Goat Nutrition and Performance
Meat Goat Nutrition 101
Cows, sheep, and goats are domesticated ruminants. Ruminants are an unique set of mammals who possess the ability to upcycle low quality forage into high quality meat, milk, and fiber. Their ability to efficiently digest forage is possible due to their four-chamber stomach. The largest of the four chambers is known as the rumen. Within the rumen are billions of bacteria, protazoa, and fungi that synergistically break down fiber and other nutrients enabling the ruminant to obtain both energy and protein from their food sources. Maintaining rumen health and productivity is essential for goat health and performance. For information regarding rumen health and the specific nutrient needs for goats at all stages of production see the nutrition fact sheets below.
If you are a visual learner check out the Goat Nutrition Boot Camp Video provided by the USDA and Oklahama State Extension team: Goat Boot Camp.
Rangeland and Irrigated Pasture Management
For informative videos on rangeland and pastureland management visit the UCANR Ranching in the Sierra Foothills Youtube channel.
Water Quantity and Quality
Water is a vital nutrient, yet it is often overlooked. On avenge, goats require 1 to 3 gallons of water per day, depending upon diet, intake, and weather. A lactating goat will require an additional 1 quart of water for every 1 pint of milk produced. If a goat is producing 5 pints of milk at peak lactation while raising twins, 2.5 gallons of water are required each day. Limitation of water intake reduces animal performance quicker and more dramatically than any other nutrient deficiency. Therefore, ensuring that cattle are receiving enough water is essential for maintaining the health and vitality for any goat operation.
When water quality is compromised animals could drink less water, thus negatively affecting their health and performance. Substances that can contaminate water supplies include, but are not limited to, nitrates, bacteria, organic materials, and suspended solids. These contaminations can cause the water to have an objectionable taste, odor, or color. To learn more about water quality and how to help ensure water quality on your operation see the water quality fact sheets below.
For California water quality testing see links below.