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Vitamin and mineral supplement or block
Goats are high-energy animals that expend calories almost as fast as they assimilate them. Finding the right nutritional balance to keep meat goats gaining weight instead of losing is sometimes challenging. With the proper feed and supplements, even beginning goat farmers can raise healthy meat goats.
Make sure clean, fresh water is freely available to your goats. Though they may get all the water they need from lush grasses and rain-soaked foliage, it is important to have water available just in case they need it, according to J.M. Luginbuhl and M.H. Poore of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Water is almost always needed by some members of the herd such as lactating does,” they add.
Keep your goats on pasture. Allowing free grazing of grass and plants is the most inexpensive way to provide consistent feed.
Feed your goats grain, such as corn or oats, out of a trough or bucket. Due to the high carbohydrate content, grain is the quickest way to increase weight gain in goats. Start feeding a quarter-pound of grain to each goat per day, then gradually increase the amount. According to Susan Schoenian of the University of Maryland Extension, meat goats should not be fed more than 1½ pounds of grain in one feeding.
Provide a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, iron and copper. You can either add it to the grain or in a free-choice mineral block.
Feed your goats protein to help build muscle and aid digestion. Complete supplements are available that include protein, vitamins and minerals. A minimum of seven percent crude protein is required for meat goats; lower protein levels will decrease forage consumption, causing your goats to lose weight.
- goat image by Dat from Fotolia.com