In this article I'm looking at; can chickens eat goat feed? - and what the possible benefits and issues are.
If you're raising goats and/or other animals along with chickens, I'm sure you've spotted your animals helping themselves to other animals' feeds.
All animal feeds are specially formulated for the animals it's intended for, but the good news is that few are dangerous for other animals!
If your chickens help themselves to your goats' feed, here's what you need to know:
Can Chickens Eat Goat Feed?
The short answer is that chickens can - and I'm sure they will - eat goat feed without any issues, as long as it's in moderation!
Chickens have some specific dietary requirements to be able to lay strong, tasty eggs on a regular basis and maintain optimal health.
All of a chicken's nutritional requirements are easily met with a good quality commercial chicken feed - and ideally supplemented with some bugs, plant matter, etc, they find while scratching around.
A couple of the key minerals and nutrients that are very different between chickens and goats are:
Laying hens need to consume around 4 grams of calcium per day to lay eggs at their best, and a layer feed will typically be around 4% calcium.
Goats, on the other hand, need some calcium in their diet to prevent parturient paresis and stay healthy, but nowhere near as much as a hen.
Protein is also essential to a hen's wellbeing. Protein is what all their feathers are made from, and it's also essential for a hen to stay healthy and lay eggs at their best.
A chicken layer feed is typically 16% protein, and a starter feed is 20-22% While goats typically need around 7-8% protein in their diets to maintain optimal health.
As you can see, if you look at chicken feed vs goat feed, the nutritional makeup is very different - as are the needs of each of these animals!
Is Goat Feed Bad for Chickens?
Goat feed is not bad for chickens - as you can see above, there are some differences in the nutritional needs of these animals, but overall, a chicken can safely eat goat feed.
One thing to keep in mind is that if your chickens are eating a significant amount of goat feed (or any other animal feed), it's important to make sure they're getting enough of the right nutrients to stay healthy.
Ideally, you'll limit the amount of goat feed your chickens are helping themselves to.
This might mean locking up feeders or keeping your chickens away from the goat feed, but it's a good idea to do whatever it takes.
How to Feed Your Chickens a Balanced Diet
The best way to make sure your chickens are getting all the nutrients they need is to feed them a good quality commercial chicken feed.
There are different types of feeds available, depending on what stage of life your chicken is in.
You can supplement your chicken's diet with some scratch grains, kitchen scraps, or other treats, but the base of their diet should be good quality chicken feed.
Chickens are pretty smart when it comes to eating enough of the right foods to maintain good health, but they do need a little help!
If your chooks are gaining access to your goats' feed, it sounds like their free-range.
This is also great for chickens as it enables them to scratch around and find tasty bugs, insects, etc, and the animal proteins are good for them.
Can Goats and Chickens Live Together?
Yes, goats and chickens can live together quite happily!
They're both social animals and enjoy being around other animals and I know of a lot of homesteads and farms that allow chickens and goats to coexist.
The major issue of goats and chickens living together is always going to be eating each other's feed as I've already covered.
What Do I Do If My Goat Ate Chicken Feed?
If your goat ate chicken feed, don't panic!
As I said above, the nutritional needs of these animals are different, but a goat can safely eat some chicken feed.
In fact, if you own goats I'm sure you'll be well aware that goats can seemingly eat just about anything!
The main thing you need to watch out for is that your goat is getting enough of the right nutrients and not too much of the wrong ones.
Chickens and goats are both a lot of fun to have on the homestead or farm, and they can live together quite happily.
The main thing you need to be aware of is that their nutritional needs are different, so if your animals have access to each other's feed, make sure they only have a nibble!
You don't need to worry about either animal getting sick or anything like that, as long as they're getting enough of their own food.