Feed Intake with Adjustments of the Maintenance Energy Requirement - Growing Goats

Feed intake prediction equations were developed from data with goats in confinement and without appreciable impact of factors such as acclimatization or grazing (Luo et al., 2004). Similarly, it was not possible to address gender. However, the physiological premise on which the equations were based suggests that they could be appropriately used with maintenance energy requirements adjusted for various factors. Therefore, it was felt desirable to include as an option a feed intake calculator that includes adjustments. Because the method of intake prediction involved assumed efficiencies of energy metabolism for different functions and maintenance energy requirements, an adjustment for body condition score as influenced by previous nutritional plane, which may influence both factors, was not included. Other considerations mentioned for Option A, such as suggested caution when there is considerable body weight loss and unlikely predictions with unreasonable inputs, are applicable for this option as well.


Let's assume a 25-kg meat goat with 75 g average daily gain (ADG) consuming a diet with 11% crude protein (CP) and 11 MJ/kg dry matter (DM) of metabolizable energy (ME). For these conditions, based on the Growing Goat Feed Intake Calculator without adjustment of the maintenance energy requirement (Option A), predicted DM intake is 0.68 kg.

However, if we assume that this is a female goat, predicted DM intake is 0.64 kg. This adjustment was made assuming that the maintenance ME requirement is 15% less for females and wethers compared with intact males.

If the maintenance energy requirement is then adjusted for a grazing factor of 1.13 (grazing plus walking time = 7 hours; distance traveled = 4 km; terrain score = 2), then predicted DM intake is 0.71 kg.

If the maintenance energy requirement is also modified for an acclimatization adjustment of 0.09 MJ (average daily temperature for the previous 30 days = 18 degrees C; mid-point temperature of the thermoneutral zone = 20 degrees C), predicted DM intake becomes 0.72 kg.

1. Choose biotype of the goat
3. Enter body weight (kg)
4. Enter average daily gain (g/day)
Enter dietary ME concentration (MJ/kg DM)
You can use the TDN calculator below and the ME concentration will be entered automatically.
(1 = no adjustment; multiplicative)
(0 = no adjustment; additive, MJ)
8. Enter % DM in diet (default is 90%)
To convert from English to metric system,
enter your values here.
They will be automatically entered into the table to the left.


To estimate the dietary ME concentration, often feed tags list the Total Digestible Nutrient (TDN) concentration. Likewise, most commercial feed laboratories estimate the TDN concentration based on various analyses, such as for crude protein and fiber fractions.

The ME concentration can be calculated with these simple formulas:
ME (MJ/kg) = TDN (%) × 0.15104 and
ME (Mcal/kg) = TDN (%) × 0.0361.

Enter TDN (%)
ME (MJ/kg)
ME (Mcal/kg)

Predicted ME intake (MJ):
Predicted DM intake (kg):
Predicted DM intake (% BW):
Predicted as fed intake (kg):
Predicted as fed intake (% body weight):

The sources used in this calculation method are:

Luo, J., A. L. Goetsch, I. V. Nsahlai, J. E. Moore, M. L. Galyean, Z. B. Johnson, T. Sahlu, C. L. Ferrell, and F. N. Owens. 2004. Voluntary feed intake by lactating, Angora, growing and mature goats. Small Ruminant Research 53:357-378.

NRC. 2000. Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle, Update 2000. National Academy Press, Washington, DC.

Sahlu, T., A. L. Goetsch, J. Luo, I. V. Nsahlai, J. E. Moore, M. L. Galyean, F. N. Owens, C. L. Ferrell, and Z. B. Johnson. 2004. Nutrient requirements of goats: developed equations, other considerations and future research to improve them. Small Ruminant Research 53:191-219.