Table of Contents
We all know by now that goes do not require much effort and maintenance when it comes to diet, food or nutrition. They can eat a variety of food as long as it is clean as they are widely known as hygienic animals. The major concern we have to face as time goes by when raising goats would be what do goats eat in the winter? The thought that’ll put you to worrying about what they would eat is because of the heavy snow that covers the green lands and the cold temperature outside.
During winter, farm goats compared to wild goats will be more likely to stay comfortable inside the barn. They are also not as tough as wild goat that could look for food given the harsh weather condition. As farmers and livestock owners, there are some things we can do to maintain the diet and nutrition of our animals. The task also falls under our responsibility. We do not want our goats growing weak, skinny and malnourished throughout the winter. It can put their health in grave danger as the number one factor of their growth and lifespan is their food source.
What Do Goats Eat In The Winter?
Unlike another weather season, during winter, it is imperative that you should start to prepare and store the goat’s number one food source which is hay. At these times, they do not have the luxury of stepping out of the barn and look for food in the grasslands. We should make sure to at least store enough food that could last until the final days of winter and/or until new fresh hay are accessible outside.
Here is a short video of what to feed your goats during the winter:
Goats provided the privileges, still relies on quality hay and clean water during the winter. Adding to that, it is greatly advised for farming animals, especially meat breeds, to provide protein supplements or protein-enhanced goat feeds as winter will really put their weight into test and some goats will really lose some pounds or two. You do not want your meat breeds to go slim, thin and with less meat as winter passes by.
Quality hay is highly required. You can either hay your green lands or field or find other sources of hay during the cold weather. Provided that you need to buy or look for other sources of hay, at this point, you can estimate how much your herd of goat consumes during a few months period. In addition, it is for you to know that goats eat a lot more during the cold weather or winter as they do not have free access to pastures. It is most likely the same with other farm animals. The large amounts they consume are also used by their body to keep them warm all throughout the day.
Upon storing hay, it is important for you to know that you should never stack them up. Damp hays will later on compost and can be a great fire hazard. Additionally, stored hays should be kept in a dry and clean space. Goats are hygienic food eaters and wouldn’t eat dirty, beaten up, stepped on food. The storage space for your hay should have good ventilation. It helps and keeps the hay dry and fresh. You should also never put the hay on the floor barn as the ground can draw out the moist which could cause your hays to produce molds.
- The temperature of the winter in each place or location is different from each other. You should always check the temperatures if it is below or close to a freezing point so you can look out for freezing water. Also, goats are less likely to drink very cold water as it can lower their body temperature to a great factor. A good way to prevent your goat’s water supply from freezing is to put water heaters.
- If heaters and other things are not accessible to your farm or barn, they providing them with normal temperature water at least twice a day is required.
- If the temperature during the winter is cold, make sure to secure your barn where goats can barely leave the area. The outdoor temperature can get colder and it would be dangerous for your goats. They can also have a hard time finding the right path going back if they went out as the roads are covered with snow and ice.
- Check the barn house for any area where your goat can slip through. Adding to that, closing the gaps between areas could help the animals to get more insulation by blocking cold winds from getting in. You can check out the wind’s direction and install extra plywood or two to thicken the walls where the wind hits.
Breed of Goat
- You always need to understand the breed of your goat. One good example that a breed relates to winter is the Angora goat. They are fiber breed goats that grow a lot of wool that acts as insulation during the cold weather. They can maintain their body temperature to normal more than any breed of goats. If you are breeding Angora goats, then constructing so much insulation throughout the barn is irrelevant or less required due to their body covers. Furthermore, after winter ends, you should provide a lot of ventilation and remove and added walls or plywood during the winter to avoid overheating the barn. It is the same thing when it comes to the well-known crossbreed, the small fiber goat breed, Pygora goat.
It is required for all people who breed farm animals to at least know about the ways of how to take care of goat, especially during the winter. Each of these farm animals has strength and weakness we should consider and keeping them safe, nurtured and well-fed is part of our responsibilities may we care for them as livestock owners or farmers or as pet owners.