyone did. I read everything I could and the only thing that everyone agreed on, was that goats need to eat.
But it seemed nobody could agree on anything else! Everybody did it differently. There was always a “best brand” of feed or minerals to try. Or a new magic additive. For a few years, I kept switching things up. Always on the lookout for the perfect feeding regimen for my goats. I wanted to maximize their milk output and minimize the cost of my feed. I drove my local feed guy crazy with everything I wanted him to mix up and try.
Over the years, my approach to feeding my goats has changed drastically. Goats don’t like change – especially when it comes to their feed. So I stopped changing. And I started simplifying.
They’re dairy goats, so they have high calcium needs. Alfalfa pellets – check!
They’re ruminants, so they need roughage. Grass hay – check!
They have high mineral (especially copper) needs. Loose mineral high in copper – check!
And if they milk too much (which my girls like to do), they can get too skinny, so they need some carbs for weight gain. Whole oats – check!
That’s pretty much it. I’ve stopped worrying about how much milk they produce (a huge part of that is due to good genetics) and just started to focus on meeting their nutritional needs and keeping them healthy.
And do you know what I found? The goats like it simple. They like that it never changes. My goats generally stay healthy and they make lots of milk. And when they’re happy and making lots of milk – everybody is happy!
Note: Here is a link to some more information on the website about Feeding Dairy Goats.