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Goats easily get bored if there is not much variety in their fodder. If that happens, they will eat too little and their growth and milk production will be limited. The greater the variety, the better the goat’s appetite. The other reason for giving a variety of fodder is that it ensures a nutritional balance, so that the goat gets sufficient energy, protein and the various essential minerals.
Every farmer has a different set of feeds available, so it would be impossible to specify a precise formula. We have found that by dividing the available feedstuffs into three categories, and attempting to give an equal quantity of each, the balance is adequate. It is also a very simple system to teach.
Local goats can be fed very easily using grass and other leaves. The same is true for 50% crosses and many 75% crosses. But if a goat is producing a lot of milk, the stomach is not big enough to take in all the food it needs. The exact definition of “a lot of milk” will depend on the size of the goat and the quality of the green leaves available. But as a guideline, if a goat is regularly producing 2 litres of milk or more then some concentrate is required. If the green leaves are mixed as described above, simple maize bran may be good enough. But once the milk reaches 2½ or 3 litres per day, it is essential to feed some mixed dairy meal. That can be expensive, which is one of the reasons why 75% cross breeds are more suitable for most people than purebred dairy goats.