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There are more and more farmers that own dairy goats as well as the meat-and-fiber-producing goats on their farms. It is very important to take good care of the goats by giving them the right care and diet at all times. Some farmers feed their goats with corn, but is corn good for goats?
Cracked corn and a custom grain mixture can be a good diet option for any goat on the farm although some farmers say that corn is not good for goats mainly because the corn is too hard on the goat’s teeth.
Feeding corn to the goats can’t hurt them if they eat it in small amounts. The whole grain corn can be a bad idea for a diet option to any goat because it is really hard on their teeth. Corn is low in protein, but it offers your goat a certain amount of calcium which can contribute to the onset of Urinary Calculi in bucks.
Is corn good for goats?
If you’re thinking about changing the diet for the goats on your farm and are wondering if corn is a good option, the answer is yes. It is important to say that corn is safe for goats in small amounts. As I mentioned earlier, corn may not be rich in protein, but it gives goats a certain amount of calcium which is great for the animals.
One more important thing about corn is that it generates heat which can be used to your advantage during the cold wintertime. If you add corn to your goat’s diet, it will help to raise body temperature, but it is important to give them corn in small amounts.
You can also feed the goats with corn during the summer but it will have the same effect on their body temperature. By eating corn during the summer, the goat’s body temperature will raise which is not necessarily a good thing.
More and more farmers have a tendency to feed their goats with corn because corn is less expensive than other grains and balanced nutrition rations, but it is not necessary the best choice. The reason why corn is not the best choice for goats is that the whole corn is very tough on teeth. Because of this, the older goats will have difficulty grinding whole corn. In case you really want to feed your goats with corn because it is less expensive, choose cracked corn or crimped corn.
How much corn can I feed my goats?
It is better to give your goats little corn than too much of it in any case. Feeding the improper form of corn, feeding them corn at the wrong time, or feeding them too much of it can have serious consequences for the goats on the farm.
Farmers know that goats love to eat corn, however, the corn is relatively low in protein (8% CP) but it does contain a certain amount of calcium. Feeding corn to your goats is safe but only in small amounts. There is a tendency to feed your goat’s corn because it is less expensive. Nevertheless, it is very important never to feed more than 50% of the total diet, except for heavily producing dairy goats.
The adult goats should be fed a maximum of 1% of body weight in supplemental grain, and with lactating does it reaches a maximum of 1.5%. By feeding your goats a large number of grains it causes acidosis which results in a drop in rumen pH and a decrease in rumen motility.
Goats with acidosis will usually go off feed, show signs of depression for a few days, and have diarrhea as well. It is important to mention that there are some severe cases of acidosis that can cause death as well.
Goats that are fed high-grain diets can also contact enterotoxemia. The enterotoxemia is caused by epsilon toxin-producing Clostridium perfringens Type D. This disease causes symptoms such as pulpy kidneys, excess pericardial fluid, pulmonary edema, and hemorrhages on the serosal surfaces as well.
It is recommendable not to give your goats too much grain, maybe twice a week, and have them on pasture, browse and hay mostly. You can mix the grain with corn as a filler in a 2 parts grain to 1 part corn. Some goats seem to have no problems with eating corn whether it’s whole or cracked corn, but there are some that can’t grind it.
Feeding the goats with corn is fine as long as it is crushed and of very good quality. One must mention that humid or molded corn can harm goats due to mold’s high level of toxicity, leading to a wide variety of illnesses.
Is whole corn bad for goats?
There are a lot of rumors that the whole corn is bad for goats and if you’re asking yourself if it’s true, well it is. The whole grain corn is very bad for goat’s teeth. The whole corn is very hard and the goats have lots of trouble when grinding it. The biggest problem with grinding whole corn can be seen by older goats. Their teeth just can’t grind it which is a really bad thing if the whole grains corn is the only thing in their diet.
There is however a big difference between feeding your goats with whole corn and cracked corn. It is important to mention that these two react differently in the rumen. While the cracked corn falls directly to the bottom and is passed out of the rumen quickly, the whole corn swells, and is brought back up for cudding if the animal is getting enough fiber.
Some farmers say that their goats have no problems with eating whole corn as a part of their diet and nutritious mixture, and they get more nutritional value from it as well. However, most of the goats have problems grinding the whole corn.
Whole corn is a filler and it holds little nutritional value as opposed to the other grains that are usually fed to the goats. It is known that the goats love eating corn and a little corn in their feed won’t hurt but it is important to mention to be very careful not to feed much.
Is cracked corn good for goats?
It is always important to mention that even though you are considering feeding your goats with corn, it should be in really small amounts. If you do decide to incorporate corn in your goat’s diet, it is better if you use cracked corn.
There are farmers that feed their goats with steamed or cracked corn and have good experiences with it. However, corn is not the best feed for goats because it is very starchy and easily causes laminitis and ketosis.
It is also good to mention that it is hard for goats to digest the corn fast. Some farmers say that they add corn to the goat’s feed at night because it gives them more time to digest. You can also add cracked or steamed corn to your goat’s feed if you want them to gain weight, just don’t do it too often because it can mess up the protein/fat ratio.
Feeding corn to the goats is all in the timing. Cracked corn should be fed to different animals at different times in their lives. For example, goat kids should never have corn incorporated into their diets before they are about 14 days of age before their rumens start functioning. If you decide to add it to their feed, do it when the goat kid is at approximately 2 weeks of age.
We have already mentioned that it is very important to give your goats small amounts of corn if you decide to incorporate it in their feed and diet. This is very important because if a goat eats a large amount of corn, it is possible that it bloats and even kills a goat. The goats don’t handle sugars well and this is why corn is not the best dieting option for any goat.