Energy Goat Requires
Energy is a vital component of goat diets, affecting the utilization of other nutrients and overall productivity. The basic maintenance requirement for energy in goat diets is similar to the requirements for sheep. Additional energy is needed in the diet for increased activity, type of terrain, amount of vegetation on range, and distance travelled to get feed. Stall fed goats with minimum activity need a basic maintenance level in the diet. Light activity requires about 25% more energy. Goats on hilly, semiarid range land need an increase of about 50% above basic maintenance requirements. When vegetation is sparse and goats must travel long distances to graze, the energy requirement is about 75% above the basic maintenance requirements. Wool type goats viz., Angora, Gaddi and Pashmina goats require more energy in the diets after shearing, specially during cold weather.
Energy requirements can be made by good quality roughages in the diet, except for early weaned kids, for does during the last two months of gestation, and lactating dairy goats. Concentrate needs to be added in the diet to meet the energy requirements of these animals. Angora goats will respond to supplemental feeding of grains, with higher production of mohair. Goats will also gain weight faster if more energy is provided in the diet.
Proteins Goat Requires
The basic requirement for protein in goat diets is similar to that of sheep and dairy cattle. A minimum level of 6% total protein needs to be provided otherwise feed intake will be reduced. This leads to deficiencies in both energy and protein, which results in reduced rumen activity and lowers the efficiency of feed utilization.
Additional protein is required in the diet for growth, pregnancy, lactation and mohair production. Goats on range need higher levels of protein in the diet than do stall fed goats because of the increased activity required to get feed. Adding concentrate to the ration will provide the additional protein needed. An excessive amount of protein in the diet of goats with light activity is also undesirable.
The most commonly used protein supplements are linseed meal, soya bean meal, brewers dried grains, and cotton seed meal. One of the most economical sources of protein is good quality Lucerne hay, fed as long hay, chopped or pellets.
Protein deficiency symptoms in goats are anorexia, loss of weight, poor hair growth, depressed milk yield and impaired reproduction. Severe deficiencies can lead to digestive disturbances, anaemia and/or enema.
Minerals Goat Requires
Generally, feeds used in goat nutrition provide adequate quantities of the necessary minerals. In some instances, deficiencies may occur, specially of the major minerals. Of the macro minerals that have been shown to be supplemented in goats are salt, calcium, phosphorus and sulphur.
Sodium Chloride: Lactating does often require additional salt, as milk contains high amounts of sodium.
Calcium: Must be added to the diets of lactating goats. Milk fever can occur when calcium levels in the blood drop.
Phosphorus: Deficiency may occur with goats grazing on range lands if the forage is deficient in this mineral.