What To Feed West African Goats

West African Goats :-

Proper feeding of West African Dwarf goats is a major factor in successfully keeping them. And since goats digest foods differently than humans, its important to know how best to feed them.

Goats are ruminants animals with four stomachs which they use in processing their food.

This four stomachs are designed to extract nutrients from bulky plant material. They help to break down microorganisms from the plant materials eaten by a goat as it passes through their stomachs.

Food is stored rapidly in the first and largest stomach and later regurgitated to be chewed later which can also mean “chewing the cud”.

This process assists the microorganisms in breaking down the fibrous material and extracting nutrients. When the goat’s feed reaches the last stomach (the abomasum) it’s then processed the same as in a single-stomached animal.

Feeding West African Dwarf Goats

Because goats are designed for processing fibrous plant material and are also very selective when it comes to the feed they consume, the most important feature of their diet is free choice, good quality hay or hay and forage.

There is no right or wrong way to feed your goats; the best feeding practice for you will depend on the age, gender of your goats and what’s available.

The best feed practice to do after buying your goats from livestock247.com is to feed exactly what they were getting prior to coming home to you.

This ensures that there’s no sudden change in their diet that could upset their stomach microorganisms and cause them to get sick. You can gradually change their diet later as their growth and your knowledge dictates.

HAY

There are two main types of hay, leguminous (nitrogen fixing) and grass hay. Alfalfa and clover are examples of leguminous hay while timothy and orchard grass are examples of grass hay.

Leguminous hay typically has much higher protein levels than grass hay and will also contain more calcium.

A good quality, mixed legume/grass hay is a good starting point for feeding West African Dwarf goats. Lactating does and young kids benefit from eating alfalfa hay with higher protein levels, but a mixed legume/grass hay should provide a good diet for bucks, wethers, non-lactating does and goat kids.

Goats are notorious for wasting hay, or pulling out the tastiest pieces and throwing the rest on the ground. It’s therefore economical to use feeders designed to help prevent this behavior.

This allows the goats to reach the hay but not stick their head in and pull it all out.

Note:- Only high quality hay that’s not dusty or moldy should be fed to goats. Moldy hay can make a goat sick and can also cause a fire hazard.

FORAGE

Goats prefer to browse areas with woody underbrush which make excellent goat pastures, goats are happy to eat things we consider weeds like poison ivy.

Goats can also be introduced to lush growing vegetation slowly to avoid negatively impacting their rumen or developing enterotoxemia (over-eating disease).

There are plants that are extremely toxic to goats and these plants should be removed from pasture areas before allowing goats to browse in them. Fortunately, if goats have access to sufficient quantities of non-toxic plants, they will usually avoid or only nibble those that are mildly toxic to them.

If access to a pasture is not available, forage can still be cut and brought to goat, just remember to introduce any new plants slowly and observe carefully to make sure that the new food is not adversely affecting the rumen microorganisms.

GOAT MINERAL 

Goats need minerals and vitamins but the amount that they get from their hay ration may vary, therefore, most goat owners feed a free choice goat mineral to help prevent any deficiencies.

The goat mineral should contain calcium and phosphorous because these two minerals are necessary for goats to build bones and make milk.

In addition to the calcium and phosphorous, the mineral mix should contain salt and most contain small amounts of potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, and selenium.

Sample Goat Mineral Ingredient List

WATER

Access to a continuous source of clean, fresh water is very important for goats. it’s very important that they consume lots of water to keep their rumens working.

CONCENTRATE

Growing goat kids, lactating does, and does late in pregnancy all need more protein, minerals, and vitamins than what can be provided by a hay ration, even legume hay. It takes protein to grow goat kids and make milk, so a grain supplement containing 14 – 18% protein is typically added to their diet.

In conclusion, although all goats basically need the same foods, each goat requires differing amounts of hay, mineral, water, and grain depending upon their age, gender, and energy requirements. It’s therefore important to monitor goats individually to make sure they are not getting too fat or too thin.

If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “effects of disease on farm animal welfare. here.

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