Commercial producers may choose to raise kids entirely on grass and may only feed grain to does just before they kid and while they are nursing kids. Purebred producers often feed grain to kids until they are a year old to maximize growth.
Young kids can be started on a creep feed when they are a few weeks old. Begin with a grain ration at 18% to 20% protein and then decrease to 16% at weaning. Kids should have access to grain in a creep at all times. Supplying feed continuously will help to prevent problems with bloating and overeating disease. Be sure to vaccinate kids with types C & D antitoxin to prevent overeating disease (enterotoxemia). When making any changes to the grain ration, be sure to do it over several days to allow the kids to adjust to the change.
Mature does should not need any grain until the last third of their pregnancy and while they are nursing kids. The exception to this is during flushing. The grain does not have to be very high in protein as the does will need the energy supplied by the grain more than protein. Energy requirements for the doe increase in that last third of pregnancy and will affect the size and vigor of newborn kids as well as milk production. Shelled corn is an inexpensive way to supplement energy in a doe’s diet. Keeping energy levels up will also prevent pregnancy toxemia.
No matter what type of ration you feed to your goat herd, keep in mind that visual appraisal is still one of your best methods to determine if the feed is meeting the nutritional needs of the animals. Animals should be in average body condition and relatively healthy. Adjust rations for animals that are over conditioned or under conditioned.