How to Feed a Goat for Weight Gain

By Marie Jones

Raising meat goats can be a very exciting and rewarding experience, but can also be very challenging. With a bit of preparation and understanding of the nutritional needs of goats, even the newest farmer can raise happy, healthy, fattened goats. While raising meat goats can be different than raising sheep or cattle for meat, it's still a grueling process that takes time, patience, energy, and dedication. Goats are very energetic and burn a lot of calories through running around, so finding the right balance of nutrition to keep them gaining weight can be a challenge for even the most experienced farmer.

Weight Gain for Goats

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Feed the goats corn or oats.

Grains are the quickest, easiest way to fatten up a goat because of the high carbohydrate content, but according to goat expert Susan Schoenian, your goat should receive no more than 1 1/2 pounds of grain per day. Goats should be fed grains out of a trough or hand-fed. The food should not be sprinkled on the ground.

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Feed the goats grass.

Your goat should feed daily in a field or pasture. Eating grass, plants, and bugs is beneficial and one of the most "natural" ways for your goat to eat. It's also very inexpensive for you.

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Give your goats a vitamin and mineral supplement.

The vitamins and minerals you provide your goat with will vary based on the levels of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you decide to feed your goat. Vitamins and minerals can be purchased specifically for goats at most feed stores. Calcium is perhaps the most popular mineral for goats, but phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron, and copper are just as important and should not be overlooked.

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Feed your goats protein.

The protein is important because it helps your goat build muscle, and it also aids in the proper levels of carbohydrate digestions. When protein is lacking in a goat's diet, the carbohydrates will digest too quickly, decreasing your goat's energy and affecting the absorption of minerals.

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Water your goats.

Supplying water for your goats is especially important in goats that are pregnant or lactating, as well as for goats who live in a dry area. NCSU's Animal Science department says that most of the time, goats are able to have their water needs met by eating plenty of lush grasses and plants. If you are concerned about your goats water needs and do not have a pond or lake nearby, a water trough may be a wise investment for your goats.