Goat Creep Feeding

Goats March 16, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Creep feeding

Creep feeding is a method of providing feed for the kids only. It is accomplished by fencing around a feeder and using a creep gate that has holes about 5 inches wide by 1 foot high. These holes are small enough so that kids can enter the feeder, but adults are excluded because they are too big to go through. Creep feeding will provide extra growth for the kids and train them to eat feed, facilitating weaning. A commercial creep feed with at least 16 percent crude protein that is medicated with a coccidiostat should be used. About 6 pounds of feed are needed to produce 1 pound of animal gain. The more rapid growth from creep feeding may be beneficial for producing show prospects.

An alternative to grain-based creep feeds that is used in the beef cattle industry is to creep graze calves, using a creep gate that allows calves access to ungrazed, high quality pasture. This method may have application for goats, using high quality pastures (crabgrass or sudangrass that is planted for the kids). In rotational grazing of cattle, the calves are often allowed to creep graze the next pasture before cows so that they have relatively high nutrient intake. Those pastures often have fewer parasites and disease organisms because of the time since last grazing.

Reference: Hart, S. 2008. Meat Goat Nutrition. Pages 58-83 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.