Grain should be treated as if it were "goat candy." Too much grain can create metabolic disorders such as bloat, founder (laminitis), hypocalcemia and grain acidosis.
My adult Nigerians normally receive about 1/4 C. total daily of 16% pelleted, non-medicated goat feed divided into am & pm feedings. Pregnant and lactating does often receive a little more.This ration also contains ammonium chloride for urinary calculi prevention in male goats, and it will not hurt the females. I currently feed Kalmbach 16% goat pellets, non-medicated (no coccidia preventative), but with ammonium chloride added. It is a regional brand manufactured in Ohio. Purina's "Noble Goat" is a similar product, but I cannot find the non-medicated type locally.
If you want to feed your goats grain, barley and whole oats are a good option. I avoid corn as it is high in phosphorus which can disrupt the calcium to phosphorus ratio. (If you want to feed grains, I recommend adding a goat ration balancer to your mix. These mineral balancers help keep the Ca:P ratio at a 2.0-2.5:1. Manna Pro makes a Goat Balancer, and so does Fertrell. Fertrell manufactures many organic products. One balancer I like is their Premier Goat Balancer, available at countrysideorganics.com.
An Example of a Goat Grain Mix
1/4 rolled oats
1/4 hay pellets or 1/4 16% non-medicated goat pellets.
You can always change the amounts to your own preferences or needs.
Grain Mix Stir Ins: dried green split peas, Canadian yellow field peas, black oiled sunflower seeds (BOSS) and ground flax. BOSS also adds protein and essential fatty acids to the diet. Do not overfeed or you might end up with overweight goats! Same goes for the flax.
|"All" means average of all stages- immature, prebloom, early bloom, fullbloom, etc.||Ca:P ratio|
|Clover, Red- All|
|Brome grass- All||2.1:1|
|Bluegrass, Kentucky- Mature||1.2:1|
Simply put, it means feeding foods that provide two parts of calcium to one part phosphorus. These two minerals also rely upon each other for absorption and utilization by the goat's body. Moreover, the 2:1 ratio is a minimum calcium requirement for a goat. The ratio can go as high as 5:1, but no higher.
Here's an easy example to illustrate the point. Measure by weight 1/2 C. pelleted grain. Take that weight, and measure out twice that weight in alfalfa pellets. There you have it. We measure by weight and not volume. This is because when measuring them pound for pound we can see there's a difference in the volume of grain and alfalfa pellets.
By keeping a Ca:P ratio intact, you can ward off some serious metabolic disorders and illnesses. For example, urinary calculi in male goats is caused by an inverted Ca:P ratio. Hypocalcemia (too little calcium) in pregnant and lactating does is created by an imbalance in the ratio as well. Then secondary issues arise when the doe instinctively tries to restore the balance by refusing to eat her grain, which is high in phosphorus as all grains are. Pretty soon, as the goat weakens, she will go off her hay. She then begins to live on her fat reserves. That's when ketosis sets in. Sue Reith explains ketosis far better than I can. For more information, please follow this link: http://goats.wetpaint.com/page/Hypocalcemia+-+Feed+for+Prevention