the 411 on feeding goats

the 411 on feeding goats

The natural health space is all abuzz with words like 100% grassfed, non-gmo and pasture raised, but lets talk more about what that actually means in terms of goats (the animals I raise). As browsers, goats tend to go for the leafy greens at or above eye level on brush rather than grass. Not that they don't eat grass, but they prefer the stuff that we view as weeds. Pasture raising means the animal has lived its life on lush green grass and was probably fed dried grass in the form of hay during the winter. This usually works great for cows (sometimes supplemental legumes are needed), but for goats (and pigs) its not always the ideal plan. Lactating goats, weanlings and those needing higher nutritional requirements cannot maintain weight and body condition on pasture alone. Thats where grain comes in... **insert chest-grabbing gasp here**  

There are all sorts of grains, corn, soy, wheat being most common, but barley, oats, millet are all grains as well. Non-gmo just means these plants weren't genetically modified to endure pesticides or increase yield. Organic means they are non-gmo plus not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides. Organic and non-gmo grains are not only way more expensive than conventional but oftentimes, hard to find for certain livestock. Corn and soy are really not great for human diets because of higher Omega-6 fatty acids and the estrogenic properties of soy in particular are detrimental to hormonal function; however, these two demonized grains (trust me, I'm not a fan) do provide added protein and energy for lactating and growing goats. An alternative to soy is field peas, which I have used in the past but since 2020, organic field peas have doubled in cost making it more expensive to produce a gallon of milk. 

My goats get free choice grass hay, (currently they are chowing down and wasting high-quality Bermuda hay that was twice the price as the Bahia I got in October, but thats another story) alfalfa twice daily and only the babies and lactating does get grain. My grain mix consists of organic alfalfa pellets, organic oats and Kalmbach Goat Granola.  According the the Kalmbach website, the Goat Granola is crafted with whole seeds, vegetables and nutritious pellets. I love that it is soy-free. While it does contain corn, the other ingredients are great. Beet pulp, barley, black oil sunflower seeds, carrots, sweet potatoes, alfalfa and timothy plus yeast and minerals to keep them in great condition. 

Grain is a small percentage of their diet so I feel comfortable consuming milk from my animals as well as using it in my products. Ruminants are incredibly adept at breaking down complex carbohydrates into important nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals. These vitamins and minerals are also found in their milk.


Goat's milk contains over 17 vitamins and minerals, alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), amino acids, proteins and fatty acids. Vitamins A & C protect and nourish skin, AHA resurfaces and smooths skin, amino acids support a healthy skin barrier and proteins and fatty acids minimize fine lines and wrinkles while hydrating skin.

So bottom line, most goats aren't 100% grass fed, but they can be raised as holistically and as healthy as possible and provide sweet, delicious (and healthy) milk that provides numerous benefits in skin care products.

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