Saturday, January 12, 2013

What do Goats eat?

Do goats chew their cud?  
Do goats burp?
If you said "yes" you are correct on both.

They are able to eat hay, brush and other roughage type feed because of their unique digestive system, made of 4 different compartments referred to as the four stomachs.

Goats belong to the class of animal known as ruminants. They and other like animals: cows, deer, chickens (just kidding not chickens) ruminate or chew their cud.
When roughage is eaten by goats it is first chewed, soaked with saliva, and then swallowed. This ball of feed swallowed is called "the cud" and it goes down into the 1st stomach (rumen) to be broken down by micro-organisms living inside the goat’s stomach.  The rumen acts like a big fermentation vat breaking down the fiber in the feed. This is similar to how wine is made from grapes in a wooden barrel.

At regular intervals the cud is brought back up (regurgitated) to the goat's mouth to be chewed on some more and then swallowed again. Goats often burp to get rid of the gas produced by all the fermentation.
You may be interested in reading more on this topic
Goats Grazing
Proper Feeding of Goats


  1. Have enjoyed what I have read so far and I am sure I will enjoy as I read on. I do have a question and havent really looked to see if you have posted anything on it yet but going to ask anyway, I only have the 5 does and not really set up yet to do the daily milking and was wondering if I could keep the kids on the does and still milk occasionly as I experiment with making cheese. If I can do this how much milk should take from the doe and still satisfy the kid? I know each doe is different so it would be hard to estimate but thought there might be a general rule of thumb. All 5 had kids last season and I just left them on the doe, only milked for colostrum for emergencies. I ended up with 11 bucklings (go figure) lol, My Nubian had triplets :) all went to market with good healthy weight and had many comments on how well my bucks looked. Okay I stop rambling for now but I will ramble again soon I am sure :) Thanks again

  2. Commercial dairy goat operations wean baby goats soon after birth. The reason for doing this is simple; take as much milk from the mom as possibly, as soon as possible and sell the milk for money. The American way! Many years of good results from this commercial practice has led many small-time goat farmers to do the same; wean goats at an early age to get back to harvesting milk.
    As soon as your kids are eating hay and grain, you may start weaning as quick or as slow as you want. The great thing is you can take as little or as much fresh milk for your use as you want and let the kids finish out the milking chore. Mike Henry

    1. I must add, when babies are taking off milk before they are weaned, a substitute formula is used until they are are weaned.