How to Feed and Tend Goats on the Small Farm

What to feed goats: grain feed, range, chaffhaye, kitchen scraps, hay

TreeHugger / Mary McLain

如果你是开始山羊群, you will know that goats require some knowledge to feed them right. Whether raising goats for meat, establishing adairy herd, or just practicing sustainable living on your homestead, goats need attention to their nutrition to thrive.

一个好的经验法则:不要一次对山羊的饮食进行彻底的改变。Don't feed them large amounts of new food. Either of these practices can lead to a major digestive upset for your goats. Change their diets slowly, giving the bacteria in their rumen (their first stomach, made for the initial step in the digestion of the plants they eat) time to adjust.


large goat pasture with variety of goats with Oregon mountains in background

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos

Goats are well-known for their ability to pasture on anything from lovely green grass to scrubby woods, where they can eat young trees and hardy shrubs.它们是浏览器与放牧者(例如,牛,绵羊和马是放牧物种)。因此,他们非常擅长清理粗糙,长满的土地。

Let go of the myth, if you've heard it, that goats make good "lawnmowers." They would prefer to browse if given a choice.



farmer with blonde ponytail scoops hay out of old wheelbarrow next to goat fence

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos

干草是山羊的主要养分来源,除了它们的范围。It's what they mostly eat in the winter when they don't have access to the range. Hay can be grass or a legume, likeclover或苜蓿。

Each goat needs about two to four pounds of hay per day, minus what they might forage on pasture. Hay can be fed freely, or strictly twice a day.

如果没有良好的范围,则可以接受马质的干草干草。山羊需要额外的干草,这是粗糙的,才能使瘤胃正常运行。为此,长纤维是必需的。瘤胃是第一个胃室,富含活细菌,开始消化纤维。健康的山羊has a large rumen that feels spongy.

苜蓿干草(Alfalfa Hay)在喂食山羊方面也很受欢迎,并且比草海斯(Grass Hays)具有更多的蛋白质,维生素和矿物质。通常,它也是喂养挤奶器的好选择,因为它也具有更多的钙。



环境保护狂/ Dan Amos


Grain Feed

goat farmer dumps green food pellets into blue plastic bucket for feeding

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos

谷物饲料或沉淀的谷物混合物可以在山羊的饮食中添加蛋白质,维生素和矿物质。大多数农民在必要时补充谷物饲料,就像谁是raising multiple kidsor in bad weather—but foraging and browsing is the foundation of good goat nutrition. Grain should not be overfed: it can make goats fat, cause illness and even death.

Some goat farmers like to have a livestock nutritionist formulate a goat pellet for use when supplements are needed. The local livestock nutritionist can tailor the feed to your area conditions, minimizing problems. You can also have your hay tested to add to the information that your livestock nutritionist will use for formulating this feed.


brown and tan goats eat mineral supplements from dusty farm bowl

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos



brown goat with horns eats loose pink apples on ground near wire fence

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos


Raisins and corn chips, just a few, or a slice of bread, make nice "treats" for goats but don't overdo them.

Feeding Equipment


环境保护狂/ Dan Amos

You will also need some equipment for feeding your goats. Nothing fancy, but storing hay in a manger will help goats access it and waste less. And food containers or buckets will also help reduce waste. Metal or plastic feed storage containers with tight-fitting lids will keep pests out of your feed.


  • Feed storage containers
  • Food buckets
  • 水桶
  • 干草经理
  • 矿物喂食器

water streams out of blue metal pipe on outdoor farm for goats

环境保护狂/ Dan Amos

Of course, your goats need access to fresh, clean water at all times. You may want to raise your water bucket off the ground onto a platform or in an old tire, so it's less likely to get kicked over or pooped in. In winter, you will need to use a water heater so that your goats' water isn't freezing cold and doesn't turn to ice.

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  2. Kimball, Cheryl.山羊现场指南Voyageur出版社。2009。

  3. Green, Lisle R., et al. “使用山羊控制燃油中断的刷子再生。透明美国农业部

  4. 卡纳斯,安东洛。“营养模型如何提高绵羊和山羊运营的生产效率?透明动画阵线, vol. 9, 2019, pp. 33-44., doi:10.1093/af/vfz005

  5. 霍姆斯特罗姆,安妮。“市场山羊成功指南。透明Oregon State University

  6. Childs,劳拉。保持山羊的乐趣Skyhorse。2011。

  7. Understanding the Ruminant Animal Digestive System。透明Michigan State University.

  8. 喂草vs苜蓿干草。透明Equine Medical Service.

  9. 韦弗,苏。Mini Goats。福克斯教堂出版。2016.