Goat Pastures Nutritional Needs

Matching forages to nutritional needs of goats

Highest quality forage and/or browse should be available to does during the last month of gestation, as well as to lactating does, developing/breeding bucks, and weanlings and yearlings. Female kids needed for reproduction should be grazed with their mothers during as much of the milk feeding period as possible and not weaned early. When the quantity of available forage and/or browse is limited or is of low quality, consider limit-grazing or feeding a …

Goat Pastures Predators

Predators and predator control

Contrary to popular belief, the most common predator that the majority of goat producers face is their neighbor’s dog and/or errant dogs running in a pack. A pack of dogs can kill 20-30 goats in one night because they do so for sport and will attack hind legs first. In certain regions, eagles,coyotes and bobcats represent the major problem. Foxes can prey on weak, just born kids. Predators generally only kill one animal every 2-3 nights, …

Goat Pastures Kidding Facilities


Kidding facilities

Kidding during cold months may require shelter for the does and kids to guarantee kid survival. Temporary kidding pens 4 feet × 5 feet have been used by goat producers with much success. The kidding pens should be located in an area free of cold wind. Does are placed in these jugs during kidding and for 3 to 5 days after kidding. This practice increases the bonding between the doe and the newborn, especially for the first-kidding does. …

Goat Pastures Poisonous Plants Mechanical Injury

Plants that produce mechanical injury

A number of plants may have a spiny covering, long beards and fine hairs, and when eaten, may cause mechanical injuries or form hairballs in the stomach and intestines. Sand bur, downy brome grass, squirrel-tail grass, poverty grass, mesquite, cactus and cocklebur are some of the offending plants.

Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.

Goat Pastures Warm Season Improved Legumes

Warm Season Improved Legumes

Warm season legumes that provide good quality forage and fix atmospheric nitrogen are lacking in the southeastern United States. Sericea lespedeza is the most useful warm season perennial legume although it is considered an invasive plant in parts of the country. Another perennial species is alfalfa, a cool season legume growing throughout the summer. Alfalfa, however, is usually not grown for meat goats due to establishment costs and lack of persistence. Perennial peanut is also an …

Goat Pastures Go-Back Land

Go-back land

Go-back land is land that was once cultivated or/and grazed and that is allowed to go back to whatever will volunteer on it. There is usually a progression of species, depending on previous use. The progression varies with location and usually vines and woody and weedy species readily proliferate and some grasses come in. Often woody species will end up predominating, because of loss of much of the topsoil due to erosion which gives a competitive advantage to …

Goat Pastures Soybean

Soybean (Glycine max)



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Soybean varieties were developed for oilseed production but can be used for high quality grazing or hay, with yields of 2 to 3 tons of dry forage per acre. Hay should be harvested when pods are 75 percent filled, requires a hay conditioner and is difficult to cure. Soybean grows best in well-drained soils and tolerates drought when grown for forage. Soybean should be control-grazed with one- to three-day duration. Goats should be moved to …

Goat Pastures Cowpeas

Goat pasture

Cowpeas (Vigna unguiculata)

Cowpeas grow very well during hot weather and can be grazed repeatedly if a variety that does not produce all its seeds at once is used. Management is similar to that of soybeans.

Luginbuhl, J-M. 2006. Pastures for Meat Goats. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.

Goat Pastures Crimson Clover

Crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum)

Goat pasture

Crimson clover is adapted to most soils, except dry, sandy, and very poorly drained soils. It is well adapted to upland loams and low-lying medium, well-drained soils. In general, it is preferable to other winter annual legumes except hairy vetch, which usually proves superior on deep, sandy soils. Because crimson comes on earlier than hairy vetch or annual medics, mixtures of these produce steadier forage supplies through the winter and spring. Crimson clover is …

Goat Pastures Birdsfoot Trefoil

Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

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Birdsfoot trefoil is a deep-rooted, short-lived perennial that is adapted to cooler, temperate climates. Birdsfoot trefoil likes upland loams and well drained soils and is tolerant of drought and moderate soil acidity. Birdsfoot trefoil has fine stems, bright yellow flowers, and small tap roots without rhizomes or stolons. It is subject to severe damage from Rhizoctonia, a root and crown fungal disease. It requires a special inoculum for first plantings and is slow to …