How to feed a goat in winter: drawing up a diet, basic rules

In winter, large and small cattle are usually kept in boxes, and have no access to free range. Some farmers practice a system of free grazing of cows and goats throughout the year that is quite unusual for our minds, for which purpose hay rolls are specially prepared and put in a special way. How to feed goats in the winter, and what are the features of the diet of young animals, pregnant females, as well as animals after lambing and in the milking period, read in this review.

Types of feed for goats in winter

The winter diet of farm animals is significantly different from the summer one, since the inevitable lack of vitamins and additional energy requirements to maintain the heat balance in the body must somehow be replenished.

Regardless of the time of year, the diet of domestic goats is usually formed by three main components: rough, juicy and concentrated feed. However, if concentrates are an off-season product, the composition of the first two categories of food in winter and summer looks different.


The traditional goat food is the green parts of plants (meadow grass, young shoots of trees, tops of garden crops, cabbage leaves). Such food, the cheapest and most affordable in the summer, cannot be obtained by the animal in winter.

For this reason, the lack of succulent feed in the diet of goats has to be replaced with coarse, primarily hay and straw.

Important! The minimum amount of roughage in the winter diet of a goat should be 1 kilogram per adult, the optimal - 2 - 3 kilograms. So that the animal does not lack in this important component, you must always have fresh hay in the box, which contains goats.

Solid food is needed by small cloven-hoofed animals for the proper functioning of the scar and the digestive system as a whole. In the cold season, it is also an additional source of vitamins.

In addition, the process of chewing and digesting food is accompanied by heat production (thus, roughage in the diet of ruminants works as a natural heating system).

Goats eat hay much better if pre-chopped. There are special crushing machines, but you can use an ordinary ax or a garden knife.

Straw also refers to roughage, but lower value compared to hay. Nevertheless, hay deficiency can be partially (no more than 15%) compensated by straw, a good source of fiber.

Goats are reluctant to eat it, so it is best to mix roughage with moist or concentrated, and even in this case, straw is recommended to first be filled with boiling water for several minutes.

A special type of roughage that is not found in goat’s nutrition in summer, but helps a farmer in winter, is grain. It is easy to replenish energy reserves due to high-calorie cereals: corn, oats, wheat (sowing) and barley.

For a goat, such food is not very familiar, so it is better to give it by mixing in the hay. During the day, ½ kg of crushed cereal or grain mix can be allocated to an adult.

Finally, branches of trees belong to the coarse fodder that allows goats to easily survive the winter. If you procure them in sufficient quantities, you can give them to animals in equal parts with hay (replacing the branches with hay in a larger proportion is impossible, because they are inferior in nutrition to dry grass).

With maximum appetite, ruminants eat rods of birch, willow, willow, linden, alder, hazel and poplar.

Did you know? Farmers from North Dakota practice a free grazing system throughout the year. Meanwhile, in this state, winter frosts often reach -16 ° C. As for extreme cold, the thermometer here fell even below fifty degrees below zero.

Interestingly, a certain amount of roughage in the form of dead goats can be obtained on their own in the winter, if they are accustomed to regular walking in the fall. For the first time faced with snow lying on the site of yesterday's dry grass, goats quickly guess how to find it under it.

Many herbs growing in the steppe zones have a very powerful, well-developed, root system, and therefore their aboveground parts remain highly nutritious for a very long time. Among these plants can be called feather grass, wormwood, fescue, bluegrass, alfalfa, clover, wheat grass, wild oats.


In the absence of green grasses, in the winter, goats can receive juicy feed mainly in the form of root crops - potatoes, fodder beets, carrots. The last two vegetables can be given raw, potatoes should first be boiled. Of vegetables in winter, cabbage and pumpkin are well preserved.

But if goats like cabbage leaves, then not all individuals like melons.

Important! Goats love apples, but this fruit can be given to them with great care. Apples contain too much acid, which causes irritation of the mucous membrane of the oral cavity of the animal, after which it experiences problems with chewing other foods. A goat can choke a whole apple, so the fruit should be chopped before serving.

In addition to fresh vegetables and fruits with a long shelf life, the succulent component of goat food in the winter is perfectly complemented by silage.

Approximate consumption rates for this category of food per one head per day are:

  • potatoes - no more than 2 kg;
  • root vegetables, cabbage, pumpkin - 2-4 kg;
  • silo - 3-4 kg.

In total, juicy feed should account for 15 to 25% of the total diet of the animal.


Despite the fact that concentrated feeds (as their producers assure) are a perfectly balanced mixture that allows ruminants to be provided with all the nutrients they need, it is in no case possible to use such a product as the basis for a winter diet of goats.

And not because it is too expensive (which is also a serious drawback of concentrated feed compared to natural preparations). Such food is not natural for a goat, and the animal’s digestive system does not tolerate it very well.

Important! It has been proven that concentrates (especially if abused) can cause stone formation in the kidneys and bladder of small cattle. This is due to the increased composition of anionic salts (ammonium and magnesium chlorides, ammonium and magnesium sulfates).

Concentrates should be included in the diet of the wintering herd of goats in a dosage, not more than 300-500 g per day per adult.

How to make a diet for goats

In the stall period, goats should be fed 3 times a day, and the procedure for issuing coarse, moist and concentrated feed is important.

It is best to adhere to the following feeding schedule:

Feeding timeComposition (sequentially)Soldering
MorningCompound feed



Before eating
DaySilo (or root crops)

Wet food in the form of kitchen waste

Hay or wood brooms

At the same time as kitchen waste
EveningConcentrated feed

Hay or wood brooms

Simultaneously with the concentrate (or dilute the concentrate with water) and then before hay

In the absence of access to green and lush grass, it is very important that there is always fresh water in the goat stall. This is especially necessary for males in whom dehydration easily leads to the development of urolithiasis.

To make it easier for animals to keep warm in frosty weather, they need to heat water (it is even advisable to install a special automatic heating system in drinking bowls).

Did you know? The normal body temperature of a goat ranges from + 39 ° C to +40 ° C. Perhaps for this reason, these artiodactyls with pleasure drink so hot water that farmers often shrug their hands, wondering how the animal manages to not burn its own mucous membrane of the oral cavity.

For adults (goats and goats during the dead season), a four-day diet per head can be compiled, for example, as follows:

1 dayHay (clover) - 2 kg; Beets - 2 kg; Oats - 0.4 kg
2 dayHay (forbs) - 2 kg; Cabbage - 3 kg
3 dayHay (alfalfa) - 1.5 kg; Hay (forbs) - 1 kg; Root crops - 0.5 kg
4 dayHay (alfalfa) - 1 kg; Hay (forbs) - 0.5 kg; A stirrer of carrots and oats - 2.5 kg

The composition of the products can be changed based on available capabilities, adhering only to the general recommended proportions.

The winter diet of pregnant, nursing and dairy goats has some features.

During pregnancy

The nutrition of a pregnant (senile) goat differs from a dry goat not so much qualitatively as quantitatively.

Did you know? The gestation period for goats on average lasts about one hundred and fifty days, that is, almost half as much as that of a cow.

Starting from the second half of this period, the total amount of feed per animal should be increased by about one and a half times. Make sure that the female does not overeat, otherwise serious complications can occur during childbirth.

An approximate daily diet of a coot goat, starting from the third month of pregnancy, may look like this:

Feeding timeProductamount
MorningCrushed Grain Blend


200 g

500 g

DayHay1.5 - 2 kg
EveningA mixture of grain and bran (1: 1)

Hay meadow

200 g

2 kg

In the same period, goats begin to be given daily 10 g of crushed chalk and salt to maintain the balance of minerals in the body.

About two weeks before the expected lambing, concentrated feed should be completely excluded from the goat's diet, replacing them with juicy and as liquid as possible (grain during this period should be given in the form of steamed porridges; thoroughly grind and mix the roots with bran and water).

After lambing

The first seven days after lambing, in order to replenish strength and establish lactation, the goat needs to be fed in approximately the same way as before childbirth: liquid and easily digestible food should prevail in the animal’s diet.

Important! The taste of goat milk depends on many factors - breed, health status, age, individual characteristics of the animal. The list of these conditions also includes the sanitary conditions in which the individual is contained, as well as its diet. Many farmers advise adding more beets to the feed of the dairy goat, from which the milk allegedly becomes sweeter.

The best products during this period are bran swill, crushed root crops and hay from legumes.

Starting from the eighth day, the consistency and composition of the products offered to the animal, gradually return to standard parameters. In order for the milk productivity of the goat to remain at a high level, instead of branches and straw, it should receive high-quality hay, and instead of concentrates and silage - root crops.

Depending on the weight of the female, the amount of each of these ingredients per day should be from three to four kilograms.


Milking goat needs more high-calorie food than dry goat. It is believed that the taste of its milk directly depends on what the milking animal eats (“a cow and a goat have milk on their tongues” - a proverb expressing this idea). However, most likely, this statement is only partially true, and here's why.

Find out what disease the blood in the milk of a goat testifies to.

The table shows two possible variants of the diet of a dairy goat in winter, one involves the use of only natural food, the other contains concentrated feed.

The norms are calculated for a goat weighing about 40 kg (for larger animals, the corresponding figures should be proportionally increased):

Name of food component

At low milk yields (2 liters per day) - weight in kilograms

With high milk yields (4 L day) - weight in kilograms
First option:
Hay1, 52.5
Tree branches0.5one
Root crops (beets, carrots) and other wet foodsone2
Grain (dry peas, barley, oats, corn, sprouted wheat)0.40.9
Crushed chalk
The second option:
Wet feedone2
Concentrated feed0.80.9
Crushed chalk0.010.01

The diet regime for milking goats is recommended to be established as follows:

  • the number of meals - three times (for example, at 6-00, at 12-00 and at 18-00, but always at the same time);
  • roughage is given last. At this time, or after feeding, you can start milking;
  • feeding should begin with a concentrate, then give juicy products;
  • silage is better to allocate for morning or afternoon feeding, since it is absorbed worse than root crops. This type of wet food reduces the fat content of milk, the amount of protein contained in it, that is, precisely those substances that are most valuable in milk.

Did you know? It is believed that 2 liters of milk per day is a normal milk yield for an average domestic goat. For the entire period of lactation, with all amendments, this animal gives about 400 liters. Special dairy breeds show higher rates. If we talk about records, then in 1949 a goat named Katya, who lives in the Moscow region, for 11 months gave 1120 liters of milk, and at the beginning of lactation her milk yield amounted to 7 liters per day.

Features of feeding kids

Since the goats in the domestic goat can appear at any time of the year, the farmer needs to know how to feed young animals with seasonal considerations.


The only product that newborn kids and cubs should receive before they reach the age of one and a half weeks is mother's milk.

Did you know? In nature, wild goats are kitten once a year. The mating season usually begins in mid-winter (respectively, the goats are born around May, which allows them to get strong enough before the onset of cold weather). In households, goats can give birth twice a year. However, it was noted that the female’s body wears out and her milk production is not high.

Since one of the main goals of raising goats is to get milk, spending the valuable product on feeding the kids for most households (not to mention livestock complexes) is an impermissible luxury.

But in any case, on the first day, it is still better for babies to give colostrum secreted by the mammary glands of a goat that has gone round. This substance contains much less fat than regular goat milk, but it contains the whole set of antibodies and other important substances that provide the goat’s immune defense in the first days of its life.

The first feeding should be carried out no later than an hour after lambing. This time (the only one!) A kid can be drunk from a bottle with a pacifier, but starting from the second feeding, milk should be poured into a bowl.

Under the uterus

This method involves getting a kid a mother’s milk up to three months of age (or even a little longer). Since the baby has been with his mother all this time, the farmer does not have any special problems with drawing up his diet.

The only thing to worry about is to make sure that the goat has:

  • there were no signs of mastitis or other inflammatory processes associated with the mammary glands;
  • the udder was always clean;
  • lactation was sufficient (the kid is starving, you can easily guess from his behavior and appearance - such a baby is poorly gaining weight, behaving uneasily or, on the contrary, shows apathy and weakness).

Important! If during the first day a kid drinks a sufficient amount of milk (or colostrum), the baby’s gastrointestinal tract is quickly freed from meconium, which remained after the birth of specific primitive fecal masses, and starts for independent work. With the generally accepted daily norm of 500 ml, a newborn baby can drink three times as much, there is nothing wrong with that.

In parallel with mother's milk, starting from the age of three days, the goats begin to try “adult” feed, therefore it is very important that during this period only the best and freshest hay was in the stall.

Weaning of the kids from the uterus usually occurs at the age of three months and takes from seven to ten days. During this period, young animals are gradually transferred to starting compound feeds, root crops and hay.

First, the kid is fed such food one day, returning it to the mother the next day, then it is taken away for two days, then for three, and finally completely left without mother's milk.

Without a uterus

Kids grown without a uterus are fed six times a day for the first five days of life. Then, the number of meals is gradually reduced to five (from the sixth to tenth day), four (up to a month), and then three times.

From the birth to the age of three months, the following foods comprise the diet of the young:

  • whole milk;
  • gruel;
  • succulent feed;
  • starting concentrates.

Each subsequent type of food is introduced into the kid’s diet gradually with a subsequent decrease in the proportion of previous ones. During the first ten days, the baby’s food should only consist of whole milk. Then part of it is replaced by oatmeal, and starting from a month old, babies can already get acquainted with more coarse food.

Did you know? In France, goats are fed cow milk instead of goat milk, since this product costs at least three times cheaper. From this kind of food, animals grow low-productivity: goats give little milk, goats show weak sexual activity with infertile conception.

Для выкармливания козлят без матки вместо коровьего молока лучше использовать специальные смеси — заменители цельного молока для козлят.

Объём молока, необходимый козлёнку без матки, определяется по следующей таблице:

Возраст (в днях)Суточная норма молока (в граммах)Суточная норма жидкой овсянки (в граммах)

Корнеплоды и концентраты начинают добавляться по следующей схеме:

Возраст (в днях)Суточная норма корнеплодов (в граммах)Суточная норма стартового концентрированного корма (в граммах)
41-5060one hundred
51-60one hundred150

Начиная с месячного возраста, в рацион козлят добавляют измельчённый мел и костную муку — примерно по 7 г в сутки на каждую особь.

Заготовка и хранение кормов зимой

Заготавливать сено лучше всего в начале лета, используя для этих целей молодые растения, поскольку они нежнее и содержат значительно большее количество питательных веществ.

Узнайте, сколько сена надо козе на зиму.

Сено из перестоявших, толстых и грубых стеблей взрослые особи едят с неохотой, для козлят подобная пища и вовсе не подходит.

Сырьё для заготовки можно косить на лугу либо в лесу, отдавая предпочтение разнотравью, а также смесям злаковых и бобовых растений.

Крайне нежелательно производить покос вблизи автомобильных дорог либо промышленных предприятий, где вредные атмосферные выбросы превращают зелёные насаждения в подобие периодической системы химических элементов.

Important! Луговое сено ценнее заготовки, собранной в лесу или на болоте. Последний вариант по своему составу и калорийности приравнивается к соломе.

Косят траву для сена утром, как только высыхает роса, либо ближе к вечеру. Сушить сено лучше не на земле, а на специальных подставках, иначе испарение влаги происходит неравномерно, и продукт получается более низкого качества.

Определить готовность сена можно, взяв небольшой пучок подсохшей травы и скрутив её жгутом. Правильная степень заготовки (около 15 % влажности) проявляется в том, что жгут с треском раскручивается.

Отсутствие этого эффекта, а также ощущение прохлады и влаги на руках при контакте с заготовкой свидетельствует о том, что сено высушено недостаточно.

Солома заготавливается так же путём высушивания. Но здесь есть одно важное правило: для зимнего рациона коз настоятельно рекомендуется использовать стебли яровых культур, поскольку озимые отличаются более низкой питательностью и делают конечный продукт ещё менее равноценной альтернативой сену.

Древесные ветки нарезают в середине лета (длина прутьев может составлять 50—60 см, толщина — не более 1 см), связывают в виде веников, высушивают несколько недель в затенённом месте, а затем хранят в погребе либо сарае.

Важно, чтобы в помещении было сухо, и была предусмотрена хорошая вентиляция. Зимой веники отлично хранятся прямо в снегу.

Зерно, добавляемое в зимний рацион коз, также нужно хранить в сухом месте, а перед подачей скоту очень внимательно проверять на предмет поражения грибком.

Important! Для пищеварительной системы коз опасна не только плесень, но и другие патогенные грибы (например, спорынья (сlaviceps)). Этот паразит очень часто поражает пшеницу и рожь, однако при неправильном хранении может перейти и на другие злаковые, а также луговые травы, входящие в состав сена (овсяницу, тимофеевку).

Заготовка силоса производится путём перемешивания и последующего заквашивания в специальных ёмкостях под полиэтиленовой плёнкой разных видов зелёных и сочных кормов — капустных листьев, луговой травы, стеблей и плодов бобовых, зерновых и других культур (подсолнечника, кукурузы).

Помните, что некоторые растения силосуются плохо из-за высокой влажности, другие же выделяют слишком много кислоты. Первую проблему можно решить, немного подсушив сырьё на солнце или смешав его с соломой; вторую — добавив в заготовку толчёный мел (примерно 1 г на килограмм зелёной массы).

В любом случае для получения качественного силоса есть два важных секрета: как можно более мелкий помол и как можно более плотная утрамбовка.

Поскольку силос является самым дешёвым вариантом сочного корма зимой, заготавливать его нужно в очень больших количествах. Нормальным расходом на сезон считается 600—800 кг силоса на каждое взрослое животное.

Чем нельзя кормить козу

Есть много продуктов, которые не должны присутствовать в рационе козы. Последствия от их употребления животными могут быть разными.

Некоторые растения содержат вещества, ядовитые для мелкого рогатого скота; другие пагубно влияют на молочную продуктивность самок; третьи вызывают кишечные расстройства; четвёртые пагубно влияют на состояние шерсти. Хороший фермер должен знать все подобные тонкости. Ниже обозначены самые основные.

Сильнейшее отравление, вплоть до летального исхода, у коз вызывают:

  • папоротник (свежий, сушёный, в силосе) — вызывает внутренние кровотечения;
  • чемерица (особенно в сене) — поражает дыхательные пути;
  • волчий боб (в сене) — в малых дозах вызывает бесплодие, в больших — приводит к параличу дыхательных путей.

Сильные, хотя и не смертельные отравления, а также другие негативные последствия (например, выкидыш у суягной козы) могут вызвать:

  • паслён;
  • rosemary;
  • клевер красный;
  • бодяк;
  • дурман-трава;
  • feather grass;
  • прицепник;
  • сетария (щетинник);
  • проросший картофель (особенно с присутствием зелени на клубнях);
  • жмых льна, конопли, рапса, горчицы, сурепки, рыжика;
  • гнилые, скисшие, поражённые грибами или вредителями продукты.

На шерсть коз пагубно влияют, помимо некоторых из перечисленных выше, такие растения:

  • крымский репей;
  • большинство представителей рода дурнишник (обыкновенный, игольчатый, калифорнийский);
  • череда;
  • лопух;
  • чернокорень;
  • костёр;
  • Velcro.

Для получения высоких удоев и хороших вкусовых характеристик молока из рациона дойных коз лучше исключить:

  • щавель;
  • tansy;
  • калужницу;
  • sagebrush;
  • cabbage leaves;
  • celandine;
  • свёклу сахарную;
  • garlic;
  • черемшу;
  • марену;
  • анемону (ветреницу);
  • chamomile;
  • colza;
  • хвощ;
  • клоповник.

Основные правила содержания коз

Содержание коз в зимний период предполагает не только особенным образом составленный рацион.

Чтобы животным легче было пережить холода, фермеру следует соблюдать такие важные правила:

  1. Боксы, где содержится мелкий рогатый скот, должны быть сухими и хорошо проветриваться. Обогревать их в большинстве случаев не обязательно (поправка должна быть сделана на особенности климата и конкретную породу, исключение также делается для новорожденных козлят). Не следует также путать вентиляцию со сквозняками и ветром: от них у животных может начаться воспаление лёгких.
  2. Чем больше солнечного света будет попадать в боксы зимой, тем лучше.
  3. Козы, козлы и козлята содержатся отдельно друг от друга.
  4. На каждую взрослую особь в идеале нужно выделить минимум 2 квадратных метра личного пространства.
  5. Козы спят лёжа, поэтому в зимних боксах должен быть предусмотрен специальный деревянный помост, возвышающийся над холодным полом примерно на 40 см.
  6. Регулярная чистка и дезинфекция козлятника — обязательное условие в любое время года.
  7. Зимой особую опасность для коз представляют гельминты, поэтому накануне начала стойлового периода животные должны пройти профилактическую обработку от этих паразитов.
  8. Стойловый период не означает отсутствие прогулок. Активные движения на свежем воздухе обеспечат стаду крепкий иммунитет и улучшат их самочувствие. Выводя животных на выгул, следует очистить площадку от снега и льда, поскольку, забиваясь между копытами, замёрзшая вода причиняет козам сильные страдания и может вызвать обморожение конечностей.
  9. Ещё одной проблемной зоной, с точки зрения риска обморожения, являются уши и вымя. Перед выводом стада на прогулку в сильный мороз эти участки тела желательно обильно намазать жиром, вазелином или другой вязкой субстанцией.

Козы — животные неприхотливые. Они хорошо переносят неблагоприятные погодные условия и способны зимовать в неотапливаемых помещениях и даже на открытых площадках.

Did you know? Коренные народы Крайнего Севера для профилактики обморожения мажут открытые участки тела рыбьим жиром, а также жиром тюленей и местных птиц — гусей и чёрных уток. Такая природная « косметика » не только предохраняет кожу от прямого контакта с холодным воздухом и ветром, но и сохраняет её природную влажность и эластичность.

Поскольку в холодное время года зелёную траву, являющуюся основой природного рациона козы, животному раздобыть негде, отсутствие вольного выпаса необходимо заменить полноценными аналогами — прежде всего сеном, соломой, нарезанными ветками, силосом и корнеплодами.

Если заготовить всё это заранее, с содержанием коз зимой у фермера не возникнет никаких проблем.

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