Tomatoes are a common plant that many people grow in their gardens. And, they are pretty easy to grow. Whether you have excess tomatoes or, perhaps your goats broke into your garden, you may find yourself wondering can goats eat tomatoes?
After all, it’s been a joke for decades that goats will eat anything. You probably even remember cartoons that show goats eating parts of clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth though as goats, like most mammals, don’t actually have an iron stomach that can tolerate poisonous or foreign substances.
Keep reading for all the ins and outs about safely feeding tomatoes to your goats.
Can Goats Eat Tomatoes
Yes, goats can eat ripe tomatoes, but it shouldn’t make up a large percentage of their diet. Goats should not eat unripe tomatoes or any part of the tomato plant as it can be toxic.
Just like with other treats like celery, asparagus and broccoli, tomatoes should be given in moderation. But ripe tomatoes in moderation can provide a healthy and delicious snack that your goats will enjoy.
Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants?
No, the tomato plant itself should not be consumed by your goat. In fact, the tomato plant is even considered to be toxic to humans. You will even find on the ASPCA’s website that these plants can affect other mammals due to the fact that they are part of the nightshade family and produce solanine.
Solanine is an alkaloid that can cause serious damage to a goat's body. The only reason the ripened fruit is edible is because its solanine level greatly reduces as it becomes ripe. Even humans can’t take eating a large portion of a tomato plant without facing issues such as an upset stomach and heart damage.
If you are growing tomato plants, be sure to keep them far away from your goat enclosure. If you let your goat wander, place your tomatoes inside of a fence that your goat can’t access. The best way to ensure that your goat isn’t eating something that will make them sick is by putting in preventive measures.
Goats can’t recognize that tomato plants are toxic on their own and will likely take a bite if given the chance.
Can Goats Eat Tomato Flowers?
No, goats cannot eat tomato flowers. The flowers are not safe to eat as they still contain toxins.
Can Goats Eat Tomato Vines?
No, goats cannot eat tomato vines. The vines contain solanine as well and should be avoided.
Can Goats Eat Tomato Leaves?
No, goats cannot eat tomato leaves. Even the tomato leaves themselves are dangerous.
Signs Your Goat Has Eaten Tomato Plants?
If you suspect your goat has consumed a tomato plant, then there are several signs that you should watch out for.
- Lethargic behavior
- Trouble breathing
- Death in rare cases
If you suspect your goat has eaten a tomato plant, don’t panic. Check the plant to see how much they have consumed. If they have only plucked a couple of leaves, they should be fine, but still keep a close eye on them.
Do keep in mind that veterinary costs for a house call, much less saving a goat's life from poisoning, can be quite costly. The best medicine is always prevention.
Need some help to keep your goats healthy and maintained? The G.O.A.T Herd Management Binder has you covered from supplies to routine care reminders.
How to Help Your Goat If they Eat a Tomato Plant
If you have found that your goat has consumed a tomato plant. Try to seek out veterinary help if possible. If you can’t get in touch with a vet, then there are quite a few steps you can take to try and help your goat through the process of expelling the toxins.
- Immediately check your goat's mouth for any remaining plant. If you see some, remove it.
- Keep water available.
- If possible, get your goat to a safe area to rest. This is extremely important if bad weather is approaching or it’s getting dark.
- You can try giving your goat one teaspoon of baking soda every hour to try and dilute the toxins in their body.
Keep in mind that your goat is likely stressed, and you will need to be cautious when handling them, especially when checking their mouth. Even a gentle animals can become hostile when they are in pain or not feeling well. Be sure to wear thick gloves and keep a close watch on the animal's temperament while interacting with them. Never let small children interact with a sick or injured animal.
How to Feed Your Goats Tomatoes
Ripe tomatoes, like any other treat, should not make up more than 20% of your goat's diet at any point in time. There are a variety of ways you can feed a goat Tomatoes depending on the size.
You can blend it up into a sauce, cut it up into small pieces, or, if you are dealing with a smaller tomato, give it to them whole. Just be sure to wash it off to get rid of pesticides.
Tomatoes do contain several beneficial vitamins like folate, Vitamin C, and potassium. Potassium is good for tissue, folate helps with red blood cell formation, and Vitamin C helps with collagen and tissue repair. When given the correct amount of treats like tomatoes, you can actually help your goat live a healthier life.
If this is the first time you have ever fed your goat tomatoes, then be sure to monitor them for any adverse effects. Once you know your goats handle the tomatoes well, you can feed as a regular treat.
Can goats eat cherry tomatoes?
Yes, as long as the cherry tomatoes are ripe, your goat can eat them.
Can goats eat grape tomatoes?
Yes goats can eat grape tomatoes are safely as long as they are ripe.
Can goats eat tomato sauce?
Yes, goats can eat tomato sauce, IF it is just mashed up tomatoes that you made yourself. Avoid tomato sauces your purchase from the store as they can have other ingredients mixed in like high amounts of sugar that aren’t healthy for your goat.
What vegetables can goats not eat?
The biggest thing you need to avoid is feeding your goat unripe fruits and veggies. Raw potatoes can also cause an issue, as can the popular superfood kale. Even avocados shouldn’t be given to goats. When in doubt, do some research to ensure that you are feeding your goat a safe treat.
If you need more help keeping your goats healthy and well taken care of, check out the G.O.A.T. Herd Management System - worksheets, calculators, supply management and more to keep your goats in tip top shape while cutting down on time.