Feeding goats in the winter is something every new goat owner needs to know- especially if you live in a region that gets cold during the winter months. With less sunshine, and colder temps pasture grass can be hard to find and hay prices tend to go up. So what exactly do you feed goats during the winter to keep them happy and healthy? We’re going to dive into everything that you need to know about feeding goats in the winter.
What To Feed Goats In The Winter
Goats have specific needs that need to be met, especially in the winter when free foraging choices are more limited then they are during the other seasons. It’s important that these needs are met during the winter when they will be eating more to help maintain their body temperature when the weather turns cold.
Feeding Goats In The Winter: Can Goats Live On Grass Alone?
In the winter months grass and forage are harder to find which means that your goats diet will need to be supplemented with hay. Goats consume more food in the winter to help maintain their body temperature on cold days and nights. When it comes to feeding goats in the winter it’s important to remember that roughage like fodder, hay, grass, and silage helps them create body heat.
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Feeding Goats In The Winter: Do Goats Need Grain In The Winter?
When it comes to feeding goats in the winter a big question that always pops up is “do my goats need grain in the winter?” Goats need roughage like fodder, hay, grass, and silage to produce body heat, while you can feed your goats grain in the winter, do not rely on this. If you live in a very cold climate your goats can freeze to death due to the lack of roughage breakdown in the rumen.
How Much Grain To Feed Goats In The Winter
Grain isn’t really necessary unless you goats are late into their pregnancy (last 6 weeks), or in milk supplementing their diet with grain is not necessary. If you do choose to feed goats grain in the winter keep the amount very small.
Guide To Feeding Goats In The Winter
When feeding goats in the winter each goat needs about two to four pounds of hay per day, this is about 3-4% of body weight in pounds. You can feed them free choice or twice a day. If good range isn’t available, you can feed goats in the winter dry grass forage of a horse quality. They will also need to access to free choice minerals.
If you live in a region prone to snow, rain or other winter weather you may want to feed goats in the winter under a shelter or covered feeder. This will keep your hay dry and out of the elements. We choose to give our goats free access to hay throughout the day and night to ensure they can keep themselves warm.
How To Keep Your Goat Water Thawed In Winter
Keeping your goat’s water thawed is just as important as feeding goats in the winter. Goats don’t care for cold icy water especially when it’s cold out. How to keep that water thawed can be tricky on icy winter days. Some ideas to keep their water thawed in the winter:
- Rubber buckets or bowls – using rubber containers with a wide surface will take longer to freeze then a metal container or something with a more narrow opening.
- Changing out regularly – refilling the water container with warm water regularly will help to keep them from freezing as quickly.
- Submersible bucket heater – this will keep your goat’s water warm enough that it doesn’t freeze. They can be used in buckets or troughs. It can be used safely in metal, plastic, or rubber buckets