Feeding Meat Goats
May 24, 2021
Efficient rate of gain comes from conversion of feed to gain without overfeeding. Placing a focus on providing diets containing proper forage, protein and energy levels is how you obtain that. This should be your goal when feeding meat goats for market.
Meat goat diets must contain both energy and protein to be effective. Energy from carbohydrates and fats drive growth rate and weight gain. If they are short on energy, they just plain don’t gain weight. Protein is important to support feed intake and digestion. Low protein levels affect growth rate because not enough amino acids reach the rumen. These amino acids aide in the efficient digestion of energy. Lush forages can provide adequate fat and protein. However, forage quality changes constantly. Feeding a supplement can help keep the constant nutrition levels you need to improve appetite, rate of gain and efficient cost of gain.
Goats need 2% of body weight in high quality forage daily. These forage levels are even more important when in dry lots where you are feeding higher levels to increase gains. When goats don’t receive enough forage, they aren’t as efficient at converting feed to meat because the rumen isn’t getting the scratch value to stay healthy. Goats actually convert forage as well as they do grains. For maximum efficiency they need that lower cost forage.
Whether raising meat goats for market or as replacement females, steady growth should be your goal. Daily gains depend on genetics, but gains of 0.25 to 0.5 pounds per day is a good goal. On full feed, it should take 3.75 to 4 pounds of feed per head per day to achieve this. You also need to know when they have reached their growth potential. This would be when your goats are no longer growing but are only gaining fat. Getting goats to market at the right time is more efficient and will save on unnecessary feed costs.
Efficiently fed goats can return you a good profit, you just need a quality supplement and remember not to overfeed it. Contact SFG for all your goat feed needs. We have a good selection of bagged grower feeds and some good rations for bulk feed.