Feeding goats isn’t just about letting them forage on your property, they need a well-balanced diet that consists of roughage, grains, protein, vitamins, minerals, and clean water.
What to feed Myotonic goats is based on their meat production. They need a seasonal feeding program, letting them forage as much as possible in the warmer months, supplementing with high-quality hay and grains. In the winter months, you will need a balance of hay, grains, and protein.
When raising goats for their meat production, you want to keep a few things in mind. They are high-producing animals that need plenty of energy and protein.
Myotonic goats are the famed “fainting goat” breed. They have a genetic condition that causes their muscles to freeze up, making them fall over when they are scared or startled.
While it is quite funny to watch (to some) it also surprisingly enough improves the quality of their meat.
The condition causes them to have a larger masses of meat, and meat-to-bone ratio than other goat breeds.
Glossary of Goat 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.|
|Meat Goat – Meat goats, such as pygmy goats, produce meat.|
What Is the Purpose of Your Goats?
If you are raising your goats for meat production, then you will have a slightly different diet than if you are raising them as pets.
Myotonic goats make great pets, and while the diet is almost the same, pet goats can feed on a little less of the concentrated feed and high-quality hay and be fed some of the lower quality hay.
It’s also perfectly fine to feed them the good stuff, with Myotonic goats they have more muscle mass and need the protein.
However, if you are raising them primarily as meat goats, or dairy goats (they are all-purpose goats of sorts) then you will want a high-protein energy-based diet.
What Kind of Forage Can You Provide?
The land you keep your Myotonic goats on needs to have an adequate amount of forage and roughage to feed your goats.
A rule of thumb is that you generally want to have 1 acre per 5-8 goats, for Myotonic goats.
The quality of grass and the amount of browsing materials (shrubs and trees) matters when feeding an animal that needs a lot of protein.
If you do not have a lot of roughage, then you will spend more on the hay and grains that you will have to purchase.
The feeding program of a meat goat consists of them eating as much roughage as they want while supplementing with concentrated feeds and hay.
They forage for food most of the year until the winter months when you must provide the hay and grains for them.
If you have a lot of land with high-quality grass, you can cut it into hay bales and keep it for the winter.
What to Feed Myotonic Goats
Now that you know how much land is needed and what quality of roughage your land has, let’s talk about what other types of feed you will use.
Myotonic goats need a lot of protein. Most plants that they browse on like shrubs and the lower parts of trees are high in protein. It’s best to let them feed on roughage as much as they want, they know when to stop.
You will also need some grains, and high-quality hay, like alfalfa.
Here is a list of goat feeds:
- Hay (alfalfa, lower-quality grasses)
- Grains (rolled oats, corn)
- Concentrated feed (pellets with grains or alfalfa)
Besides their daily roughage, you will also need to feed Myotonic goats a mixture of high-quality hay like alfalfa and an assorted amount of grains.
You can also use concentrated feeds, which are pellets made up of mixtures of alfalfa and grains. You can feed them lower-quality hay, but we recommend feeding them alfalfa even if they are pets.
Aside from their foraging, you should feed your goats grains and hay 1-2 times per day, to keep up the energy they need.
Another thing people feed their goats are treats, who doesn’t like treats!
Treats that you can feed goats are certain vegetables from the garden, pumpkin and sometimes food scraps. You do this at your own risk, and should only do it as a special treat. It is best to consult a veterinarian about which kinds are safe.
Goats also need a fresh supply of water. Make sure to clean their water troughs regularly.
What Supplements Are Needed?
There are a few supplements that can be used if your goats need a little something extra.
List of supplements:
- Concentrated grains
- Extra Protein
For high-producing animals such as meat goats, you will sometimes want to add concentrated grains for added energy. However, if your goats look as if they are getting too fat you will want to reduce the number of grains.
Salt is a mineral that goats need that often goes overlooked. Adding a salt block can help them get what they need but limit the amount you supply because they will take more than they need.
Sometimes more protein is needed in their diet, most roughage and browsing plants have a lot of protein, but in months where there is a lot of rain, grasses with more moisture have less protein.
Sick goats also may need more protein in which case you can supplement with soybean meal or cottonseed meal.
What Equipment Is Needed for Feeding?
Some basic equipment is needed for feeding goats. Some people even build elaborate stalls for them to feed individually so that each goat gets exactly what they need, however, this isn’t a requirement.
You will need some basic tools:
- Pitchfork and Wheelbarrow
- Feeding Containers
- Water Troughs
When moving around hay and feed you will need a good pitchfork and wheelbarrow. You may also need to stage areas with hay for goats who are pregnant or sick to lay in.
A pair of gloves is also a good idea. A little bit of labor goes into raising goats but not as much as some livestock. It’s mostly a labor of love.
You will want to use feeding containers such as buckets or wooden bins. This way they will get just the right amount of feed, wasting less.
They need to be watered every day, so you will need water troughs. Make sure to keep them clean and give them fresh water every single day.
What to Feed Goat Kids and Bucks
Myotonic goat kids drink their mother’s milk for the first 30 days. After a few weeks, you will want to start to creep feed them (feed them small amounts of hay along with their milk.)
After the 30 days, they will be separated from the mothers and fed only high-quality hay for the first 1-2 years.
Bucks can feed on the same feed as the does. You may save a little money by feeding them cheaper hay but in the long run, they will be healthier with the better feed. Myotonic goats have a lot of muscle and need the extra protein.
What Not to Feed Goats
Contrary to popular belief, goats cannot eat anything. When it comes to eating, they are actually very picky. There are some things you will want to avoid feeding them. Make sure these plants do not grow in their pasture.
- Any nightshade vegetable
- Holly trees or bushes
- Lily of the valley
- Rhubarb leaves
All of these can be poisonous to goats. Avoid feeding them anything from this list and if there are any on the property where your goats will be kept make sure you remove them.
Housing for Goats
It is better to get goats used to feeding in a shelter or building. Whether it’s a barn or just a lean-to type structure. Goats hate being wet, and you do not want them eating wet food when it rains or snows.
Structures also help for keeping sick goats and pregnant does dry and warm. In places that have harsh winters, you will need electricity for heated water troughs to keep their water from freezing.
Can Myotonic goats be milked? Myotonic goats are not usually milked because they do not produce a lot of milk. For this reason, they are not considered dairy goats, however, they do still produce some milk that can be used for making cheese and feeding their young.
Do Myotonic goats really faint? They don’t actually faint. When they get startled their muscles lock up and cause them to fall over. It’s caused by a genetic disease called myotonia congenita. They are also known as wooden-leg goats, stiff-leg goats, and scare goats.