Goats require five major classes of feeds which are
- Mineral salts
- Dairy goats should be fed similarly to dairy cattle.
- Good quality hay should be the basis of the ration, and a 14-18%protein concentrate should be fed as a supplement during lactation
- Higher-producing does may require higher protein in the ration
- Avoid overfeeding to avoid incidences of dystocia as well as pregnancy toxemia.
- Overfeeding grain may lead to foundering the animal.
- Loose trace mineral salt (TMS) should be available at all times.
- Goats are susceptible to copper deficiency and, unlike sheep, are fairly resistant to copper toxicity.
- Cattle TMS, rather than sheep salt with very low copper, should be offered.
- The salt and other feeds should be kept dry and off the ground.
- In general, the less expensive the mineral, the lower the availability of important trace minerals.
- Provide fresh, plentiful supplies of water to avoid a decrease in water consumption, especially for high-yielding does.
- Bucks and wethers fed substantial amounts of grain are prone to develop urinary calculi. Genetics may also be a factor in the disease.
- Goats consume a wide variety of grasses, weeds and small branches of bushes and trees.
- They can consume leaves, peelings and roots of vegetables, husks of corn, citrus and banana peeling and other waste plant residues.
- Goats are ruminant and therefore chew cud and are able to utilize roughage with high fiber content. They produce protein, vitamin B and K in the rumen.
- Goats are fastidious feeders as a result they are the last animals to die from drought
Most of these herbaceous legumes have anti-nutritional factors (like tannins and cyanides). It’s recommended that these should not exceed 25% of the total feed requirement per day. They should be wilted before feeding to lower the moisture content and raise the Dry Matter (DM)
Agro industrial sources of protein.
- Groundnut cake
- cotton seed cake
- Sunflower cake.
- Soya beans cake
- Rhodes grass
- Napier grass
- Panicum spp
- Cenchrus spp
- Bana grass.
- Banana stems and leaves should be fed as a last resort to feed demand. This is because these feed material is very high in moisture content and this limits the amount of water intake hence compromised milk production
- Maize stovers
- Millet stovers
- Rice husks and straw
- Wheat straw
- Barley straw
- Sorghum stovers
Agro industrial by-products
- Maize germ
- Maize bran.
Care of Pregnant Doe (She-goat)
- Protein supplements are important during the dry period (non-lactating period). This is because the kids are growing faster at this time and their nutritional requirements are very high.
- Just like in dairy cows, dairy goats need steaming up too. Ensure provision of a high plane of nutrition 2-4 weeks prior to kidding.
- Deworm the doe two weeks prior to kidding
- A goat requires 3% (of its body weight in dry matter approximately 1.5 kg per day or 5 kg of fresh materials should be availed to the doe per day).
- Make provisions to ensure that the daily ration is well balanced of the essential nutrients.
- Provide the does with loose salt lick and at least either half a kilo of dairy meal per day or a mixture of pollard and bran
- Provide adequate clean water all the time.
Care of lactating doe
At the end of the 5th month, check for the following signs of approaching birth;
- Reduced feed intake
- Rapid breathing
- Doe will constantly look back unto her sides as if expecting to see young ones.
- Enlarged udder that may or may not discharging colostrum.
- Swollen vulva
- And thick mucus discharge from the vulva.
- The hair around the tail and the rear should be clipped and fresh beddings (straw or grass) provided.
- The kid is born after short labour but in case of difficult kidding expert (Vet doctor) should be consulted.
Feeding lactating doe
- Milk production is supported by good nutrition
- Amount of concentrates fed should be in proportion to the amount of milk being produced.
- The following table provides a guide to feeding concentrates to a lactating doe
Feeding of concentrate (dairy meal)
The dairy meal fed should be divided into 2 portions daily. It is advised that feeding is done in the morning and evening at a regular basis
Care of the kids
- To prevent naval infection the stump of the umbilical cord should be cleaned and disinfected with iodine, strong salt solution or traditional herbal remedy.
- The new born kid should be placed in a warm area to protect it from strong winds (draft) and cold that may expose it to pneumonia.
- Kids are allowed to suckle the colostrum in the first three days after birth. This is very important to boost their immunity since they have not developed their own at such early stage of life
- The kid should be allowed to suckle the mother enough milk so as to have the kid as future basis for breeding stock.
- Fostering is advisable if the mother dies or in case of infection of the udder (mastitis). One can still prepare artificial colostrum
- Bottle feeding is also an alternative in the absence of the mother.
- Introduce green chop and water after 1 week.
- Kids can be withdrawn from the mother at night so that the doe can be milked in the morning.
- Kids should be weaned at 4 months. Weaning before this time should be compensated with high protein supplements.
- The weaning process should be as gradual as possible to minimize chances of unnecessary shock to the animal