Dear Mohair Producer

Unfortunately Mohair producers in many areas are faced with drought conditions and are concerned about the feed requirements of the Angora goat.

Research into the nutritional requirements in survival diets of the Angora goat indicated:

  • Goats receiving daily survival diets performed poorer and had a higher mortality than those that are fed twice or just once a week.
  • Goats will survive more successfully and more economically on concentrate rich diets.


Products such as Browse Plus® are worth trying. It is a drinking water or infeed additive which enhances the animal’s digestive process and results in more nutrient utilisation.  It is useful in unfavourable feeding conditions when grazing is in short supply and therefore makes unpalatable plant material more palatable.


Supplementary feeding on Karoo veld during times of drought should emphasize energy-rich supplements followed by protein and minerals as the second and third limiting nutrients.

Under severe drought conditions a maintenance ration is fed just to keep animals alive.

Research projects in which animals are fed for maintenance illustrated that these animals are highly inefficient in utilising feeds if the nutrients available are not in balanced quantities.

 More importantly is that there is a large potential reduction in total feed requirements for maintenance of animals when nutrients are balanced. Balancing diets for ruminants in supplementary feeding situations will result in animals in much better condition at the end of the drought, because they use the available feed more efficiently.


What are the minimum requirements of an Angora goat?


  1. Energy

Maintenance energy requirements of Angora goats to keep them alive ( MJ/day) relative to common feeds used during times of drought.



Remember lactating goats require 2.5X the requirement of a dry goat.

  1. Protein

Protein requirement for maintenance

For information on feeding Lucerne hay see our website:

For more information on licks and examples of licks see our website:

For those wanting to understand ‘What’s in a bag of feed’ may be interested in an article on  our website :

Farmers using American aloe ‘Garingboom’(Agave americana) as a drought feed may be interested in a study conducted by Grootfontein on American aloe as a feed source for sheep. The study indicated that American aloe was able to satisfy 64% of the maintenance requirements of mature sheep, but that the best results were obtained at an inclusion level of 45% in maintenance diets with 55% lucerne. American aloe has a low protein (3-4%) content.

American Aloe in excess can lead to toxic effects:

  1. Lameness (stiffness).The primary cause of the condition is an acid-overload resulting from large intakes of American aloe, which has a relatively low pH (approximately 4,3). Affected animals suggested some resemblance to the "stiffness" syndrome seen in ruminants suffering from a grain-overload. Therefore a similar approach to that used to overcome the problem of grain-overload and subsequent acidosis, and which led to the "alkali-ionophore" treatment of grain (chocolate grain). Chopped American aloe treated similarly by adding half a percent of slaked lime to can prevent the condition.
  2. Oxolate poisoning can cause kidney failure, hypocalcaemia, gastrointestinal stasis and coma. Oxolate poisoning can also occur in drought conditions when goats eat excessive ‘vygies’which also contain oxolates.

Oxolate  bind with calcium in the blood to cause hypocalcaemia and the calcium oxalate can crystalize in the kidneys to cause kidney failure.

Sheep become conditioned after about 4 days when slowly introduced to oxalates.

Treatment involves: calcium borogluconate which helps the hypocalcaemia but can’t reverse the kidney damage.


Hoping that this information is not needed as it rains soon!


Dr Mackie Hobson



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