Feed Intake with Adjustments of the Maintenance Energy Requirement - Mature 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. But, since the efficiency of energy use for gestation is markedly different than for maintenance, feed intake would not necessarily be predicted accurately for a goat in the last 56 days of gestation. Therefore, an adjustment for day of gestation based upon data of Tovar-Luna et al. (2007) has been included which predicts increasing intake to a peak at day 135-140 and then decreasing intake until parturition. Also, 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 50-kg goat with 0 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 Mature Goat Feed Intake Calculator without adjustment of the maintenance energy requirement (Option A), predicted DM intake is 0.82 kg.

However, if we assume that this is a meat goat female goat, predicted DM intake is 0.76 kg. These adjustments were made assuming that the maintenance ME requirement is 422.7 kJ/kg body weight (BW0.75) for meat and indigenous goats, 501.3 kJ/kg BW0.75 for dairy goats, and 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 0.84 kg.

If the maintenance energy requirement is also modified for an acclimatization adjustment of 0.16 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 0.85 kg.

1. Choose biotype of the goat
3. Enter body weight (kg)
4. Enter average daily gain (g/day)
5. Enter dietary CP concentration (% of DM)
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)
9. Enter % DM in diet (default is 90%)
Feed intake requirements increases in late pregnancy (95-150 days pregnant).

Enter day of pregnancy

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.

Nsahlai, I. V., A. L. Goetsch, J. Luo, Z. B. Johnson, J. E. Moore, T. Sahlu, C. L. Ferrell, M. L. Galyean, and F. N. Owens. 2004. Metabolizable energy requirements of lactating goats. Small Ruminant Research 53:253-273.

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.

Tovar-Luna, I., A.L. Goetsch, , R. Puchala, T. Sahlu, G.E. Carstens, H.C. Freetly, Z.B. Johnson. 2007. Efficiency of energy use for pregnancy by meat goat does with different litter size. Small Ruminant Research 71:583-91.