Spring arrives with fresh, nutritious grass than enthuses the goats to graze with gusto. However, be warned. Goats not used to eating fresh grass may quickly get digestive disorders. This is especially true of goats kept indoors for winter and released in the spring. Those outdoor all year round will have adapted to some extent to the rich growth.
You can help goats adjust to freshly-growing pasture by providing bicarbonate of soda that they can freely access at any time. Bicarb helps them to avoid bloat or diarrhoea caused by eating too much rich grass. It helps to keep the rumen moving. You can buy it as a powder from chemists, food retailers or agricultural merchants. Goats simply lap it up from a feed bowl as required. In addition, keep up the supply of hay and a mineral lick, so they can balance their own diet as they need.
A word of warning: you’ll need to limit the free-availability of bicarb to those times when grass is freshly growing. Goats are sensitive to the taste of salt and will access the salt/mineral lick when they feel the need for salt. However, bicarb satisfies this urge. Freely ingesting bicarb will reduce their appetite for the mineral lick, so they may miss out on any other minerals they require if constantly supplied bicarb. An alternative is to mix bicarb in with their treats (or supplements if they are lactating) during the spring onset of pasture growth, rather than allowing them to serve themselves.