Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Feeding Urban Goats: Mixing and Growing Your Own Grains and Herbs for Optimal Nutrition

This post is more for my own records than anything else!  I am constantly tweaking what we are doing around here with feeds because I want to give all our animals the best of the best!  I like to hand-mix grains and herbs so I can have full control of the diet, ensure quality, and learn about what they need for a balanced diet.  So, ideally, our goats would have access to acres and acres of pasture and browse and would get to forage among varied species of plants, bushes, trees, herbs, etc.  Unfortunately, due to our space constraints (we are on half an acre and only a quarter acre is available for our farming endeavors), we cannot provide our goats with their ideal meal.  I have had to research the best way to keep them in top physical condition and producing the highest quality milk for us in an unconventional environment. That means in addition to hay they need to be supplemented with grains, herbs, and fresh greens/veg.  This is my current plan for the goats, with notations about which vitamins and minerals they will be getting from each ingredient:


We are switching to Chaffhaye or "pasture in a bag."  Chaffhaye is made from alfalfa that is harvested in its prime, sprayed with a kiss of molasses, vacuum sealed and fermented for optimal nutrients and digestion.  More information can be found here:  www.chaffhaye.com

We will continue to provide pesticide-free coastal grass hay to supplement this and as an activity for the goats.  The chaffhaye is fed by weight, whereas the bale of coastal is free choice and is more for their enjoyment since goats like to reach up and pull out the long-stemmed hay and munch on it.  They feel like they are browsing and the long stems are good for their digestion.


Whole Oats 
Rolled Barley
Field Peas
Black Oil Sunflower Seeds

Top Dressing for goat food: 

This is sprinkled on top of their chaffhaye and grains to provide them with extra vitamins, minerals, and variety in their diet as well as for different health benefits and increased milk production.

Carrot Powder - vit. A, calcium, C, iron, sodium

Sesame Seeds - B1, B2, B6, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, calcium, iron, sodium

Sunflower Seeds - B1, B5, B6, E, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, calcium, C, iron

Parsley - A, B2, B9, C, E, K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc

Basil - A, B6, B9, C, E, K, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc

Nutritional Yeast - B2, B3, B9, iron, sodium

Wheat Bran - B2, B3, B5, B6, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus

Flax Seeds - B9, magnesium, omega-3's, calcium, Iron, vitamin C, sodium

B12 - need cobalt to synthesize - green leafy veg OR mineral supp.

Organic Citrus Rinds - C

Rose Hips - C, *birth prep

Fennel - calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, iron, *birth prep *milk production

Red Raspberry Leaf - calcium, iron, magnesium, B vitamins, *birth prep

Thorvin kelp - iodine

Fenugreek - iron, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, *milk production

Nettles - A, C, iron, potassium, manganese, calcium, sodium, *milk production

Additional Supplements:

Molasses - B vitamins, etc.  (they get this from the chaffhaye now)

Vitamin E capsules for does about to kid or just after kidding - to help speed healing

Raw ACV (with mother) - probiotics, digestion, coat, overall health

Himalayan Sea Salt - free choice, trace minerals

Baking Soda - free choice, digestion

Things we are growing in the garden this year for our goats

(and bunnies, separate post on bunny diet later!):

Carrots/Carrot Tops
Sweet Potatoes
Dandelion Greens/Roots
Sage (not for preggos)
Red Raspberry Leaf
Grape Leaves

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