The FeedSafeNZ Guide to Feeding Goats

March 25, 2024

Goats are intelligent, curious animals and proper nutrition plays a vital role in their wellbeing. They are also notoriously picky eaters, so it’s important you get the right food which they love and which helps them thrive. In this guide, we delve into the essentials when it comes to feeding goats. We cover everything from dietary requirements to feeding schedules and the best practices for maintaining a healthy and thriving herd.

Understanding Nutrition for Goats

Goats are ruminant animals, which means they have a complex stomach structure with four different compartments. This allows them to easily break down fibrous plant materials efficiently. To aid with proper digestion, a goat’s diet mostly consists of roughage, such as hay and pasture, which provides the necessary fiber needed for this process.

Additionally, goats require essential nutrients like proteins, minerals, and vitamins to support growth, reproduction, and overall health and wellbeing.


Guidelines for Feeding Goats

Goats may be known for their browsing behaviour, but it’s still important to track their feeding behaviours to help manage intake and make sure they are getting the right nutrients.

  1. Use high-quality forage

The foundation of any goat’s diet is forage. Make sure to provide access to fresh and clean hay. Lucerne hay is an excellent choice, rich in protein and calcium as well, which helps promote healthy growth. 

  1. Balanced grain and concentrates

While forage is the staple, goats also benefit from grains and concentrates. A balanced commercial goat feed or a custom mix of grains, minerals, and vitamins can supplement their diet. Adjust the portions based on their life stage, activity level, and any specific health requirements.

  1. Age and life stage specific diets

It’s essential to make sure a goat’s diet is tailored to their age. Younger kids require higher protein levels for growth, while matured goats benefit more from diets with lower protein to manage energy levels and prevent obesity.

Goats can be prone to obesity, which causes various other health issues. Always make sure to monitor their body condition and adjust feed intake as appropriate.

Nursing does require increased nutritional demands so their diets must be boosted with protein, to help aid with milk production. 


By understanding your goat herd’s nutritional needs and providing a well-balanced, consistent diet you can ensure a healthy and happy goat herd. FeedSafeNZ accredited goat feed brands promise only the highest-quality feed, so make sure you look for the tick when you are next shopping for goat feed. 

Want to know more about FeedSafeNZ? Visit our About Us page to find out more about how we ensure high-quality feed for New Zealand farmers.

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