How To Get Goats To Eat Hay

Feeding your goats with hay is one of the essential parts of their diet. Hay is a good source of fiber and nutrients that help keep them healthy and happy. However, some goats can be fussy eaters and refuse to eat hay.

This can lead to health problems, such as digestive issues and weight loss.

Fortunately, there are several techniques that you can use to encourage your goats to eat hay.

With that said, let’s now look at some of the best ways to get your goats to eat hay.

Provide fresh, high-quality hay

The first step in getting your goats to eat hay is to ensure that you provide them with fresh, high-quality hay. Hay that is moldy or dusty may turn off your goats.

When choosing hay, look for hay that is green and smells fresh. Also, ensure the hay is free of mold, dust, and other contaminants.

Offer a hay feeder

Offering a hay feeder is another great way to encourage your goats to eat hay. A hay feeder protects the hay from manure and urine, keeping it clean and fresh.

Also, it encourages your goats to eat hay because they can access it more easily and more often. There are different types of hay feeders available in the market, but most of them are simple to use.

Mix in alfalfa or other hay varieties

If your goats are still not eating hay, you can mix in alfalfa or other hay varieties to entice them.

Alfalfa is a legume hay that is more nutritious and tastier than grass hay.

Combining it with grass hay can boost the nutrient content and add flavor variety. Start with a small amount of alfalfa hay and gradually increase it over time.

Add salt or molasses

Another way to get your goats to eat hay is to sprinkle a small amount of salt or molasses on the hay.

Both salt and molasses are tasty to goats, and they can help stimulate their appetite. Make sure that you don’t add too much salt or molasses, as too much of it can cause health problems.

Offer a wide variety of food options

Goats are curious creatures that love new experiences and tastes. Offering a wide variety of feed options can make them more interested in trying different types of hay.

You can offer fresh veggies, fruits, herbs, and other treats to your goats. This helps them feel good about trying different feed options and increases their desire to eat hay.

How do you increase a goat’s appetite?

One of the most common problems goat raisers can face is having a goat that does not eat as it should. It can be stressful to see your goat’s appetite decrease. Your goat’s appetite will depend on several factors, some of which are listed below.

  1. A Balanced Diet is Key

One of the most important things to keep your goat’s appetite healthy is to feed it a balanced diet. Your goat’s diet should include forages like hay and pasture and concentrate feed.

A balanced diet will help your goat maintain health and wellness. This will boost their appetite and encourage them to eat more. You should also offer a mineral salt block in the goat’s pen as they require minerals in their daily diet.

  1. Increase Palatability

Another way of increasing your goat’s appetite is by making their food more palatable. You can add molasses, apple cider vinegar, or honey to their diet. This will make their food more appealing to them and will encourage them to eat more.

If you notice your goat dislikes a particular food, try introducing it back into their diet slowly and over time rather than cutting it out.

  1. Keep Water Available

It is crucial to keep your goat hydrated. A dehydrated goat will not want to eat, and this can reduce its appetite drastically. Ensure that there is always fresh water available.

Ensure they can always access clean water, particularly if they are kept indoors because they do not graze as often as when at pasture.

  1. Offer Fresh Feed

Goats are quite picky eaters. They usually won’t eat feed that has gone rancid or stale. Goats prefer fresh food, so ensure to offer fresh feed. Particularly for goat feed, the right feed can go rancid.

Therefore, you should store feed in a dry and clean place, away from rodents and pests that could contaminate it.

  1. Keep Your Goats Healthy

Goats will not eat well if they feel unwell or are sick. You should keep track of your goat’s health and take care of any conditions they have. For instance, make sure they are free of worms or any intestinal infections.

Ensure they get their vaccinations timely. This improves their immune system, and their appetite will follow.

Final Thoughts

In summary, getting your goats to eat hay can be a challenge. It requires patience and creativity, but it is crucial to keeping them healthy and happy.

Remember to provide them with fresh, high-quality hay, offer a hay feeder, mix in alfalfa or other hay varieties, add salt or molasses, and offer a wide variety of food options.

These techniques can help encourage your goats to eat hay and keep them from being finicky eaters. With a little persistence, you can make hay a staple in your goats’ diet.