Toggenburg Goats Feeding Requirements

Do you plan on keeping Toggenburg, the popular Swish dairy goat for commercial milk production? If yes, then you need to understand their feeding requirements for enhanced productivity. In this article, we focus on what to feed Toggenburg goats and their feeding requirements.

The components of feeds for your Toggenburg goats should include:

  1. Hay 50%
  2. Pasture (a diverse range of plants- 25%
  3. Grain Feeds- 20%
  4. Goat treat feeds-5%

Note: When pasture is not available like during winter, the above ratios will change accordingly.

The health and productivity of your Toggenburg goats are determined by your feeding program. Your goats will need both grain and green feeds. Like most dairy goats, they’ll generally consume 3-5% of their body weight each day in the form of dry matter.

The different pasture you can feed your Toggenburg goats on include:

  • Variety of leaves or shrub plants
  • Lush green grass such as alfalfa
  • Different types of grasses
  • Scrubby woods
  • Grass Hay-source of fiber and nutrition
  • Alfalfa

A pasture with a diverse range of plants will be good for your Toggenburg goats and their productivity.

You need to feed your adult Toggenburg goat about 2 to 4 pounds of hay per day. Your milker can consume as high as 7 pounds each day. It’s important that you also feed your goats not less than 7-8% crude protein

Your goats will also require an unrestricted supply of water. The recommended ration for dry goat food versus water is 1:4.

Providing your goats with a block of salt to lick on will encourage them to drink more water

What to feed toggenburg goats

The main food categories that your Toggenburg goats should have consist of:

What to feed your goats and recommended quantities will be determined by your goat’s age and condition.  Lactating does need more energy food and water for milk production.

This should be in the form of concentrate and hay. Concentrates are grain feeds that are rich in fiber, proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

Minerals are essential for your goats’ health and production. Common goat minerals to consider are phosphorus, sodium, and calcium.  Correct rations can be added to the concentrates.

Ensure you provide your goats with roughages as well. These are feeds that are high in fibers but have low digestible energy.

Toggenburg goats, like most goat breeds, are browsers and grazers. It’s recommended that you provide them with pasture where they can roam and feed. 

Feeds That Your Toggenburg Goats Will Love!

Flirty Flirting GIF by Justin - Find & Share on GIPHY

Some of the plants your goats will love to feed on include:

  • Sweet potato vines
  • Fodder trees
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Maize
  • Fresh Napier
  • High-quality Alfalfa Hay (source of both protein and fiber)
  • Whole Oats
  • Free Choice Alfalfa pellets ( good source of calcium )
what to feed toggenburg goats

As with other dairy goats, the quantity of food your goats require is determined by:

  1. Their weight. As your goats gain more weight, their daily food rations increases
  2. The stage or state of development (kid, mature, pregnant, lactating, etc)

How Should You Feed Your Toggenburg Goats?

Unfortunately, there is no single good way of feeding your goats. Your location and available feeds will determine your feeding options.

What’s important is that you provide your goats with an appropriate diet at different stages of their development of production

To ensure that your goats get a well-balanced diet, you should consider feeding them on the following:

1.Carbohydrates-Energy Food:

You can fulfill this requirement by providing your Toggenburg goats with fresh pastures and young plants with digestible fiber.

Sources of energy food include alfalfa, wheat, barley, Rhodes grass, Napier grass, molasses, and cereals grains such as corn.

2. Proteins

This is the most expensive of goat feeds. Proteins are for your goats’ growth, protein feeds are very necessary. Some of the protein sources for your goats include fodder plants, dairy meal, soybean cake, sunflower, desmodium, calliandra, alfalfa, cottonseed cake, and sweet potato leaves. Your goats can also get protein from cereal grains and forages.

You should provide your goats with at least 7% crude protein, and increase the amount during their growth, gestation, and lactation period

3. Minerals

Just like other goats, Toggenburg goats need correct and the right amounts of mineral supplements for the healthy functions of their bodies. They are necessary for your goats’ growth, reproduction, breeding, and muscle strength.

Important note: Do not buy mineral supplements meant for both goats and sheep. This is because it will not contain copper (copper is poisonous for sheep) but very vital for goats.

The mineral supplements for your goats should contain copper, iron, sodium, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine, and selenium.

Consider installing a mineral trough about one-foot square where your goats sleep.

4. Vitamins

Adequate vitamin supplements will enhance the health of your goats. Some of the important vitamins your Toggenburg goats will require are:

Vitamin A:

It improves resistance against diseases. Its deficiency can lead to conception problems, eye diseases, diarrhea, and cases of abortion.  To provide your goats with Vitamin A feed them on green forage, carrots, and mealies.

Vitamin D

It’s responsible for the absorption of phosphorus and calcium. Your goats need to be exposed to adequate sunshine for maximum attainment of vitamin D. Its deficiency may lead to your goats’ poor growth.

Vitamin E:

It enhances milk quality and boosts reproduction. If your goats are housed, consider providing them with fresh feeds or high-quality hay for the desired supply of vitamin E.

Vitamin E deficiency causes skeletal and heart muscles to degenerate. You definitely don’t want your goat to suffer from white muscle disease!

If your goats’ pasture is rich enough, it will provide the required Vitamin E for our goats.

Vitamin C & K

 It’s found in green feeds and hay. Vitamin C also called Ascorbic Acid (AA) is manufactured in your goat’s kidney or liver. It’s a strong antioxidant and known to control brain functions.

It helps your goat deal with heat stress and harsh weather conditions.  It’s manufactured in your goat’s rumen by bacteria, and responsible for blood clotting.

Important Note: Contact your vet to recommend correct quantities of vitamins and minerals for your Toggenburg goat.

5. Roughages

Feeding your goats on roughages is highly recommended as these are sources of dietary fiber. They enhance the intake of nutrients and help improve digestion.

6. Clean Fresh Water

To ensure your goats are always well well-watered and remain productive, provide them with an unrestricted supply of fresh clean water. T

 It’s important to note that Toggenburg goats, like other dairy goats, will be severely affected or depressed if not provided with adequate drinking water.

The Best Way to Feed Your Toggenburg Goats

  • Providing them with only clean and fresh or dry fodder;
  • Providing them with diverse feeds such as tree leaves, legumes, the fresh kitchen remains, grasses, etc;
  • Feeding your goats at least 3 times a day and at the same time
  • Ensuring they have a constant supply of clean drinking water;
  • Cleaning their feeding troughs or drinking buckets daily;
  • Avoiding wastage by feeding them on chopped feeds;
  • Hanging some feeds on a trough or rack to allow them overnight;
  • Ensuring their  feeding trough or drinking containers are always clean

What to Feed Different Toggenburg Goats

 1. Feeding Adult Toggenburg Goats

Adult mature goats can feed on suitable available feeds. The quantities offered should be adequate to ensure that they remain healthy with normal weights.

2. What to Feed Male Toggenburg Goats (Bucks)

Provide your Toggenburg bucks with adequate food to keep them healthy but not fat. They’ve to be active.

Bucks should be well fed 2 months before serving the does. This is good for their physical strength and also to ensure they have quality sperms.

If you’ve got many does during the breeding season, keep your buck separate and allow them 2-3 hours daily to eat and to serve does.

3. What to Feed Breeding and Lactating Toggenburg Goats

One month before breeding, ensure that your doe is well fed and watered. Since most Toggenburg does give birth to twins or triplets, they ought to be in perfect health before mating. Providing them with minerals to leak will help them to come into heat.

Before your Toggenburg does are served by a buck, feed them on concentrates. This can be increased two months before they deliver but should not be over 0.5 kg daily.

Continue providing your doe with concentrates during milking. Careful feeding is necessary to ensure that your milk girls maintain normal body weights.

4. What to Feed Pregnant Toggenburg Does

Feed your Toggenburg doe normal feeds during her first 3 months of pregnancy to maintain her good health.

However, during her last 2 months before she gives birth, consider providing her with very high quality feeds such as alfalfa hay. This is necessary for the growth of her unborn kids which may be twins or triplets 

5. Feeding Toggenburg Goats Kids

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After your doe delivers, it’s necessary that you let its kids suck colostrums within 24 hrs. This is good for its immunity and activates the production of vitamin A.

On the 3rd or 4th day, you can start feeding the kid daily on about 0.70 to 0.90 liters of milk or replacer.  The kids can be fed thrice or five times each day.

feeding goat kid
Feeding baby goat

After one week, start providing the kid with small quantities of fresh tree legumes, sweet potato vines or tree leaves. They will not be eating much but simply nibbling.

After 3 months, start feeding your goat kids a mixed fodder or any good starter such as grass or concentrates.

At this stage, you can discontinue feeding it on milk. Weaning the kids early will allow you to start enjoying the milk fully.   

Other Tips On What to Feed Your Goats

  • Be consistent. Don’t keep changing your goats’ diet.
  • There is no super-feed for goats. The feeds complement each other
  • Feed your goats to ensure they’re in good health but not to increase milk
  • Consider feeds that are available, suitable, sustainable, and within your budget.
  • Adjust your feeding to suit the needs of individual goats
  • Have a suitable feeding program that is easy to manage. Keep it simple!

Important Links

  1. How to Raise Toggenburg Goats
  2. Housing Requirements for Goats
  3. How To Start Goat Farming in the US
  4. Feeding & Management of Dairy Goats
  5. Breaking Down The Goat Diet

Meshack Sewe

Meshack, is a tech-savvy Creative Copywriter, Poet, a Blogger, and a proud owner of few locally bred cows and goats. He first trained in Agricultural Engineering & later in Business Information Technology (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology). He has served both as Program Officer and Program Manager with two NGOs focusing on Agricultural & Humanitarian Programs targeting local communities.

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