Basic goat management and feeding

Proper management of goats is very important because they can cover a large area in a day searching for food. They are also intelligent and can get through fences and into other people’s yards and vegetable gardens, creating problems between you and your neighbours.

You could use one of two systems to manage your goats:

You could use one of two systems to manage your goats:

1. In a free-range system, goats range free during the day and stay in a kraal at night. You will need the help of a goat herdman if you can’t do it yourself.

2. Keep the goats permanently in a shed or a small yard with shelter. This requires a lot of work since food and water must be taken to them and the dung must be cleaned regularly.

Feeding goats
Good feeding and plenty of clean water is important to keep goats healthy. A goat gets most of the nutrients it needs from grazing and browsing six to eight hours a day. Goats eat many plants that other livestock won’t touch.

This makes them valuable because they clear weeds and encroaching bush and thorn shrubs.

Goats will eat vegetable scraps from the kitchen and even plants that are poisonous to other animals, such as lantana.

They can also graze and browse in areas that other livestock can’t reach, such as rocky and mountainous areas. Goats will stand on their hind legs to browse on the low branches of trees. Some even climb low sloping branches.

In the dry season the quality of the food available decreases and it’s important to provide supplementary food, especially if the goats are in late pregnancy or early lactation.

Source: National Department of Agriculture and Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Animal Production Institute.
For more information, phone the ARC on (012) 672 9305