What Do Goats Eat

What do goats eat? The simple answer is anything they can find. Although goats primarily feast on grass, they'll chew and devour nearly anything they can reach.

Tips for Feeding Goats
If you're interested in goat farming, what you feed a goat will affect reproduction, milk production and kid growth. Goats should have a good supply of energy, protein, vitamins, fiber and water. If the goat's diet does not have the proper nutrients, it could lead to health problems within the herd. Inadequate or dirty water can also lead to health problems. A healthy goat needs about a gallon and a half of clean, fresh water every day.

Pasture Feeding
Goats get many of their nutrients from the pasture. Pasture grasses are high in energy and protein when the plants are young. Pastures should be rotated; when one pasture's grasses start to get older, the goats should be moved to another pasture to let young grasses in the first pasture regenerate. Older grasses are tougher and contain less nutrients. Goats will select plants that are at their most nutritious state.

Pastures should contain a good mixture of grass and clover. Grasses that are high in vitamin content include Bahia grass, millet, sorghum, sudan grass and clovers. During the winter, when grass is not as available for the goats, hay is used to feed the goats. Use a good quality hay, such as alfalfa, clover, and lespedeza hay.

If the goats are not getting enough vitamins and minerals from browsing and grazing in the pasture, vitamins may be supplemented. Goats require vitamins A, D and E. Goat supplements and grains can be purchased at local farming stores.

Poisonous Plants
There are certain plants that are poisonous to goats, and should be kept out of their pasture. Goats will eat these plants if young grasses aren't available. They may also ingest them along with pasture grass.

  • Wilted cherry, peach and plum leaves
  • Crotalaria
  • Nightshade (tomato and pepper plants, and any other plants of the nightshade family)
  • Poke weed
  • Clippings from ornamental plants

Goats can also be fed various vegetables, if they will eat them. Most goats will eat things such as lettuce, carrots and other vegetables not in the nightshade family.

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