Goats Love Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are for feeding the birds. Except they can be fed to other livestock too.

My goats get fat easily. The usual ration of oats and corn makes them roly poly. This is not good.

Those extra pounds go on easily. They come off only with lots of effort. Goats aren’t concerned with their weight so they won’t put out this effort without coercion.

The corn disappeared from my goat’s diet.

Nubian doe High Reaches Violet likes sunflower seeds

High Reaches Violet is an easy keeper. And, yes, she is a little overweight. All right, she’s fat. But the pasture will put 50 pounds a month on a feeder steer. Her feed is cut back so she shouldn’t gain any more.

Corn does more than add calories to a feed ration. It adds fat which increases butterfat in the milk. Butterfat in the milk improves milk flavor.

Many years ago I put together a special feed mix for my goats. It had oats, corn, wheat bran and soybean meal in it along with some dried molasses and mineral mix. The goats liked it. It produced good tasting milk.

Wheat bran is hard to come by. Corn is off the ration list. I bought some soybean meal. This is high in protein and has fat in it.

When I was learning to milk, I worked with a man who used cottonseed meal for his cows. It made the butterfat greasy. Soybean meal didn’t seem to do that. This foray into soybean meal resulted in greasy milk.

I read some comments about feeding goats. The writers on the group kept talking about BOSS. I hated to ask what this was so I waited. Sure enough, someone wrote it out as black seeded sunflower seeds.

These seeds had fat in them along with minerals and fiber in the hulls. I decided to try them thinking the birds would like them if the goats didn’t.

My goats love sunflower seeds.

Nubian doe High Reaches Spring's Agate eats sunflower seeds

High Reaches Spring’s Agate stays sleek on grass and browse plus six handfuls of oats with a dribble of sunflower seeds a day. At eight months old she is half grown.

There was an unexpected bonus to that handful of sunflower seeds each milking. I’ve always kept old blankets around to put on the goats in the winter, if they got cold enough to start shivering.

The blankets are a hassle. They get covered with straw and manure, pulled off and trampled and torn. Still, the goats liked being warm when the weather turned nasty.

Feeding sunflower seeds has made the blankets almost into a memory. My goats don’t seem to get cold unless the temperature drops to below zero.

Another bonus are the shiny coats on my girls now. Their fur is softer.

My goats aren’t the only ones to appreciate sunflower seeds.

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