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The great goat experiment explores food…

August 16, 2010
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In case you missed my last post on the great goat experiment, in short I’ve decided to learn all it takes in order to humanely own some goats.  You know, things such as- what do they eat, how much land do they need, what health issues I need to be aware of, do they need companions, and so forth.  I should say that I decided to explore this issue because I’ve always wanted to own my own goats one day, but while doing this project with WFAS realized I know nothing about what it takes to actually care for a goat.

Today goat topic? Food!

Have you ever head that goats will each just about anything?  Seems this isn’t the case.  Common myth believes that goats will munch on what ever they can get their hands (hooves?) on including tin cans, cardboard boxes, paper, and even your mittens.  Well ask yourself this: would you eat a tin can?  The answer should be no and the same holds true for goats as well.  Goats are actually pretty selective eaters when the proper food is available for them to eat.  When goats are left to forage on garbage and tin cans rather than graze on grasses and clover they risk adequate growth and digestive health, and are more prone to contracting diseases.  Goats need the proper balance of protein, vitamins, fiber and water to live strong and healthy lives.  But what exactly do they eat?

It seems that feeding is the highest cost associated with raising and caring for goats.   Water is the cheapest aspect.  An adult goat will drink 3/4th to 1.5 gallons of water each day.  When it comes to roaming the fields, goats’ eating patterns resemble that of a deer (browsing) more than a sheep or cow (grazing).  Goats like to browse such items as millet, sorghum, clover, grass, and grain.  To keep the quality of these options high it’s important to rotate the pasture.  In the winter goats will munch on hay.

These details alone make me believe that housing a goat in the back patch of a Brooklyn home is simply not a good idea.  Stay tuned to see just how much space it’s going to take to house a few friendly and lovable “naaaaaay-sayers”.

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