Goats do best when they are out in the pasture, spending their days grazing on various types of shrub and forage. Unfortunately, your goat may not always be able to spend all of his days wandering through acres of lush greenery and consuming all the tasty looking plants. In the event that your goat has to be confined to her stall, you will need to feed her a diet that meets all her nutritional needs.
Your Goat's Diet
In their natural environment, goats stay healthy by consuming a varied diet of forage, including shrub plants, weeds and grasses. In captivity, hay and grain are often added to the diet of a goat to maintain a healthy weight and help ensure that goats are getting all their nutritional needs met. A healthy pasture diet for a goat typically combines free choice of the the grasses and plants from the pasture with a small scoop of grain and free-choice hay.
Stall Feeding Basics
Sometimes goats need to be kept in a stall or other relatively enclosed space where it will be impossible for the goat to get much nutrition, if any, by grazing. When grazing is eliminated from the diet, you will need to replace it with a different type of forage. The most common way to replace grasses and shrubs in your goat's diet is to provide a high quality hay, such as alfalfa or peanut, along with a daily ration of high protein concentrated grain. It is not generally recommended to feed a goat more than 1.5 to 2 pounds of grain a day; if you do not think your goat is maintaining an adequate weight, then you should add more high quality hay to her diet rather than adding more grain.
Watering Your Goat
It is extremely important to make sure you provide plenty of fresh, clean water to your goat. While plants contain their own moisture, hay and grains are often quite dry and provide little, if any, moisture content. Goats can become sick if they are deprived of water and become dehydrated. Clean the water trough regularly and make sure the water does not become full of algae or cloudy.
Minerals should be given whether your goat is in the pasture or being kept in a stall, but minerals are absolutely crucial once your goat is being kept completely in a stall because his diet will be more limited than it was when he was in the pasture. You will need to provide your goat with either a mineral block or a loose mineral mixture.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.