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Goat Care Feeding & Nutrition

Goats are ruminants (with 4 stomach chambers)
When a Baby goat/kid is born, the only developed stomach chamber is the abomasum (true stomach)
Baby goats/Kids
initially function as a single-stomached animal.
As soon as a kid starts eating solid foods, its rumen begins to
When the kid chews its cud, all 4 chambers are functioning, and the animal has become a true ruminant
4 Stomach Chambers of a Goat:
Rumen ~ Largest chamber, representing about 80% of the stomach (fermentation vat)
Reticulum ~ 2nd chamber, looks like a honeycomb & functions as a fluid pump (actually part of the rumen, separated
by a partial wall)
Omasum ~ Also called many ply as it consists of folds of tissue for better absorption (like
leaves of a cabbage)
Abomasum ~ 2nd largest chamber & true stomach, where actual digestion occurs.

Grazing Goats

Ruminants require the proper proportion of roughage (Hay) to grain in order to maintain good rumen action. Adult goats that lack adequate fiber in their diets, lose rumen capacity, and their digestive systems begin to function more like those of a single-stomached animal.  Too much grain in relation to roughage works against rumen muscle tone.
When too much fiber is fed without necessary amounts of energy to aid digestion, rumen impaction may result.
Balance is best, even when you are feeding additional grain during milk production, make sure to feed a good quality hay for roughage, to keep the rumen in proper working order.
When a ruminant eats, food mixes with saliva and is sent down to the 1st & largest compartment of the stomach
To help fiber break down, soft masses of "cud" are sent back by the rumen to the mouth for re-chewing.
In both the rumen & the 2nd chamber (reticulum), fatty acids and vitamins produced during fermentation are absorbed into the goat's bloodstream.  In the 3rd & 4th chambers (omasum & abomasum), food is further liquefiedand broken down so that more of its nutrients can be absorbed.

Goat grazing tree

Do Not Feed Bucks/Wethers "Sweet Feed Grain".  If they require supplementation beyond hay, feed a grain pellet
specifically for bucks, or dry oatmeal, in moderation, is a good choice.

Feed Fresh, nutritious hay (with or without alfalfa - as needed).  Provide Clean water in a clean bucket (ice free in winter).
Loose minerals/mineral block that is available at all times. Salt, available in a separate dish or
Well balanced grain product for your does. It gives them added nutrients & minerals that they need. It is easy to over do it with grain, so watch your animals condition to determine how much/little they may need. During lactation, more protein is needed.

Nutrient Facts :

Manganese - Helps nervous and immune system functioning, joint function and the proper absorption of nutrients.
Found in spices (cloves, saffron, ginger), wheat, rice and oat brans, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Copper - Necessary for proper bone and cartilage development, it also works with iron to produce blood. Found in nuts, fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Iodine - Necessary for proper thyroid function. Also helps to promote healthy skin, nails, hair and teeth and to burn fat. Found in pineapple, raisins, cereals and grains.
Selenium - Assists thyroid function and acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from damaging free radicals. Aids in proper immune system function.
Found in plant products that are grown in selenium-rich soil and in wheat, corn and nuts.
Trace minerals are important. A lack of these essential minerals can lead to many types of disorders.