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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How To Make Homemade Dairy Goat Feed


  Well looky here! We've got a new tutorial! Three cheers for Caity, who never seems to do these when she intends to!! Wait, wha? Oh never mind...

 Goat food. Recipe. More specifically, dairy goat food recipe. Yep, I live an exciting life. Instead of doing what the average 21 year old does, this one writes down and tries out recipes to feed goats. What can I say? I like to live life on the edge; with lots of danger and excitement. 'Cause, um, goat food is so -- so -- risky and thrilling? Okay, I give. I plead guilty to being a farm girl. And one who likes to cut costs when possible, increase profit, and be able to customize my own feed for my stock. That's excitement enough for me. :)

 Almost seven years ago I started looking around for a way to make my own custom feed for my milking does. The feed at the store was something like $17 for a 50 lb. bag and not only did that NOT last long, but it had corn, soy, and a bunch of empty fillers in it; none of which I wanted my does to eat since I was trying to keeping things corn free/soy free for the sake of my customers. I was pretty clueless at first. What in the world did people feed their goats back in the old days? Can you really mix your own feed? *skeptical tone and look*

  Then I found a recipe that seemed easy enough to make, proved to be cost effective, and the goats did AMAZINGLY on it. I've used this recipe ever since. I've even fed it to my dairy cows (with a slight modification that is explained below). So I thought I would share my recipe with y'all; if you're looking to try making your own feed for your caprine friends, then give this one a whirl!

Homemade Dairy Goat Ration

Ingredients:
50 lbs. Rolled barley
50 lbs. oats; whole, crushed, or rolled... Doesn't matter unless you're feeding cows. Then you want it crushed/rolled to increase digestibility.
3 lbs. Linseed meal
1 lb. kelp meal
Molasses to coat everything

The barley is essential for this mix. Barley = milk. The oats can be replaced with a different grain, but take care that you look into how that changes the protein content. This mix is supposed to come out averaging 16% to 18% protein, but you may want to check that on your own since grain can vary in protein content from area to area. 

To Mix:

1. Find a big clean tarp (those blue, 10'x12' ones work great) and a clean leaf rake. These are your grain mixing tools!

2. Dump the oats and barley onto the tarp and use that rake to start mixing it all together. This can take a few minutes.

3. Once the grain is thoroughly mixed, scatter the linseed meal and kelp meal over it all and gently spread it out. Over mixing at this point will make it all sift to the bottom, which makes the next step a bit harder...

4. Pour molasses over and mix that in too until you get a slightly tacky, but still well coated mix. How much molasses does it take? I can't say for sure. I've gotten nice thick batches of molasses where it only took 12 cups to coat 100+ lbs. of feed, and I've gotten thin batches that took loads of that sticky, sweet stuff to coat everything. I would probably suggest starting with 10-12 cups worth and then working your way up from there. It takes a LOT of mixing to really coat everything. It's almost like you have to "rub" it into the grain with that rake. When you think you've gotten everything coated, pull on a tarp corner to get the bottom flipped onto the top and then get that coated. Yep, right when you think you're done, you'll find that you're not. ;)

5. Store! I kept my grain in metal trash cans meant specifically for grain. I find that this stuff stores pretty well (I think 40-50 days is the longest I've ever had this stuff hang around before it all got eaten), although since we don't get REALLY hot days here in Oregon, or humidity, I can't say what the shelf life of it would be for those of you who get real summers.

  You may have noticed that I didn't include any salt in the mix; that's because I offer salt free choice at all times to my goats/cows. The kelp meal is a nutritional powerhouse that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other such goodies, but not all of my goats would eat it free choice. Hiding it in the molasses coated feed got it in them no problem.

  So there you have it! It's easy to make, relatively cheap, and you are able to choose what is - or isn't - in your feed. :)
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24 comments:

Penelope T. said...

Oh, this looks good enough to eat myself! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm going to have to find a source of barley.

Goat Song said...

It actually does taste pretty good! ;) More than once I've popped a small bit in my mouth just to test taste it (spoiled goaties... LOL.).

Anonymous said...

Definitely going to have to try this. We're on a commercial pellet from a major corporation, and I'd love to get our goats off it, just on general principles. :-) Is Linseed meal available at most feed stores? Thanks.

Goat Song said...

I can only speak for the 2-3 feeds stores that are in my area, but they do seem to all carry this on a regular basis. If yours doesn't carry it, ask them if they can special order it; most can. I will warn you that this stuff is rather pricey (I pay almost $70 for a 50 lb. bag), but it will last you a LOOOOOONG time since you're only using 3 lbs. of it for every 100 lbs. of grain.

Lisa said...

Do you know if this is okay for sheep too?

Goat Song said...

Lisa, it should be just fine for lactating sheep. :) If you want to feed it to dry, unbred, or male sheep, then you might want to lower the protein.

Jessica said...

This is a lot like a homemade chicken feed recipe I saw. Could this be fed to laying hens to keep things simple?

Jessica Anderson said...

Absolutely LOVE this recipe and the idea that it could be this easy to feed my goats! Thank you very much for sharing it, and I fully intend to try it on my goats when I receive them. I wonder, just as Jessica did, if it would be good for laying hens, as well as roosters. It would make things so much simpler ;)
If this works I'll recommend to all my animal friends :D

Lewis Arahood said...

How many goats are you feeding with this recipe? I've got 6 milkers right now, and boy-oh-boy is organic grain pricey! Trying to find a good homemade one to cut some costs.

Thanks in advance!
Lee @ Rock Paper Scissors Goat Dairy

Katie Riddle said...

This looks fabulous. I'm going to try it. Great instructions, too. Thank you! Our goats thank you too. :)

James Olson said...

Where did you get the ingredients for the goat feed??

Jessie said...

I'd also like to know if this could be used as chicken feed too?

Glenn, Rachel, & Nestor said...

What would the protein of this mix be? Thanks

Glenn

Goat Song said...

Glenn,
The protein of this mix is right around 18%.

Fine Folly said...

Have you considered using a cement mixer to work this up? Any idea if it would work easier/more thoroughly?

Sarah Conant Pascal said...

Is it organic? Thanks-Sarah

Sarah Conant Pascal said...

Is it organic? Thanks-Sarah

Goat Song said...

Sarah, it can be if you use organic ingredients.

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me roughly how much of this feed to feed per goat each day? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

lynne-bug said...

How much are you feeding you dairy goats per day?

lynne-bug said...

How much are you feeding you dairy goats per day?

Kasey Ripley said...

Is there something that can be used besides the lindseed? My local co-op doesn't offer it.

I second the question, can this be used for chicken feed? My hens are free range, but I do offer them a pellet feed in thier coop to make sure they stay well fed.

amanda archer said...

Can this be used for all goats? bucks kids and does??

now we are 5 said...

Do you feed this to your does all the time or just when they're in milk?