Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I am working on our farm plans and want to incorporate producing all of our goats food here on site. I am finding it really difficult to get any solid figures on how much of what per day.

How much hay per day? I free choice right now but if it was put down into pounds per goat per day what is the actual requirement?

How much grain per day?

Is there an actual caloric intake they need to meet that anyone knows?

I've read it stated in one article they need to eat 2 - 3% of their body weight in roughage and forage per day and then another article stated 10%. Is there an actual number to go by?

If I am including root veggies and garden scraps should I lower the hay rations?

Any help is appreciated!

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Ok I found a decent article by a university and they are saying 3% - 5% of body weight per day with no more that 1/4 of that being brain based. It did not specify hay but seemed to be inclusive of all roughage. So for a full grown goat at the high end of 75 lbs that would be 2.25- 3.75lbs of food per day which would include the grain if any.

Does that sound about right to anyone?

There is no short answer to this question as bucks, dry does, pregnant does, does in milk, adult wethers, kids, etc, all have different requirements. When you saw the 10%, that could have been referring to kids as they need more when growing. The only goats that need grain are those in milk, and they usually say 1 pound of grain per three pounds of milk produced, but not all grains are created equal. For example, corn is usually only about 6% protein, whereas soybeans and oats are higher. I don't mix my own feed because I just don't have time, and I worry about messing up something. We tried years ago, and it was disastrous. It is a lot harder to meet nutritional needs of goats than sheep, cattle, pigs, or poultry.

It is impossible to get at all scientific when you are going to be including garden and food scraps because the nutritional value will vary from day to day. We give scraps to pigs and poultry. I really don't think they should be given to goats because it is too easy to upset their rumen. If you want animals that will do splendidly on pasture, I highly recommend Shetland sheep and Irish dexter cattle. 

My husband is a very scientific person and wanted to weigh everything, and when he was doing that, going for 3-5% of Chaffhaye per day, I thought it was not enough for the goats, as they looked a little thin to me. I really have no idea how much hay each individual goat needs, but I know we need 600-700 bales per year for all of our animals, so I would suggest just looking at how much you use now and multiply it out.

Thank you so much for the information Deborah! When you say 600-700 bales, what size bales? The little 40-50lbs ones or larger? Also how many goats do you keep for that amount of feed? I have about 300 acres total and I'm fine with dedicating a big chunk to pasture and/or hay production its just hard to know how much i should put that way without some sort of numbers to go on. The land is heavily wooded so I don't want to go overkill but I don't want to under estimate what i need either.

That's for 40 goats and another 25 sheep, which is why I'm suggesting that you see what you are using now and multiply it out. Our small bales usually weigh 60+ pounds each. If you are not sure, it is always better to err on the side of too much hay. It will keep. But if you are stuck without enough hay in the middle of winter, you will pay dearly for it then! I have heard some farmers say they prefer to keep at least an 18-month  of even 2-year supply of hay in storage.

do you pasture in the summer to cut down on costs or is the 700 bales feeding them exclusively all year? I really do appreciate the help! I've got 2 little doelings right now with another 2 coming in August and have been bitten by the goat bug in a big way. I plan on keeping about 6 girls total and as well as a buck and a wether friend for him. We're fairly remote so its not practical to take the does to a male off site, takes a good 4 wheel drive and some patience to even get to us lol. Which is in part why I really would like to produce all of the food on site.

During the summer, the only goats that get hay are the milkers when we bring them into the barn at night. My husband also uses a scythe to cut tall weeds and grass to put into the hay feeders a lot. So, most of that hay is used from mid-October when the pastures start to die until April when the grass starts growing again.

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