Merck Manual

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Overview of Nutrition: Goats


David G. Pugh

, DVM, MS, MAg, DACT, DACVN, DACVM, Auburn University

Last full review/revision Jan 2014 | Content last modified Jan 2014

Although goats and sheep have several similarities, their nutrient requirements differ in several ways. Goats exhibit significant differences from sheep in grazing habits, physical activities, feed selection, milk composition, carcass composition, and metabolic disorders. Goats browse more than sheep, whereas sheep tend to be true grazers. Still, many of the principles useful for sheep feeding and nutrition are applicable for goats. The basic assessment for nutritional well-being should be body condition or body fat covering. Goats in good flesh, or with normal fat stores, are usually being fed a diet with adequate energy and to a lesser extent, protein. (Also see Nutrition: Sheep.)

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