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Dry Matter Goat Requirements

Dry Matter Goat Requirements: Feeding for Optimal Health and Productivity


When it comes to raising healthy and productive goats, understanding their nutritional requirements is paramount. One of the key aspects of goat nutrition is their dry matter intake, which plays a crucial role in their overall well-being and productivity. In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of dry matter intake, energy requirements, protein needs, and essential minerals for goats, ensuring that your caprine companions receive the best care possible.

Understanding Dry Matter Intake

Distinct Differences between Meat and Dairy Goats

Meat goats and dairy goats exhibit differences in their dry matter intake. Meat goats typically consume around 3-4 percent of their live weight in dry matter, whereas dairy goats consume a slightly higher percentage of 5-7 percent. This disparity can be attributed to the varying demands of meat production versus milk production.

Factors Affecting Dry Matter Consumption

Several factors influence the consumption of dry matter by goats. The availability of feeds, palatability, moisture content, and the amount of fibrous material in their feed all contribute to their intake levels. Ensuring a balanced diet with a variety of nutritious feed sources is essential to meeting their dietary needs effectively.

Dry Matter Requirements for Different Growth Stages

Kids’ Dry Matter Requirements

For growing kids, the dry matter requirements vary based on their body weight and growth rate. Kids with different body weights and growth rates require specific amounts of dry matter. For instance, a kid with a body weight of 10 kg and growing at a rate of 50g/day needs approximately 425g of dry matter, while a kid with a body weight of 30 kg growing at the same rate requires 950g.

Dry Matter Goat Requirements
Dry Matter Goat Requirements 2

Adult Maintenance: Dry Matter Goat Requirements

Adult goats have varying maintenance requirements for dry matter intake. It can range between 66 to 70g per w (weight) unit. These variations could be attributed to species size and energy density in their feed.

Pregnant Goat Dry Matter Goat Requirements

Pregnant goats have distinct dry matter intake requirements. On average, a pregnant goat consumes about 2.96 kg of dry matter per 100kg of body weight and 76.30g per w unit. This increased intake supports the needs of both the mother and the developing fetus.

The Role of Energy in Goat Diets

Basics of Energy Requirements

Energy is a fundamental component of goat diets, influencing the utilization of other nutrients and overall productivity. The maintenance energy requirements for goats are influenced by their activity level, terrain, and feed availability. Basic maintenance energy levels are increased by approximately 25% for light activity, 50% for hilly, semi-arid terrain, and 75% for sparse vegetation and long grazing distances.

Factors Influencing Energy Needs

Wool-type goats such as Angora, Gaddi, and Pashmina goats have higher energy requirements, especially after shearing and during colder weather. Providing adequate energy through the diet is crucial for their well-being.

Special Considerations for Different Goat Types

Stall-fed goats with minimal activity require a basic maintenance level of energy in their diet. However, goats in various environments demand different energy levels to thrive. Considering these differences ensures optimal energy intake for each goat.

Meeting Energy Requirements through Diet

Utilizing Quality Roughages

High-quality roughages play a significant role in meeting goats’ energy needs. Concentrates can be supplemented in the diet to meet energy requirements for early-weaned kids, does in the last two months of gestation, and lactating dairy goats. This supplementation is particularly important for Angora goats, as it enhances mohair production and overall weight gain.

Incorporating Concentrates

Adding concentrates to the diet not only fulfills energy requirements but also contributes to growth, pregnancy, lactation, and mohair production. A diet rich in energy ensures optimal health and productivity for your goats.

The Significance of Proteins in Goat Nutrition

Minimum Protein Requirement

Similar to sheep and dairy cattle, goats require a minimum protein level of 6% in their diets. Failing to meet this requirement can lead to reduced feed intake, energy, and protein deficiencies, affecting rumen activity and feed utilization efficiency.

Additional Protein Needs

Additional protein is necessary for growth, pregnancy, lactation, and mohair production. Stall-fed goats and those in active environments require higher protein levels due to increased activity levels.

Common Protein Supplements

Protein supplements like linseed meal, soybean meal, brewers dried grains, and cotton seed meal are commonly used to meet goats’ protein needs. Lucerne hay, available as long hay, chopped, or pellets, is an economical and effective source of quality protein.

Preventing Mineral Deficiencies

Essential Minerals for Goats

Goat nutrition generally provides adequate essential minerals. However, deficiencies may arise, especially with major minerals such as salt, calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur.

Supplementation of Macro Minerals

Lactating does often require additional sodium chloride due to the high sodium content in milk. Calcium supplementation is vital for lactating goats to prevent milk fever, while phosphorus deficiencies can be mitigated with proper diet management.


Providing optimal nutrition is essential for the health and productivity of your goats. Understanding dry matter intake, energy requirements, protein needs, and mineral supplementation ensures that your goats lead healthy and thriving lives. By tailoring their diet to their specific growth stage and environment, you can create a solid foundation for their well-being.


Q1: Why do meat goats and dairy goats have different dry matter intake percentages?
A1: The differences are due to the varying demands of meat production and milk production in these two types of goats.

Q2: How can I ensure my goats receive enough energy in their diet?
A2: Incorporate quality roughages and, if necessary, concentrates into their diet to meet their energy requirements.

Q3: What are the signs of protein deficiency in goats?
A3: Symptoms include anore

xia, weight loss, poor hair growth, decreased milk yield, and reproductive issues.

Q4: Can you suggest economical protein sources for goat diets?
A4: Good quality Lucerne hay, in the form of long hay, chopped, or pellets, is an affordable and effective protein source.

Q5: Why is calcium supplementation important for lactating goats?
A5: Lactating goats require added calcium to prevent milk fever and maintain overall health.

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