Goats require five major classes of feeds,

  • Energy
  • Protein
  • Vitamins
  • Water
  • Mineral salts

Goats consume a wide variety of grasses, weeds and small branches of bushes and trees. They can consume leaves, peelings and roots of vegetables, husks of corn, citrus and banana peeling and other waste plant residues. Goats are ruminant and therefore chew cud and are able to utilise roughage with high fibre content. They produce protein, vitamin B and K in the rumen.

Goats are fastidious feeders as a result they are the last animals to die from drought

Sources of Protein

Leucaena, Calliandra, Mulberry, Grevellia, Gliricidia, Sesbania, Tithonia, Lantana camara, Siratro, Sweet potato vine, Clitoria tarnatae, Lucerne, Desmodium,

Most of these herbaceous legumes have anti-nutritional factors (eg tannins and cyanides). It’s recommended that these should not exceed 25% of the total feed requirement per day. They should be wilted before feeding.

Agro industrial by products.

Groundnut cake, cotton seed cake, Sunflower cake.

Energy feeds

Rhodes grass, Napier grass, Panicum spp, Cenchrus spp, Sorghum, Bana grass.

Banana stems and leaves should be fed as a last resort to feed demand.

Crop residues;

Maize, millet, Rice, Wheat, Barley, oats Sorghum others include bean haulms, Sugar cane tops, Sunflower heads.

Agro industrial by-products.

Maize germ, maize bran.

Care of Pregnant Doe (She-goat)

  • Protein supplements are important during the dry period (non lactating period). This is because the kids are growing faster at this time.
  • If you have been feeding legumes which are high in calcium its best to replace these with high energy feeds (e.g. hay) at least three weeks before kidding to prevent milk fever. This forces the doe to mobilise its own body stores and prepare for milking.
  • Deworm the doe two weeks prior to kidding
    A goat requires 3% (of its body weight in dry matter approximately 1.5 kg) per day or 5 kg of fresh materials should be availed to the doe per day. The complete meal should comprise of both the protein and energy feed.
  • Provide the does with salt lick and at least either half a kilo of dairy meal per day or a mixture of pollard and bran
  • Provide adequate clean water all the time.

Care of lactating doe

At the end of the 5th month, check for the following signs of approaching birth;

  • Reduced feed intake
  • Rapid breathing
  • Doe will constantly look back unto her sides as if expecting to see young ones.
  • Enlarged udder that may or may not discharging colostrums.
  • Swollen vulva
  • And thick mucus discharge from the vulva.
  • The hair around the tail and the rear should be clipped and fresh beddings (straw or grass) provided.
  • The kid is born after short labour but incase of difficult kidding expert (Vet doctor) should be consulted.
Well attached udder of lactating Saanen doe

Well attached udder of lactating Saanen doe

Feeding lactating doe

  • Amount of concentrates fed should be in proportion to the amount of milk being produced.
  • A small quantity of concentrates should be fed to the dry doe in order to build up the body reserves and help in the development of her unborn kid.

The following table provides a guide to feeding concentrates to a lactating doe

Feeding of concentrate (dairy meal)

The dairy meal fed should be divided into 2 portions daily.

Care of the kids.

  • To prevent naval infection the stump of the umbilical cord should be cleaned and disinfected with iodine, strong salt solution or traditionalherbal remedy.
  • The new born kid should be placed in a warm area to protect it from strong winds (draft) and cold that may expose it to pneumonia.
  • Kids are allowed suckle the colostrums in the first three days after birth, the colostrums is very important to the health and growth of the kid. The colostrums contain antibodies that protect the new kid against diseases until they are able to protect themselves.
  • The kid should be allowed to suckle the mother enough milk so as to have the kid as future basis for breeding stock.
  • Fostering is advisable if the mother dies or incase of infection of the udder (mastitis).
  • Bottle feeding is also an alternative in the absence of the mother.
  • Introduce green chop and water after 1 week.
  • Kids can be withdrawn from the mother at night so that the doe can be milked in the morning.
  • Kids should be weaned at 4 months. Weaning before this time should be compensated with high protein supplements.
  • When bottle fed the kid should be fed as follows;