Goat fodder / Feeding Management:
The majority of the goats kept in villages are seldom given any grain or good fodder; as a result their average milk production is very low. Milch goats respond readily to good care and proper feeding, and to ensure best results they should be tended like other milch animals.
Goats are sensitive animals with peculiar feeding habits. They are ‘fastidious about cleanliness and like frequent change in the feed. Feeds given must be clean and fresh, since goats eat nothing that is dirty or foul-smelling. They dislike wet, stale or trampled fodder. For this reason it is advisable to feed them in hay-racks or hang the feed in bundles from a peg in a wall or from a branch of a tree. Double-sided portable hay-racks are the most suitable and convenient for stall feeding. It is preferable to serve them small quantities at a time; when served in large; quantities at a time, they waste a lot of it by trampling.
Goats are ruminants. They are very fond of leguminous fodders. They do not relish fodders like sorghum (Sorghum vulgare Pers) and maize (lea mays L.), silage or straw. Goats do not relish hay prepared from forest grasses, even if cut in early stages, but very much relish hay prepared from leguminous crops: Some of the common green roughages liked by the goats are: lucerne (Medicago sativa L.), berseem (Trifolium alexandrinum Juslen.), Napier grass (Penniselum purpureum Schum.), green arhar (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.), cowpea (Vigna sinensis (L.) Savi ex Hassk.), soybean (GIyCiflemax-(L.) Merr.) , cabbage and cauliflowerleaves;shajtal. senji. methi; shrubs and weeds of different kinds; and leaves of trees such as babul (Acacia arabica WilJd), neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss.), ber (Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk.), tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) andpipa/ (Ficus re/igiosa L.). The common dry fodders liked by goats are straws of arhar. urid (Phaseolus mungo Roxb.), mung (Phaseolus aureus Roxb.), gram (Cicer arietinum L.), dry leaves of trees, and lucerne or berseem hays.
Minerals should be given as an essential part of the ration as they contribute to the building of the skeleton, physiological functions and production of milk. The more important of these salts are calcium and phosphorus. The requirements of calcium and phosphorus for maintenance are 6·5 and 3·5 g, respectively, per 50 kg body weight. Goats require slightly larger quantities of calcium than sheep. The mineral mixture may be included in the concentrate ration at the rate of 0·2 per cent.
Lumps of rock salt are just the’ thing for them. These lumps of salt, of fairly good size, should be hung up in some suitable place where goats can easily get at them, or else they may be kept in the manger. The provision of salt licks is very important for goats as they secrete a good amount of sodium and chloride ions in milk. The salt often helps to tone up the system and may even have some effect in removing worms from the body. Salt to the extent of 2 percent may also be mixed with the daily grain ration of goats.