Goat Feed – What They Eat and What They Don’t Eat

Goat feed

“Goat feed?” “Does that even exist?” People usually talk about goats as those animals that eat everything. This actually is not completely true. It would be an unfair statement to say that goats feed on everything because not all they eat is good for them.  

Even though goats go as far as to eat things like papers, healthy goat feeds would include those of vegetable or fruit origins as well as scraps from gardens and so on. 

Feeding them with molasses a few times is not a bad idea so long as you do this occasionally and not as their primary feed.  

While some feeds are given to goats to help them increase in weight – like molasses, some are for the maintenance of their health. 

Different goat feeds might differ in their nutritional content and value, but what is more important is finding the right combinations and proportions of feeds as well as knowing those that your goat should or should not be given.

Common feed that goats eat include:

  • Pasture & browsing
  • Hay
  • Chaffhaye
  • Vitamins & minerals
  • Garden & kitchen scrap
  • Grain

It is, of course, not a wise decision to make, giving your goats cat food or dog food. This is due to the fact that such kinds of food would contain animal proteins that could be processed by cats and dogs that are naturally meat-eaters but will not be able to be digested by your ruminant goats which naturally feed on vegetables and/or their derivatives. Also, it is illegal to feed ruminants with non-ruminants. 

Goats are herbivores and they do not possess  the capacity to digest such feeds.  

  • It is also important to not feed your goats whatsoever with Avocados. This is basically because they are poisonous to them. 

Click here to learn more on treats that goats eat.

Top 6 Feed For Your Goats

Here is a list of some of the most awesome kinds of food to feed your goats in relation to how much goats like them and also their nutritional advantage. 

This list of feed is to help your goats maintain their health and also improve their weight. 

Pasture & Browsing 

Contained in pasture and browse is well enough taste and nutrition for your goat. This really helps digestion for goats inasmuch as they are highly palatable for the animals. 

Even though there are different varieties of pastures, some are more nutritious and provide more nourishment for goats than others. 

Pastures like the Sudan grass, Alfalfa, Sorghum Bahia grass, Millet, grain grass mixtures and clovers are vital and good sources of nutrition and palatable food for your goats. 

With pastures, it is no longer a necessity to use hay. 

Browsing also reduces the cost of feeding as they help you cut down on the things you should buy as they get food for themselves while browsing through pastures.  

Pastures are healthy and will protect your goats from a lot of diseases. 


Just like pastures, hay is a very important aspect of goat feed as far as goat farming is concerned. 

One of the characteristics of a good, quality hay is that it does not contain mold. 

If your feeding style for your goats is pasture feeding, and the pasture system in your farm is great, then hays become needful only when the pasture for grazing is not available at the time, because as we have earlier said, pastures provide every necessary nutrient that hay can give. 

 Even at that, the importance of hay for goat farming cannot be overemphasized. They are needful in the cold and in the rainy days. 

Goats will mostly prefer hays like the alfafa, clovers, lespedeza or soybean and also vetch.


Chaffhaye is primarily grasses or hays that are made by cutting them early into smaller sizes and bits and spreading them with molasses. 

When this is done, they are then arranged into bags, allowing them to parch. 

This will enable an environment that favors some commensal or symbiotic bacteria to add to the hay to ease the digestive process for the goat. 

By this, you have additional minerals, nutrients as well as energy. 

 Vitamins and Minerals 

To keep healthy goats, vitamins and minerals are very vital in goat feed; some or most in trace. 

For goat feed, Phosphorus, Calcium, and salt are very important for the health of the goat. 

If your goat has issues with a bloated stomach or something like that, baking soda will be a good source of vitamin. 

Some vitamins like  vitamins A, D and E are highly important for kids and mature goats. 

You can also get Vitamin E from Black oil or from sunflower seeds. It is important in the enriching of goat milk and the development of the reproductive system and muscular system. 

Others like Probios are needful as they help goats in the proper function of the rumen. 

You can get Iodine from Kelp Meal which helps to heighten milk production for goats.  

You can also help build the immune system of your goats by providing them with fruits and vegetables that contain so much enzymes and minerals. Such fruits like the Apple Cider Vinegar are key. 

Garden and Kitchen Scrap

When it comes to goat feeding, aside their palatability, scraps are of great nutritional value. 

It is also a time and money saver to feed your goats with kitchen scraps. 

If you can find kitchen scraps like orange peels, pawpaw peels, tomato ends, banana peels, skin of garlic, and so on, give them to your goats and you are fine.

In addition to these, you can serve them human foods and vegetables or fruits (fresh or dry). 

It is not advisable to give your goats sweet feeds so as not to make them lazy and depend on junks. 


There is also a provision made for those who will not be able to make all these important foods available. If you can give your goats 13 to 16% of grains, that would do. 

You can also feed your goats with grains everyday. 

Actually, mature goat feed should contain up to 40% of grains but feeds for the kids don’t have to contain grains as they cannot digest it well.

In grains are high amounts of carbohydrate and protein and this makes grains very important.

Grains are of different types ranging from the texturized, rolled, pelletized to the whole. 

Grain products such as rye, corn, oats, barley and moil provide the major elements. They are called cereals.

Click here to see a more detailed list of goat feed you can use. 

8 Things You Should NEVER Feed Your Goats

Try not to give your goats these items: 

  • Avocado.
  • Azaleas. 
  • Chocolate. 
  • Plants with oxalates such as kale. 
  • Any nightshade vegetable 
  • Holly trees or bushes 
  • Lilacs. 
  • Lily of the valley. 

Those can cause some really bad health complications for your goats. The more reason you should nor feed them with those.

Click here to get more facts. 

How Should You Feed Your Goats

To feed your goat effectively, there are few things you would have settled; the feeding schedule – how often you should feed them, feed ration – the quantity of feed and how much to feed them, and also the equipment for feeding. 

If you have settled these, let’s go further. 

  • Have it at the back of your mind that you should apportion between 2 and 4 pounds of hay for each goat daily. 
  • For chaffhaye, it should be proportional to their body weight. 2 pounds can do for a goat that weighs around 100 pounds. 
  • Actually, you can feed your goat with hay without being so concerned whether it will hurt them. 

But this is not the case for grains. Too much grains can cause your goat to die.  

This means you have to be a little bit more careful feeding them those. 

To avoid the risk of your goat dying from too much grains, feed them a pound and half of grain for daily ration. For the kids, give them very much less.

  • For you are not an intensive farmer and/or your goats get enough forage everyday, you can decide not to feed them with hay, but if you have to, keep it at once or twice per day.
  • Also, whether the grains are to be given to the goats in one ration or two is all up to you.  

If the goats do not have access to enough forage you can just go ahead to grant them a full proportion of the grains. If not, share the ration of grains and give it to them twice.

Feeding Equipments For Goats 

There are some basic equipment you should have in your goat farm to help you feed them easily. 

The proper equipment is as follows:

Hay feeder

Have you observed carefully and found that goats do not hunger for their food if they are trampled on by them and other goats of the herd. Buying a goat feeder will help you reduce what quantity of hay that would waste if they were to be trampled on. 

Grain Feeder

I have watched a lot of goats struggle to eat grains from not so easily accessible dishes. Remember that when the grains fall to the ground, they will not eat it. 

If you are not ready to buy grain feeders, you can get galvanized tubs.
In case you want to make a distant trip, you can use a sturdy to be sure that the goats you are leaving behind have enough quantity of feed that can keep them till you return. 

Mineral Feeder

Mineral feeders are used to administer minerals to your goats. Mineral blocks are also good alternatives but you have to use holders to hold them. 

Feeders will help you minimize wastage of grains, feeds or what you give your goats with them.


Goats do not take a lot of water really. To effectively keep water around them, you can get a waterer or create one by the use of a galvanized tub. 

It is going to be a plus for you to fence your farm and be sure that your goat don’t feed on unhealthy things. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions

 How much does a goat eat per day? 

Goats eat a lot. Adult goats can eat as much as between 2 to 4 pounds of hay or whatever type of roughage they can access in a day. 

Also, when there are no other kinds of feed that are readily available, goats will eat even more than 4 pounds. 

At times, goats can eat up to 6 to 7 pounds of hay in a day if they are milkers. 

Goat Feeding Schedule 
  • The first thing to feed your newly born goats is colostrum. Give them consistent access to milk daily for goats within 3 days of birth. 
  • When they are within 3 days and when they are to be weaned, give them milk two to three times in a day.
  • When they have come up to about 1 or 2 weeks old, you can gradually begin to introduce them to green pastures and roughages. 
  • From one month old, concentrate mixtures should be given to the young goats. 
  • Eight hours of grazing in a day is good enough for goats between three months and twelve months old. 
  • Addition of 12% protein concentrate in adult feed is great.  

Also, to improve the health of your goat; 

• Be sure they have safe and clean water to drink. First, provide clean and safe water. 

• You can also add minerals in small proportions, excess has the tendency to result in Hydrophobia (fear of water). 
Here is a list of food proportion to help your goat to gain health and weight:

  • Pasture (80-90% of daily diet),
  • Grain(7-10% of daily diet),
  • Minerals (1-2% of their diet),
  • Black Sunflower Seeds – provides vitamin E & selenium. 

You can also learn more tips here

Are there food supplements for goats? 

Of course there are food supplements for goats and you should get them for your goats as they are really nice. 

But have it in mind that these supplements are not in any way, replacement for their food. Always feed them with forage or hay, even when you have gotten the food supplements for your goat.  

 Nonetheless, you have a choice to switch out grains for other kinds of foods, or if you desire to feed them with the needed minerals without having to pay for the store-bought versions there are some ways to go around that.

You can choose from these options:

Loose minerals

The way human beings require intake of multivitamins to make sure that our bodies get all of the needed nutrients, goats also require loose minerals for the same reason. 

It is possible to buy them as loose minerals or as mineral blocks that the goats can lick.
However you choose to, the goats will still like them. Thanks to you who are on the job, playing your part to make sure they are healthy.

Baking Soda

The good thing about baking soda is that it helps to avert bloating of their stomach and improves digestion.  They are safe when you give them loose minerals and baking soda. 

Beet Pulp

It is difficult to say whether there is a recipe for homemade beet pulp, but what is sure, is that beet pulps are of serious benefit and they are worth the cost.   

They are very rich in fiber, protein, and energy. 

If a time comes when it looks like your goats are being fed up with the usual feed, some deal of beet pulp helps bring back the joy. 

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

If you rear rabbits, you most likely are conversant with the black oil sunflower seeds. But only a few people know how important these seeds are to goats also. 

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds are rich in Vitamin E, and they help with the reproductive health as well as the muscles of goats.  They also contain a proportionate amount of zinc, iron, and selenium. 

These seeds help make their coats shine more and also cause increased butterfat content in their milk. 

 It will also make their coats shinier and will enrich the fat content in their milk. 

Kelp Meal

The Kelp meal is famous for its constant supply of Iodine. They go a long way to help increase the milk productivity of your goats. 

If you are a goat farmer raising your goats for milk production, I suggest you embrace the idea of kelp meal supplement. 

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

ACV is a popular food supplement, right? Even as a human, you take a spoon or two of Apple Cider Vinegar. Consider it also healthy for your goat. All it takes is simply adding a small quantity in the water they drink each day. Apple Cider Vinegar contains enzymes and some vital minerals that help to boost the immune system.

So if we take it for health then why not the goats?
You just add a little to their water every day. It is full of enzymes and minerals that help support a healthy immune system.

As earlier said, the major thing to note in goat feeding is knowing what to feed your goat and when to. 

Try as much as possible to deter your goat from taking just any kind of thing, knowing that if not really watched out for, goats can be crazy and eat poisonous or unhealthy foods. 

We do hope that you get to make an awesome goat farmer and enjoy the advantage of adding knowledge to your skills. 

Recent Posts