January 8, 2023 by Debra L.

Feeding program

Feeding dairy goats can be complicated. Since we have been on milk test, we have tried to tweak our feed program, so that our does perform well. Then our focus changed. We want others to be able to replicate our feeding system when they purchase animals from us, so we decided to simplify our feeding program with feed/supplements that can be purchased within our area. Our program might not work for everyone, but it seems to work for our goats. There are many different feeding strategies-please consult your veterinarian on the best feeding program for your goats.

Water: Having clean, fresh water available to your goats is extremely important. We refill buckets several times per day. During the winter, we bring out buckets of warm water and in summer, ensure that cool water is available. On hot days, we also will add another bucket of water with Goat Bluelite, or as we like to call it- goatie Gatorade.

Hay: Our goats eat a base ration of local brome hay. All our goats have access to unlimited amounts of brome hay 24/7. We have had to source from several different local farms from the Matanuska Valley to Delta Junction. In addition to the brome, our does receive compressed alfalfa hay and/or alfalfa pellets. We feed alfalfa to all our does. During winter when the herd has decreased milk production, or we have does drying off, we feed less alfalfa. For those that will be doing extended lactation, we also feed alfalfa pellets on the stand, so we can meet the doe’s individual needs.

Grain: All our goats from kids to bucks, and milking does receive Purina Goat Chow. This is an all ages and stages feed and can be found at 2 local stores in Palmer and Wasilla. 

  • Goat kids first get exposed to grain when they are with their dams and then get fed a small ration at a few weeks of age. The goat kids get no more than ¼ cup once or twice per day depending on age. 
  • Dry yearlings are fed a small amount (¼ cup or less) of Purina Goat Chow on the milk stand along with brome hay pellets to acclimate them to the stand.
  • Does in milk receive a base ration of Purina Goat Chow- approximately ½ lb at each feeding (twice daily). Depending on the body condition of doe, stage of lactation, etc. we adjust that amount up or down.
  • Bucks receive a small amount of grain year-round, but we increase to ½ cup twice daily when the bucks are in rut to keep up their body condition (approximately August-January). 

Other supplements- Depending on the goat, we like to give them extra “treats” on the stand. Some of the goats are pickier than others, but we offer small amounts (1T- ½ cup) of the following: shredded beet pulp (dry), black oil sunflower seeds (BOSS), whole oats or barley (depending on availability) and 1 T of calf manna. Each goat has their own likes/dislikes depending on the season, so this changes for each doe.