Boer Goats Feeding Requirements


Meat goats such as Boer goats are raised primarily to maximize profits from their meat. For this reason, they must be fed high-quality feed while still maintaining minimal costs.

Knowing what to feed Boer goats is one of the most important parts of raising a meat goat. You must feed them a balance of hay and concentrated feed while keeping the costs as low as possible. For this reason, you must set up a year-round forage program while strategically using the more costly feed.

Boer goats are one of the best meat goats out there and are beneficial and profitable. They are one of the larger breeds of goat and produce a high-quality and quantity of meat.

They also eat a lot more than some other breeds because of their size. To make sure your goats remain healthy and get all the nutrients they need you should first take a few things into consideration by accounting for all your resources.

Goat Words and Terms

Doe – A female goat is called a doe.
Buck – A male goat is called a buck or billy goat.
Kids – Baby goats are known as kids.
Grazing – Goats graze on grasses from the land.
Browse – Goats will browse, eating bushes and shrubs.
Dairy Goat – Dairy goats, such as LaMancha goats, produce milk.
Boer Goats Feeding Requirements

What Resources Are Available?

The first thing you want to evaluate when knowing what to feed a Boer goat is how much land is available and what quality of browse and grass grows there.

How much land you need is dependent on the amount of browsing plants and hay that is available on your land.

If your land has less browsing material and grass than what is considered optimal then you will have to supplement by buying hay.

On land that has fewer resources to browse on, you can expect to raise 2-3 Boer goats per acre, whereas land that produces plenty of high-quality hay and browsing plants can sustain up to 8 goats per acre.

Although the forage you have available will account for a large part of the feed for Boer goats you will still need to use the concentrated feed in your feeding program.

alfalfa-fresh
Green alfalfa.

What to Feed Boer Goats

Feeding meat goats while keeping the costs low requires to you make a feeding program that uses the forage that your land produces as well as concentrated feed and minerals.

Boer goats need to have a nutrient-rich diet to produce the high-quality meat that is sold at markets.

Whether you are raising Boer goats to sell as meat goats or just to raise as your own pets or supply of meat, the diet must remain the same.

Here is a list of feeds used for Boer goats:

  • Forage from the land, grass, shrubs, and trees
  • Hay such as alfalfa, clover and lower grade grass
  • Concentrated feed, corn pellets, rolled oats

For your feeding program, you will want to make sure that they are eating forage for most of the year, adding some supplements, and small amounts of concentrated feed.

If you have enough land with high-grade grass-like alfalfa you will want to cut and bale hay for the winter and wet months.

If you do not have enough of that type of high-quality grass to bale you will want to consider buying bales and storing them in a barn or building where it can remain dry.

Forage that gets too wet in the rainy season has less nutrition and that is why some concentrated feed is needed to supplement in those months.

Since Boers are high-producing meat goats it takes a lot of nutritional plants to keep them in top condition and they may not get that from forage alone.

Health and Nutrition for Boer Goats

When raising high-producing livestock, health and nutrition is top priority. Goats can browse on forage for most of the year, which works well in keeping costs low.

Most browsing plants are high in protein, and goats, believe it or not, know which plants are better for them in different situations.

They can be extremely picky, and smart when it comes to their forage.

Shrubs and the lower part of trees that they browse on are very nutritious, while some grasses have less nutrition.

Figuring out how much to let them forage and how much supplemental feed is needed is an important part of your feeding program.

You do not want goats to get too fat, unlike cows, their digestion is a little different.

It helps to keep a goat book (a journal) to keep track of their weight and the amount of feed that you are feeding them.

If they start to get too fat, you can reduce the amount of grain-feed and concentrates.

oats-seeds-energy-feed

What is the Difference in Feeds?

Grass that is less quality than alfalfa and clover has less nutritional value and should be used less.

It is better to have them browse more often than graze. Browsing offers shrubs and the lower parts of trees that have more protein, vitamins, and minerals than grasses alone.

When they are not browsing or grazing (primarily in the winter and wet months) you want to feed them alfalfa and other grain-based feed and hay.

They are high-producing animals and need more nutrients than what is provided by just low-quality grass and browsing selection.

The concentrated feed provides nutrients that foraging alone does not. There are two kinds of concentrate: energy and protein. The feed that is energy-based provides more calories but less protein, at about 8-11% protein. Protein feeds have a high rate of protein (15% or higher) that high-producing animals such as meat goats need to stay healthy.

goat-feed-mix-oats-corn-sunflower-seeds
Feed mix.

How Much Do You Feed Boer Goats?

When grazing and browsing it is important to let them eat as much as they want, they will know when to stop.

When feeding them grain-based feed you need to have a balanced diet that uses energy feed and protein feed accordingly.

When a goat gets too fat, reduce the amount of protein feed and concentrates and let them eat more of the hay.

You should let them eat until they are full, but do not use too many concentrates or grain-based feeds.

Goats naturally separate the feed they are eating from when it is different kinds of grass and will eat what they need.

Pellets and concentrates have them all mixed together and take a more formulated approach.

If you are using lower quality hay, then you would feed them more concentrates.

When they have plenty of high-quality hay you use much less concentrates.

The grain-based feed is used at a higher rate for does for late-stage pregnancy so they will produce more milk for their kids.

Bucks can feed the same as the does.

Boer Goats Feeding Requirements

What Do You Feed Goat Kids?

Goat kids (baby goats) are fed their mothers milk for the first 30 days, however, after a couple of weeks, it is best practice to start feeding them some hay (creep feeding) to get them used to chewing and digesting.

After the 30 days, they should be separated from the mothers and fed only high-quality hay and feed for the first 1-2 years so they can get healthy enough to produce high-quality meat.

hay-storage

Equipment Needed for Feeding Boer Goats

A small amount of easily attainable equipment is needed to feed Boer goats.

Here a few things you’ll need.

  • Pitchford and Wheelbarrow
  • Feeding Containers
  • Water Troughs

You will need a pitchfork and wheelbarrow for moving around hay for feeding and for bedding.

You will also need dedicated feeders/containers that are off the ground, that help feed the same amounts, wasting less hay.

Always keep your hay and feed off the ground during storage so that unwanted moisture does not allow them to mold.

You need to have water troughs that you fill daily with fresh water.

watering-trough

Water and Minerals for Boer Goats

Goats always need to have clean fresh water. You should replace their water with new water every day and make sure the trough stays clean.

You can also help supplement minerals by having a salt block for them to lick when they need a little more.  

Boer feeding system.

Feed Storage for Goats

Their hay and feeds should be kept in a building, barn, or lean-to type structure out of the elements.

Always keep the hay bales and feeds off the ground, so they do not get unwanted moisture.

Make sure that the building is well ventilated, this will help with molds and odors.

Related Questions

Do Boer goats eat more than other goats? Boer goats are a larger breed, which is good if you are using them for their high-producing meat. For this reason, they eat a lot and need a routine and feeding schedule.

Can Boer goats just browse and graze? Meat goats need a higher protein diet since they are high-production animals that are used for their meat. You must formulate a balanced diet of forage as well as grain-based feed.

Chad Kilpatrick

Chad Kilpatrick is a writer that is passionate about farming and livestock. He has experience in raising goats as well as cows, pigs, and chickens.

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