Goat Pastures and Forages

Goats October 26, 2015 Print Friendly and PDF

Objective of Goat Enterprise, Purpose of Pastures for Goats and Implications for Pasture Management

Feeding may be one of the  largest expense of any goat operation. Goats raised for meat need high quality feed in most situations and require an optimum balance of many different nutrients to achieve maximum profit potential. Because of their unique physiology, meat goats do not fatten like cattle or sheep, and rates of weight gain are smaller, ranging from 0.1 to 0.8 pounds per day. Therefore, profitable meat goat production can only be achieved by optimizing the use of high quality forage and browse and the strategic use of expensive concentrate feeds. This can be achieved by developing a year-round forage program allowing for as much grazing as possible throughout the year.

Many people still believe that goats eat and do well on low quality feed. Attempting to manage and feed goats in this way will not lead to successful meat goat production. Because of nimble lips, goats are selective feeders, capable of picking off the most nutritious plant parts. On pasture or rangeland, maximum goat gains or reproduction can be attained by combining access to large quantities of high quality forage that allow for selective feeding.

Considerations to Be Given to Goats for Pastures

Co-and Multi-Species Grazing

Multi-Species Grazing can Improve Utilization of Pastures

Poisonous Plants

Shelter, Fencing and Predator Control Needs on Pasture

Nutritional Considerations

Pastures and Pasture Management

Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.

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USDA / NIFA

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