Perhaps you have a garden full of broccoli and need to do something with the excess. Or, maybe you are just looking for some healthy treats for your goats. This may lead you to asking: Can goats eat broccoli?
Goats are known for their insatiable appetites. Many people believe that goats are bottomless pits that can consume any type of food or material without any adverse effects. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though, and even some healthy vegetables can be dangerous for goats to consume.
Before you go trying to feed your goat a plate of broccoli, there are a few things about the treat that you need to know.
Can Goats Eat Broccoli
Yes, goats can eat broccoli in small portions without you having to worry about issues. This is a treat that should be heavily portioned, though, as Broccoli is part of the brassica family of plants. This plant family is known to be harder to digest for goats, so depending on the individual, it may not make the best treat.
Broccoli also naturally contains sulfur. As you probably already have guessed, ingesting too much sulfur isn’t healthy for your goat and should be avoided. If your goat ends up having too much sulfur in its body, then they want to be able to digest it. This will lead to the sulfur becoming toxic and can cause some major issues.
These issues can range from something as small as a stomach aches to tissues in the goat’s brain dying, depending on the amount of sulfur that was ingested.
Broccoli also contains glucosinolates that, when consumed in excess, can lead to thyroid problems and goiters. It’s extremely important to not feed your goat too much broccoli and never exceed more than 20% of their diet in this treat.
If your goat has consumed a large amount of broccoli, then keep a close watch on them. If they show any signs of sickness like vomiting, then contact your vet and provide them with plenty of clean water.
If you are planning to grow broccoli, then make sure your goat can’t get into your crops. To do this, put a fence around the broccoli.
This will ensure that you don’t have any mishaps on your hand and will most likely save you a ton of money in the long run, as you won’t need to get your vet to make a house visit to treat your sick goat.
Can Goats Eat Cooked Broccoli
Yes, goats can eat cooked broccoli as long as you haven’t added anything extra in. You should never serve broccoli with additives such as salt or cheese. If you have a broccoli dish with seasoning from the grocery store, do not give it to your goat, chances are that they can’t digest the seasoning well.
Can Goats Eat Raw Broccoli?
Yes, raw broccoli is usually what goat owners give to their goats as treats. Just make sure to clean it off before giving it to your goat.
Can Goats Eat Broccoli Stems?
Yes, goats can eat the stems of broccoli, just ensure that they are free from pesticides. You will need to experiment to figure out what your goat's favorite part of the broccoli plant is.
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Can Goats Eat Broccoli Leaves?
Yes, the whole Broccoli plant, including its leaves, can safely be eaten by your goat. Once again, make sure to wash the leaves off if they are bought from the store or if you used pesticides on your plants.
How to Feed Your Goats Broccoli
Before you feed your goat broccoli, there are a few things that you should keep in mind. First off, remember that they contain sulfur and glucosinolates, which can be toxic if your goat builds up an excess in their body.
Next, you will want to thoroughly wash off the broccoli before you give it to your goat. Many types of store-bought produce has had pesticides used on it, which is also toxic to goats. You will also want to check to make sure that the broccoli isn’t rotting and that there isn’t mold hiding anywhere.
Once the broccoli is cleaned, you will want to begin cutting it up into smaller pieces, especially if you bought a larger piece. By cutting the broccoli up, you can ensure that there isn’t a choking risk.
This can also help the treat last a little longer and trick your goat into thinking that they are eating more. Some small pieces of broccoli will come in bags. These can be easier to give to your goat as they are already bite-sized.
Be cautious of things like canned or frozen broccoli, as these may contain preservatives or extra seasoning that are harmful to your goat. Many of these foods will contain extras like salt or sugar, so you always need to closely check nutrition labels.
In addition, frozen dishes, especially those that are seasoned, are not good for goat consumption. Broccoli and cheese is a popular dish, but your goat's stomach isn’t made to digest the cheese, and they will likely get sick from eating it.
It’s best to feed your goat plain broccoli that you buy from the produce aisle to be on the safe side.
Broccoli does contain a high amount of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your goat. Here is a list of the vitamins in broccoli:
- Iron: Important component of hemoglobin.
- Phosphorous: Helps with bone health.
- Vitamins A: Helps with vision and cell growth.
- Potassium: Helps goat's tissues stay healthy.
- Calcium: Helps with bone growth and strength.
- Vitamin K: Helps blood clotting.
- Zinc: Increases a goat's metabolism and helps with the immune system.
- Vitamin B12: Helps keep blood cells and your goat's nerve cells healthy,
- Thiamin: Helps your goat absorb nutrients from food.
- Vitamin D: Helps with bone health.
- Riboflavin: Helps with the formation of coenzymes.
- Vitamin E: Helps keep muscles and nerves healthy.
- Niacin: Helps with cholesterol and brain functions.
- Vitamin B6: Helps metabolism and the nervous system.
- Folate: Helps with cell growth and to form red blood cells.
As you can see from the long list of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is a very nutritional treat when given to your goat in the proper portions. No treat, including broccoli, should ever make up more than 20% of your goat’s diet.
If this is the first time you have ever given your goat broccoli, then use caution. While it is rather rare, a goat can have allergies to foods like broccoli. Start by giving them a small piece of broccoli and watch for any adverse reactions.
Once some time has passed, and you have verified that your goat can stomach the plant, feel free to feed them a larger portion.
Keep in mind that broccoli and treats, in general, shouldn’t be fed to a goat until they are at least six weeks of age. Young goats have very specific nutritional needs and are still developing their teeth.
Can goats eat vegetable scraps?
The answer is that it depends on the scraps. For example, you can’t give your goat pieces of raw potato without them getting sick (though goats can eat cooked potato). On the other hand, you can feed them cucumber scraps without having to worry about them getting sick. You will also only want to give your goat plain scraps. Scraps that have seasoning on them will only serve to upset your goat's stomach or make them sick.
What veggies are good for goats?
There are plenty of different vegetables that are good for your goat to eat. For example, goats can eat asparagus and goats can eat celery. Before feeding your goat any new types of food, make sure to do thorough research or check with your vet to ensure they are safe.
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