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Goat Feeding Overview

Goat Feeding Overview

Goats have fastidous eating and browsing habits and generally accept a wide variety of feed, appreciate it and thrive on it (Banerjee, 1991).Goats are able to graze grass due to their mobile upper lips and very prehensile tongues. To produce more milk and high quality meat, the goats should be provided with leguminous fodders and concentrate mixture in their diet. A balanced ration with a minimum level of 6% total protein with adequate energy, minerals such as calcium, phosphorus etc. and vitamins needs to be provided to ensure the optimum production from the animals.

  1. Immediately after birth the kids must receive colostrums and thereafter for upto 2 months must be fed milk @ 1/10 of their body weight.
  2. The kids from 2 to 4 months of age should get creep feed @ 450g daily along with green grass, water etc.
  3. Four months to freshening and dry pregnant goats should be given conc. Mixture @ 450g with 14 to 16% crude protein and green grass ad labium.
  4. The milking doe should be provided conc. Mixture @ 350g for each liter of milk production.
  5. For the breeding season, the buck should be given conc. mixture @ 400g daily with green pasture.
  6. Water should be provided @ 450 to 680 g per-day or ad labium.

General Information on Goats and Sheep

Small ruminants, goat and sheep make a significant contribution to the rural income and employment, especially in arid, semi-arid and hilly regions of India where crop farming is difficult and where naturally available feed resources are scarce. They are the major meat producers. Goats have shown faster population growth than sheep. The annual growth rate rates of 3.5% for goats and 2.0%for sheep are higher than for buffaloes and cattle.

India has 20 breeds of goats (Osmanabadi, Malabari, Beetal, Barbari, Jamunapari, Black Bangal, Angora, Chegu, etc.)and 40 breeds of sheep (Deccani, Nellore, Manday, Madrass red, Muzaffarnagari, Marwari, Gaddi, etc.). In Black Bangal breed twinning and triplets are common. Chegu is a famous Pashmina goat in Kashmir. Exoitc breeds are Saanen, Alpine, Anglo-Nubian, etc. Exotic breeds of sheep used for crossbreeding of local sheep to improve mutton production potential were Dorset and Suffolk, and for wool production were Merino, etc. FAO estimates 1994 indicate 4 and 20% of the sheep and goat population of the world, respectively.

Comparative feeding behaviour and digestive physiology in goats and sheep are presented in Table. With moderate to high quality forages, digestion in goats, sheep and cattle is similar, but goates are more capabilthan sheep for using cell-wall rich and nitrogen poor forages. Goates retain the feed foe longer time in the digestive tract, have a higher concentration blood urea. In harsh condition, goats consume less water and more day matter than sheep.







Bipedal Stance and walk longer distance

Walk shorter distamces


Feeding pattern

Browser more selective

Grazer, less selective


Browser and tree leaves


Less Relished


Variety in feeds

Preference greater

Preference lesser


Taste sensation

More discerning

Less discerning


Salivary secretion rate




Recycling of urea in saliva




DMI for meat
DMI for lactation

3% of BW
3% of BW

3% of BW
3% of BW


Digestive efficiency with coarse roughages


Less efficient


Retention time




Water intake/ Unit DMI




Rumen ammonia concentration




Water economy
Water turnover rate

More efficient

Less efficient


Nature of faces
Nature of urine

Less water
More concentrated

Relativity higher
Less concentrated

Goats are mond the most efficient domestic animals in the use of water, approaching the camel in the low rate of water trunover per unit of body weight. Goats appear to be less subject to high temperature stress than other species of domestic livestock and require less water evaporation to control body temperature. they also have the ability to conserve water by reducing losses in urine and feaces. Goats may get more water through forage because of their habit of browsing. Thus goats are less dependent on free water sources than other domestic animals.