What we feed our goats is incredibly important. It not only affects the health of the goat but the quality of the milk that we feed our children and use in our products. So when it came to what we were going to feed them I did a great deal of research.
Pasture and Forage
Our pasture, and the forage throughout it, is the most important part of our goats’ diets. Goats are foragers, not grazers. They need the roughage and they like to eat foliage that is off the ground. During the spring, summer, and most of the fall our pasture provides the goats most of their sustenance. They have pine trees, blackberry brambles, honeysuckle, and more.
Hay is the next largest portion of our goats’ diets, especially during the winter when there is not a lot of forage and essentially no grass to eat. So our hay is not something we skimp on. The hay we purchase is chemical free, although as a small farm they do not have an organic certification. The bales are kept out of the weather and have never been rained on, which is extremely important. Being in the weather destroys the nutrients of the hay. Our goats maintain weight on a lot less since the quality of the hay is so high. Good hay goes a long way.
At first we were feeding our girls grain from a large corporate feed company. It was fine, but I knew we could do better. They didn’t have an organic or non-gmo product and I like to support local farms whenever possible. We have a local feed company that offers organic feed, but the price per 50# bag was nearly double what we were spending and that just wasn’t in the budget. A little over a year ago a farmer friend of ours turned us on to Sunrise Farms Feed. They offer all-natural non-gmo feed. The grain for their feed comes from small local farms. It looks and smells amazing. It’s not over processed, you can actually see all the individual ingredients. The quality is outstanding. It made a difference you could actually see! Their coats that were already healthy and beautiful looking became even more so. Our girls have such wonderful energy. I attribute at least some of that to the grain.
Grain is fed to the goats on the milk stand while they are being milked. This helps them with their milk production and keep them occupied while we work with them. Our goats who are not in milk, the ones who are too young or the bucks, only get a very small amount of grain. It’s just enough to keep them “friendly,” as our vet would say.
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds
Black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS) have many benefits for goats. Many goat farmers use BOSS as a supplement since the seeds are rich in fiber and protein. BOSS is also said to improve milk production and increase butterfat. It also helps improve their coat. We mix a small handful of BOSS in with their grain at feeding time.
Loose minerals round off our goats diets. It provides them with things that our soil/plants might be lacking, like copper and selenium (this is a very selenium deficient area). It also includes salt.
We will continue to do whatever we can to provide our animals with the best feed possible. We want our animals to be healthy and the milk we use to be high quality!