Considerations in Ration Formulation
Rations should be balanced not only for protein and energy but should be balanced for calcium and phosphorus as well. In addition, macrominerals should be supplemented and trace mineralized salt added. A vitamin premix should be used to provide at least half vitamins A and E.
If the diet is being fed at high levels to bucks or wethers, there is risk of urinary calculi. To prevent urinary calculi, the ration should be formulated with a minimum of phosphorus, more than twice as much calcium as phosphorus, and a urine acidifier, such as ammonium chloride at 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent of the diet. Salt can also be included in the diet, at 1 percent, to reduce the incidence of urinary calculi.
If the ration is being fed at high levels, sufficient fiber should be included in the diet to prevent acidosis. Dried brewers yeast and probiotics are often used in rations fed to animals at high levels to help prevent them from going off feed.
Feeds may have a coccidiostat included in the formulation to prevent coccidiosis. There are a number of coccidiostats, but Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs commonly used include Deccox and Rumensin. Since goats are very susceptible to coccidiosis when stressed, particularly at weaning or shipping, many starters and show feeds contain coccidiostats and have the term "medicated" on the feed tag. Management considerations to reduce coccidiosis incidence include sanitation, cleanliness and dry housing.
Reference: Hart, S. 2008. Meat Goat Nutrition. Pages 58-83 in Proc. 23rd Ann. Goat Field Day, Langston University, Langston, OK.