Feeding and Managing Your Show Goat

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

In feeding goats you have a choice of feeding a specifically prepared ration (Champion Goat Pellet), mixing your own, or feeding a ration that has been mixed by the local feed store. Since goats are picky eaters a pelleted ration may be preferred over a textured or loose ration. The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a "magic" ration. Find a balanced ration, learn how to feed it, and learn how your goats respond to it.

When goats are purchased it is essential that they be treated for internal parasites and overeating disease. Many goats will not know how to eat the feed you have purchased. These goats should be started on good, leafy alfalfa hay that is top dressed with the purchased feed. After 3 or 4 days you can slowly change these goats to the ration that you have chosen to feed in your program by decreasing the hay. Hay can be fed during the first part of the feeding program, but should be eliminated at the later stages to prevent goats from getting a large stomach.

Most club goats can be self fed for the entire feeding period. However, some goats will become fat and need to be hand fed. Fat deposition must be closely monitored throughout the feeding program. The feeding schedule can be adjusted to modify gain and body composition, but the feeder must continually watch the goats and check their progress so changes can be made. Rations which are not producing enough finish, or goats that are not putting on enough finish, can be bolstered by the addition of high energy feed, such as corn, during the late stages of the feeding program. Remember, never make abrupt changes in your feeding program. Gradual changes are more desirable so that your goat will stay on feed and continue to develop.

The feeding program for your club goats will dictate how they develop and mature. A feeding program cannot make up for a lack of superior genetics, but will allow your goats to reach their genetic potential. Feeding is a daily responsibility and one which can be continually changed to maximize your results. To best monitor your results, goats should be weighed on a regular basis. Know whether your goats are gaining or losing and how much.

Exercising your goats can be very beneficial to your success in the show ring. Goats are very active animals; and, if given enough room, will exercise themselves. Having objects in your pen for your goats to jump and play on (i.e. big rocks, wooden spools, etc.) will provide your goat with an excellent opportunity to exercise themselves. Goats that have been exercised will handle harder and firmer, which will give you an advantage in the show ring since most judges do not want the exhibitors to brace their goats.