Choosing the best type of grass to feed baby goats can be tricky. There are so many options, but what is the best for your goat?
The first thing you should know about feeding your goat is that they will eat just about anything. That being said, certain types of grasses may be more nutritious than others.
One type of grass that seems to have a high nutritional value and is easy to find in most areas is clovers.
Clover has been shown to help with digestion and provide protein as well as other nutrients like calcium and iron. Other popular types of food include alfalfa hay, oats, barley straws, rye straws, or wheat straws.
However, not all grass varieties are ideal for young goats. Kids are sensitive to what they eat, and what they consume can affect their growth. One example is the red fescue, which is a common type of grass that can be found in hay and pasture.
While it may seem like an ideal choice to feed your goat, the effects of red fescue on goats under one year old can inhibit growth due to its high levels of endophytes.
It is always best to ensure that your baby goats grow eating the types of grass that will provide them with several benefits when they are older. Also, kids are usually fussy when it comes to what grass they eat. So, just because there is grass available, it is no guarantee that they will eat it.
So let’s now look at some kid-friendly grass varieties that your baby goats will love and the best way to provide them nutrition, no matter their age.
Some of the best grass for baby goats include:
- Bermuda grass
- Guinea grass
- Napier grass
If you are looking for this particular grass, you will only find it growing during the cooler seasons in the USA and the northern border of Canada. Its seeds are available online and identifiable due to their distinct sub-species.
Initially, fescue only grew in the grasslands, but recent improvements have created strains that you now grow on any lawn. The grass itself requires little maintenance, and planting is easy because it does not require scarification.
While most cool-season grasses typically require a lot of fertilizer, fescue does not. This is because it has long roots that can extract nutrients buried deep in the soil. The advantage of this is that you will not have to worry about over-fertilizing your lawn, which can pollute the water table.
Fescue makes an excellent choice for both young and old goats because it provides them with nutritional benefits while also helping to improve their digestive function.
This grows during the warm season. This type of grass grows fast and you can expect it to fully mature sometime after the first year.
It is commercially desirable but requires a lot of effort in maintenance. If you plan to plant Bermuda grass, your location will determine the time of the year when you should plant.
If you live in colder areas, then you should look forward to planting during spring. For those in warmer areas, you should plant between March and April. This grass is highly nutritious and contains calcium and other minerals that can help with goat growth.
Also, it will provide your kids with the fiber they need to digest their food properly.
The only downside is that Bermuda grass has a shallow root system which means goats may be able to eat it all within one day if they are very hungry.
There was a time when you could only find this grass in East Africa but this isn’t the case anymore.
Thanks to the demand for it and its usefulness when it comes to feeding farm animals, this grass is now cultivated in different countries. As long as the dry season in your region doesn’t exceed 5 months and you have rainfall exceeding 1000mm yearly, then it is ideal for growing guinea grass.
The grass will only reach a maximum height of 4m per blade. The best part about Guinea grass is that goats can eat it directly, or you can cut it and feed it to them, or even process it, mixing it with other things like hay and still feeding it to the goats.
Guinea grass contains a large amount of calcium which will go a long way in helping your goats develop strong bones and joints.
Napier grass is one of the most nutritious types of grass for any animal to eat. Its roots can grow deep down in the soil, making it ideal for regions that experience extended dry seasons.
Commonly known as Elephant grass, or Uganda grass as it was originally found in the African Nation, this grass is ideal for goats.
As of today, this is the most commonly used grass for feeding livestock in tropical countries. This is because the grass can grow all year long depending on certain weather conditions.
The good thing is that the weather in tropical countries is favorable making Uganda grass ideal. You are advised to continually lower the grass anytime it exceeds 5cm as this grass can grow quite long.
In an acre of land, you can expect to get between 20,000 and 40,000 kg of elephant grass under ideal conditions. Elephant grass is however mostly used because it is associated with higher quality milk production in livestock.
Bromegrass has mostly been desired thanks to its versatility and the fact that that it is compatible to be used along with modified legumes. Livestock tends to favor this grass over others where it is present as it seemingly is tastier than other grasses.
Farmers love it because it has a high protein content while simultaneously being low in fiber making it ideal for feeding livestock. Thanks to the long root system of this grass, it can be planted in sensitive areas, provided you can supplement any water shortages with irrigation.
You are advised to leave this particular grass without cutting it no matter how long it grows as it doesn’t heal well from being cut. Once it has been cut or grazed upon, the yield will continue to lower each year.
You can however solve this by planting a new batch in a different area. Bromegrass is ideal for feeding goats as it has a high nutritional value that will go a long way in helping them grow.
Once you have Bermuda grass growing, it should be very easy to harvest and feed your livestock. This is because once the stem of the plant is hard enough, you can just mow it and feed it as-is to your livestock.
The good news is that this grass doesn’t grow very high, only reaching a maximum height of approximately 30 inches. This means you can feed it to goats starting from when they are one month old onwards. Just make sure there is no dew or rain on the grass before feeding it to your goats.
This grass is more than just food for your livestock. As the Bermuda grass leaves get old and dry, you can use them as bedding material in the goat house. This makes it so much easier to clean up.
Alfalfa is hay and is mostly used to feed cattle and sheep thanks to its high protein and miracle content, and it can also be used to feed goats.
The protein content of Alfalfa is as much as 25 percent by mass which makes it ideal for growing livestock as they require more protein. It is however advised that you consult your vet or a nutritionist before placing your baby goats on the Alfalfa diet.
In the midwestern USA, Alfalfa is the meal of choice by farmers for their livestock to date. In some other regions particularly regions where livestock are reared for dairy purposes, Alfalfa being mixed with some other herbs is the common trend.
At some point, this was a common trend by meat farmers as well, but it has seemingly become an abandoned practice.
When it comes to planting Alfalfa, you need to ensure planting conditions are ideal as it will have a lifelong effect on the yield of the hay. Unlike many other grass types, Alfalfa is favored during the dryer periods. It is for this reason that farmers will plant it in the driest time of the season, and this only enhances the hay yield.
Each of the grasses mentioned is perfect for your baby goats. It is best to consider the purpose of your livestock before selecting which grass you want to feed them.
When it comes to feeding baby goats, any of the grasses mentioned will do just fine.
You will also need to consider the climate of your region as this can also affect your choice of grass and ultimately, livestock feeding.