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- Goats by means of their mobile upper lips and very prehensile tongues, goats are able to graze on very short grass and browse on foliage not eaten by other livestock.
- Goats will refuse any kind of feed which has been soiled either by himself or by other animals.
- Goats consumes wide varieties of feeds and vegetation.
- Goats can distinguish between bitter, sweet, salty and sour tastes and they have higher tolerance for bitter tastes.
- The rumen is not developed at birth, but young kids start picking a hay or grass at 2-3 weeks of age and by 3-4 months the rumen is fully functional.
- Goats relish eating aromatic herbs in areas of sparse food supply.
- Browse (Browsing means eating of leaves of bush & trees) forms and important part of the diet of goats.
- Practical rationing of goats should be based on cheap foods such as browse pasture, agricultural and industrial waste.
- Goats are fond of leguminous fodders. They dislike fodders like sorghum and maize silage or straw. They reluctantly eat hay prepared from forest grasses if cut in early stages or relish hay prepared from leguminous crop.
- The nutrient conversion efficiency for milk production in goat ranges between 45 to 71 percent.
- Goat has also an outstanding mineral requirement. Usually mineral mixture is added to the concentrate @ 2 percent. Calcium & Phosphorus are the minerals needed in largest supply. It is recommended or to a feed a mixture of equal parts of iodized salt and dicalcium phosphate at free choice particularly, when non-legume hays are fed.
Kids must receive colostrums from the doe within one hour after birth and should continue for 3 days. Colostrum is rich in all essential nutrients, It provides antibodies and has laxative properties. In large herds weaning should be practiced just after the birth of the kids. After feeding colostrums for 2-3 days change to whole milk or milk replacer. Milk replacers are used to save goat milk for human consumption and also to get an faster gain in kids up to 4 months age. Number of feeding should be thrice daily for one week after birth followed by twice daily. Provided good legume hay (or fresh green grass) and calf starter along with fresh water at 3 to 4 weeks of age. Equal parts of cracked maize, crushed oats, wheat bran and 10% linseed meal may be fed as the concentrate mixture from 4 months to breeding. Kids may be fed roughages that will provide enough nutrients for normal growth. Always provide clean, fresh water and minerals to kids as they grow commercial mineral mixture may be used.
Goats are slaughtered mostly for lean meat. The ration should be planned to include 30-40% of the dry matter from roughage source and remaining amount from concentrate portion having 12 – 14 percent protein and 60-65% TDN. In general goats attaining slaughtering age by 10-12 months having variable body weights (20 to 30 kg) as specific for various breeds.
Feeding of Pregnant Goats
High quality roughages provide the basic nutrients needed during the last 6 to 8 weeks of gestation when 70 to 80 percent gain in foetal mass is made. Liberal feeding of quality leguminous fodder and concentrate having 25 percent should be offered between 400 to 500 gram depending upon the condition of doe. A free choice lick of mineral mixture will take care for the calcium and phosphorus requirement of doe and foetus. Allow good grazing if available and make sure that does get plenty of exercise. Several days before the does freshen (Kidding) reduce the quantity of concentrate mixture to one half and add bran to provide more bulk. After kidding, feed a bran mash for a few days. Gradually, bringing the doe to the full feed for milk production. Feeding of Lactating Goat Nutrient requirements are higher during lactation. The ration for lactating doe should contain high quality roughages. A feeding Guide for Goat
Green Lucerne and berseem are normally preferred for stall fed goats. Like Lucerne, berseem and other cereal grains through which it will receive not only fresh nutrients particularly of minerals, vitamins and proteins but also the bulk needed for volatile fatty acids viz. acetic, propionic and butyric needed for high milk production. To supplement more nutrients particularly of energy, cereal grains @ 350 grams for each litre of milk must be provided. The protein percent may vary from 14 to 16%, the feed may be fed in two lots, i.e. at the time of morning and evening milking. Add 1% trace mineralized salt and 1% calcium phosphorus mineral mixture to concentrate mixture. Molasses (5 to 7% of concentrate mixture) may be used to increase palatability and reduce dustiness of feed. Keep a clean, fresh supply of water available at all times. After two weeks gradually increase the concentrate level to that suggested by milk yield. During the non-breeding season, the buck does not require additional grain if he is on good pasture. During the breeding season, the same concentrate mixture fed to the does may be fed at the rate of 450-900 grams (Depending on the body weight) daily. Provide roughage free choice along with clean fresh water and minerals. Care must be taken not to allow the buck to get too fat. Reduce the intake of energy feeds as needed to prevent this. Make sure the buck gets plenty of exercise.
Match the followings: A B 1. Kids a) Exercise 2. Pregnant Goats b) 350 grams/ litre of milk 3. Breeding bucks c) 30 to 40% Dry matter. 4. Lactating Goats d) Mineral Mixture 5. Finisher Ration e) Colostrum
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