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Goats, like many other animals, poop pellets due to a number of things involved – they’re herbivorous animals, meaning they eat only plants, they have a four-compartment stomach and we can’t forget the quality of life and surroundings they’re in. To find out why goats poop pellets, all of those things need to be taken into consideration.
Goats poop pellets due to the way their digestive system works as well as to factors such as a well-balanced diet and a certain intake of water.
It’s not just the fact they’re herbivorous animals or that they have a four-compartment stomach that is important, but more so the exact diet and water intake they consume on the daily as well as the exact way their whole digestive system – not just the stomach is formed. To find more about that, keep on reading.
What influences the shape of poop?
The intro to the digestive system of a Goat
Animals with a four-compartment stomach are called ruminants – cattle, sheep, and deer as well as goats all ruminants. The four compartments of the stomach are the reticulum, rumen, omasum, and abomasum or as it is often called, true stomach.
The digestive system of a goat is much more complex than that of a monogastric or simple-stomached animal and humans. They consume food with the help of acidic breakdown due to the enzymatic digestion that goes on within the small intestine.
In ruminants or four-compartment stomach animals, the food first goes through microbial digestion in the parts which are called the reticulum and rumen, also called reticulo-rumen. This allows ruminants to consume and derive needed nutrients from grass, hay, leaves, and browse. Reticulo-rumen contains microorganisms that aid in the breakdown and digestion of food, and fibrous components of grass, forbs, and browse that are harder to digest by monogastric animals and humans. The ability to breakdown and digest fibrous contents heavily influences the way goats to digest food and eventually the way the poop forms and looks like. The digestion that goes on within the rumen provides a large part of the energy needed for an animal as the food (or better said its nutrients) that goes through gets derived by the walls of the rumen.
What is left of the food that the animal consumes are the byproducts of digestion and it flows further on, from the reticulo-rumen to the omasum where the food is digested further on and water reabsorbed. After the omasum digestion, the rest of the material flows to the abomasum where it is further digested due to acidic digestion and then on to the small intestine for more digestion through enzymatic digestion and nutrient absorption and is mixed with enzymatic secretions.
The rumen and reticulum are rather large in a proportion to the goat’s body and weight. The digestion period goes on for about 3 days and whatever they eat is completely digested within that time frame. What also influences the way their poop looks is their high metabolic rate which requires high amounts of energy and is usually derived within the walls or the rumen, as mentioned before.
Due to this process, the materials which go through this process and cannot be used are reduced to the form of small balls or pellets.
Except for water and nutrients being thoroughly extracted through this digestion process, like camels, goats economize the use of water which influences the look of poop as very little water gets to the end process of digestion.
The importance of proper digestive system function in forming of the feces
As mentioned beforehand, proper digestion of dietary fiber influences the way poop pellets look like.
The rumen ensures the synthesizing of all vitamin B needs while in low protein diets, the protein can be synthesized from nitrogen which is recycled in the goads body.
For ruminal to function normally, goats have to have a balanced diet with a certain level of fiber. If the goat’s fed a very high-grain diet, it can lead to inadequate fiber consumption and thus to several disease conditions.
Goats are herbivorous animals, meaning they eat only plants.
A mature goat digestive system consists of the mouth, esophagus, four stomach compartments, small intestine, cecum, and large intestine. The most important part of a goat’s digestive system or the part which influences the shape of poop the most is the large intestine. Colon and rectum comprise the large intestine and influence the shape of poop or in a goat’s case, fecal pellets.
The shape of poop in goats is influenced by a number of things involved.
For example, if we are to look at a rabbit’s feces, we would see that it is formed into the pellets by the colon, out of which it is then pushed out into the rectum at a rhythmical pace which leads to a feces of a somewhat similar shape and size.
The rectum plays a role due to different animals having different internal muscles which are influencing the process of forming feces, to a degree. The rectum helps in forming the feces size by working as a sort of a press which leads to a somewhat similar shape in an animal’s feces.
There are animals who do not have a colon or a sphincter and thus get the shape of the feces all due to their rectum, whilst animals like goats who do have a colon do not rely only on the rectum but rather a combination of the colon and the rectum.
The diet influences the shape of feces greatly. The ability to utilize woody plants or weeds and conversion into a saleable product is the goat’s greatest asset as it is typically not consumed by other species of animals such as cattle and sheep.
If we were to take a cow, for example, an animal who has a fibrous diet and due to that has soupy feces. A fibrous diet is a diet that includes a lot of fiber-rich foods like, leaves and stems of corn, wheat and oats, grains and corn kernel and it affects the pellets’ consistency.
To be able to run smoothly, a goat’s complex digestive system requires different types and amounts of food.
In order to be well balanced, ratios below should be utilized:
Grass Hay: 50%
Hay is essential as it provides much of the nutrition as well as dry roughage to help balance the moisture and fiber content in the rumen and thus affecting the way goat poop pellets look like. There are different types of hay.
Keep an eye out for brown hay – while some browning is considered normal, very brown hay could result in low nutrition and is eventually a waste of money.
Grass hay is a blend of various grasses like timothy hay, orchard grass, swamp grass, or fescue. Different grasses hold different protein, fiber, and mineral values. You can either hay your own field with a wanted mix of grass or ask your supplier for what you think is the best mix. It is important to know hay’s nutritional content. Grass hay protein falls around 7-8%.
Alfalfa is a plant that has been used to feed livestock for hundreds of years. Although a part of the legume family, it is also considered an herb. Compared to other feed sources, it’s been prized for its superior protein, vitamin, and mineral nutritional values. Its content of protein is double that of grass hay. Unlike grass hay protein, which falls around 7-8%, Alfalfa’s protein falls around double that or 16%. As it is that rich in its content, it should be portioned into flakes all depending on the goat’s body weight and needs and not fed on a free-choice basis.
As they are natural grazers, goats thrive when exposed to adequate pasture. They feed on leaves, tree branches, brambles, etc. Although it is something natural for them, they should be introduced to pasture slowly in order to help their digestive system regulate the fresh and wet grass as it can be particularly hard on the system. Hay needs to be provided simultaneously to ensure a balanced system.
With domestication, goats were introduced to grain – something they were not meant to eat too much of since in nature, they would have a hard time finding any. The grain helps the goat get all of its needed nutrition of protein and it should be chosen according to the goat’s body weight. It is important to be careful with feeding the grain to goats and to do it gradually in order to prevent overwhelming the bacteria in the rumen.
Treats: 5% or less
For a happy goat, use some treats. Except to make them happy, treats help them learn certain behavior, for example, to teach them to come when they are called upon.
Benefits of goat poop
If the goat’s digestive system is taken care of properly, the goat will produce healthy poop and healthy poop can be used for good purposes.
Unlike that of cows or horses, goat manure is odorless and beneficial for the soil and can be used as fertilizer to produce healthier plants and crop yields. If the goat’s fed properly and adequately, it will affect the production of manure in the same ways. The manure will also contain nutrients that can be utilized to ensure the growth of whatever the manure is used for as a fertilizer.
The best utilization of goat manure brings us to the importance of a proper digestive system as well as the importance of good and nutritional food. These factors influence the way poop forms into poop pellets and thus makes it great for use in direct applications to flower and vegetable gardens as it’s easy to spread and till.