Feed is probably the most expensive part of raising goats. Without the proper food, goats cannot thrive which will affect the milk production and the size of the herd as well as the growth of the kids. In additional, poor nutrition will cause goat herds to become sickly and more prone to diseases.
Obviously, the least expensive part of feeding your goats is providing fresh, clean water for them to drink. A mature goat can consume as much as one and a half gallons of water a day. So it is critical that they have free and easy access to fresh, clean water at all times.
Goats require plenty of vitamins, protein, water and fiber to maintain good health and a good growth rate. The most economical way to ensure they receive the appropriate amount of food is to place them to pasture. The grass and other plants that they will graze on will provide the main source of the vitamins and minerals that they need and is high in protein as well.
Adding hay to their diet is done in the winter months when grass and other grazing plants are not available. Hay is available in a wide variety of vitamin and mineral content and the only way to know for sure what you are feeding them is to have the hay chemically analyzed. However, clover and alfalfa are high in protein at the first cut.
Grain is sometimes necessary as well. However, grain tends to provide a quick growth rate and this should be monitored closely so the goats do not become too heavy too quickly, resulting in a high fat content to their meat.