Feeding Goats Fermented Grains

Homesteading with goats is beneficial for many purposes. Whether you are raising goats for milk, meat, or to clear brush it is necessary to offer a balanced diet. A healthy herd begins with what they are being fed. Feeding goats fermented grains, while offering the opportunity to forage for roughage and a quality hay will do just that.

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Raising Goats

Small acre homesteaders who do not have room for dairy or beef cows often resort to raising goats. These bleating, bouncy creatures bring as much joy as they do frustration. But for those of us who are homesteading with goats, they also bring much value.

The truth is, goats play an important role in living a sustainable life. 

  • Lactating does for milk production
  • Bucks for breeding purposes
  • A sustainable meat source
  • Clearing brush
  • Kept as pets

Regardless of why you are raising goats they require the same basic nutrition. However, how much a goat consumes on a daily basis will depend on the breed’s weight and what they are raised for.

A goat’s diet should primarily consist of roughage found as it is foraging, with grains being offered in strict moderation. 

Grains being offered to a lactating doe will help with milk production, whereas meat goats are offered grains to optimize muscle growth. Bucks in rut receive nutritional grains to keep them energized (if you get my drift) during the breeding season.

Goats which are kept as pets or used to clear brush often receive grains to help replace roughage when it is sparse. For example, during bad weather, winter months, or when pasture space is limited. And truth be told, providing grains, whether fermented or raw, helps to keep goats tame.

Let me be honest, I bribe my small goat tribe with grains daily. This has helped to control the mischief behavior of my Nigerian wether, Silvie.

feeding goats fermented grains

Goat Feed Options

Before you begin homesteading with goats there are a few important fact you will need to know. Goats are not grazers but instead browsers. Don’t get me wrong, they will graze, but prefer consuming woody brush as they are foraging. Also, because they are ruminant animals, browsing for woody brush is a much healthier option than consuming grass in a pasture.

Again, a very important tip to remember, offer grains in small amounts. Goats truly benefit in consuming a low-protein diet throughout the day. That is their natural diet. Offering a large amount of a high protein goat feed, such as grains, runs the risk of potential health issues. Bloat, excessive weight gain, urinary calculi, and ketosis being a few of these issues.

With this in mind, following the feed ratio below will help to keep goats in prime health.

  • Roughage through Foraging – free choice
  • High Quality Grass Hay – free choice, secondary to foraging
  • Grains – Raw or Fermented Grains – in small amounts
    • Lactating does – 1/2 to 1 pounds daily per doe while in milk
    • Buck in Rut – 1 to 2 pounds daily per buck during breeding season
    • Kids – 1/2 pound per kid to help promote growth
    • Non-commercial animals (brush clearing or pets) are fed grains based on breed and weight. Generally 1 pound of grains is offered for every 100 pounds of animal.
Offering Fermented or Raw Cracked Grains

I don’t think I need to convince you about the benefits of consuming fermented foods. However, many of you will need convincing as to why a goat herd should be offered fermented grains. 

The fermentation process starts when bacteria found on raw grains begins to partially break down the starch. Once fermentation has occurred the enzyme content on the grains improves, and the levels of vitamins B, C, and K increases while boosting the protein content within the grains. Also, fermented goat feed is easily digestible to goats.

Because fermented grains are almost fully absorbed into the body, goats distribute very little waste (poop). In addition to little waste, goats that consume fermented grains fill-up faster, which allows for a reduction in how much feed is being offered. 

One last tip, fermented grains allow the animals to remain hydrated, while allowing for the consumption of a natural probiotic versus a synthetic option. 

Now, some of you may not be ready to jump on the fermenting train, and that’s okay! The herd still benefits by consuming a high quality cracked grain. Cracked grains, unlike whole grains, are easily digestible, however, they do not offer the same amazing benefits as fermented grains. 

 Homesteading with Goats, Poultry, and Fowl

Keeping goats, poultry, and fowl healthy begins with what they are being fed. In comparison to pellet feed, whole or cracked grains are the best option. In addition to fermenting grains for goats, begin fermenting whole grains for poultry and fowl.

Fermented Chicken Feed | The Health Benefits

Supplies for Feeding Goats Fermented Grains 
  • High Quality Grains – Any type of grain will work, however, cracked organic goat feed offered by Scratch and Peck Feed is much more versatile option. 
  • Fermenting Vessel – The fermenting vessel size will depend on the herd size. More times than not, a gallon size pickling jar will do for a tribe consisting of 4 members, whereas those with a larger herd require the use of 5 gallon buckets. 
  • Slotted Spoon – Goats enjoy consuming the fermented grains and fines, not necessarily the liquid in which the grains were fermented. A slotted spoon will help to separate the grains from the liquid. 
  • Feeding Container – Offering feed in bowls which are raised off the ground will aid in better digestion.

feeding goats fermented grains

Steps for Fermenting Cracked Grains

Remember, how much grains to offer will depend on the weight of the goat and the purpose for which they are being raised. Goats which are being raised for dairy or meat purposes, in rut, or are young kids still growing have a strict feeding regiment. However, goats raised as pets or used to clear brush do not. 

Alright, let’s begin!

Day 1

    1. Fill fermenting bucket with the appropriate amount of grains.
    2. Add water, cover grains by 3 to 4 inches
    3. Stir grains to ensure the water has reached the bottom of the vessel. Add additional water if needed. 
    4. Cover vessel with dishcloth allowing the gases to release during the fermentation process. If using a bucket, drill holes in the lids to allow the gases to release.
    5. Grains must be covered with water at all times to prevent potential mold issues. 

Day 2

Repeat Step 1 to 3

Day 3

    1. Using a slotted spoon scoop grains from the liquid into feed bowls. Depending on the goat, some of the liquid may also be added to the feed bowls, allowing some of the fines to be consumed as well. 
    2. Begin another vessel of fermented grains by following the steps in Day 1.

Notes

  1. The prime temperature for fermenting grains is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Do not allow the fermenting process to extend past 3 days. The ferment can become too sour, turning unappealing for many goats.
  3. Discard any remaining fermented feed at the end of the day. Adjust the amount of dry feed you use for the next batch to reduce having wasted fermented feed at the end of the day.

Grab a copy of my book, The Farm Girl's Guide to Preserving the Harvest.

From my farmhouse kitchen to yours, an easy to comprehend guide which walks you though every phase of home food preservation. Learn  how to can, dry, ferment, cure, freeze, and storing fresh foods for long term storage. Included you will also find some of my favorite preserving recipes!

Printable Instruction Card – Feeding Goats Fermented Cracked Grains

Saving on feed cost is a major factor in homesteading with goats. This feed option will not only cut down the amount of feed being offered, it is overall a healthier option for the herd. Which in short means, more milk and better meat. Is this worth it? Absolutely.

Feel free to print instruction card until a comfort level is established. 

Feeding Goats Fermented Cracked Grains 

Equipment

  • Fermenting Vessel - The herd size will depend on the size of the fermenting vessel. More times than not, a gallon size pickling jar will do for a tribe consisting of 4 members, whereas those with a larger herd require the use of 5 gallon buckets.
  • Slotted Spoon - Goats enjoy consuming the fermented grains and fines before consuming any of the liquid in which the grains sat. A slotted spoon will help to separate the grains from the liquid.
  • Feeding Container - Offering feed in bowls which are raised off the ground will aid in better digestion.

Ingredients

  • High Quality Grains, using cracked grains serve two purposes -fermentation and the option to feeding raw.

Instructions

Day 1

  • Fill fermenting bucket with the appropriate amount of grains.
  • Add water covering the grains by 3 to 4 inches
  • Stir grains to ensure the water has reached to the bottom of the vessel. Add additional water if needed.
  • Cover vessel with dishcloth allowing the gasses to release during the fermentation process. If using a bucket, drill holes in the lids to allow the gases to release.
  • Grains must be covered with water at all times to prevent potential mold issues.

Day 2

  • Repeat Day 1

Day 3

  • Repeat Day 1

Day 4

  • Using a slotted spoon scoop grains from the liquid into feed bowls. Depending on the goat some of the liquid may also be added to the feed bowls, allowing some of the fines to be consumed as well.
  • Begin another vessel of fermented grains by following the steps in Day 1.

Notes

The prime temperature for fermenting grains is between 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Do not allow the fermenting process to extend past 3 days. The ferment can become too sour, turning unappealing for many goats.
Discard any remaining fermented feed at the end of the day. 

feeding goats fermented grains

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