As many of us know, goats are very resilient animals and can eat almost any plant in their path. So how about acorns? Can they eat acorns and is it even safe to let goats eat acorns? So here is the answer to the age-old question of whether goats eat acorns!
Goats can happily eat acorns as it is a good source of protein and fat. However, acorns should not be fed as a regular supply of food for goats because it contains tannic acid that can be poisonous if over consumed. Goats should be fed acorns only in small quantities.
Goats are natural foragers. When given the opportunity, they will gorge on acorns. Goats will eat acorns and oak leaves to satisfy their hunger when forage is unavailable to them. It is important that you do not overfeed them with too many acorns at one time. Overconsumption of acorn can lead to acorn poisoning in most cattle animals, including goats. The same caution should be practicing with feeding them the leaves or branches of oak trees.
Also, make sure to spread out the times that you feed your goats acorns so they don’t get sick or fill up on acorns all at once.
Also known as “oak nuts,” the acorns grow on the trees of oaks and beeches. These nuts were an important source of food for humans in the past. Even now, acorns are a part of cuisine in many cultures, such as Korean culture.
Apart from humans, acorns are also quite popular among many herbivores and omnivore animals like squirrels, turkeys, chipmunks, rabbits, raccoons, possums, crows, blue jays, rails, and ducks. In autumn and winter, many of these animals are primarily dependent on these nuts for nutrition.
In this article, we will cover all aspects of feeding acorns to goats: their nutritional value, health benefits, problems with overconsumption, and more.
The nutritional value of acorns
In the last section, we mentioned that acorns are a part of the diet of both humans and other mammals. But have you wondered how these nuts can meet the dietary needs of such diverse creatures?
Before we delve into the health benefits of eating acorns for goats, we must first learn about their nutritional value.
To make it easier for you, we have curated a table below. Take a look:
|Vitamin A||39 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.112 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Niacin)||1.827 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Riboflavin)||0.118 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)||0.715 mg|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||0.528 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folates)||87 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||41 mg|
|Iron, Fe||0.79 mg|
|Copper, Cu||0.621 mg|
|Magnesium, Mg||62 mg|
|Manganese, Mn||1.337 mg|
|Phosphorus, P||79 mg|
|Potassium, K||539 mg|
|Aspartic acid||0.635 g|
|Glutamic acid||0.986 g|
|Monounsaturated fat||15.109 g|
|Polyunsaturated fat||4.596 g|
Serving size: 100 grams
Can goats benefit from eating acorns?
As a pet parent, you must learn about the health benefits of any edible item before adding it to your pet’s diet. Therefore, we will talk about how eating acorns can positively impact your pet’s health in this section.
- Vitamin A serves several important functions in your goat’s body, such as promoting their reproductive health and maintaining their epithelial development. Moreover, it also strengthens their immune system against infections, particularly respiratory ones.
- All of us know that goats can synthesize Vitamin B in their rumen and are not dependent on their diet for it. However, in some cases, when a goat is sick, its rumen stops producing this vitamin, which can lead to its deficiency in its body. Because acorn is rich in Vitamins B1 and B12 (that are most essential for the goats), eating it will ensure that your pets will suffer from Vitamin B deficiency.
- Acorn is rich in Calcium, a mineral that strengthens their bones and muscles enhances their enzyme activities, and nervous and cardiovascular functions. A deficiency of this mineral can be lethal for your pet ruminants and can also make them vulnerable to diseases like Posterior Paralysis and Rachitis. Some common symptoms of Calcium deficiency in goats are stiff gait, swollen joints, and poor growth.
- Magnesium aids your pets in the metabolism of the carbs and fats they consume.
- Iron promotes the production of their red blood cells and is also responsible for the transportation of oxygen in their blood. Its deficiency can make them suffer from Anemia.
- Phosphorus is not only a constituent in your goat’s genetic materials but is also helpful in the smooth functioning of their enzymes. Additionally, it also boosts their energy metabolism and maintains the acid-base balance in their body. If your pets are not consuming enough Phosphorus, you will notice a significant drop in their appetite and their newfound tendency of eating rocks, bones, and wood.
- Goats need Zinc to be able to break down the protein they intake daily. Moreover, at times of stress, Zinc has been observed to keep them calm. Parakeratosis is a consequence of Zinc-deficiency in them.
- Manganese is essential in pregnant does as it keeps their unborn kid healthy. Its deficiency can lead to poor conception, still-born kids, and kids with skeletal abnormalities.
As you can see the acorns can provide your goats with all the aforementioned health benefits. These nuts are certainly healthy for them.
Risks involved with overeating acorns
Do you wonder how something so nutritious for your goats can also be harmful to their health?
Well, moderation is the thin line that keeps acorns from being unhealthy for these ruminants; once moderation is abandoned, they will suffer grievously.
Let’s take a look at how can overeating acorns be bad for your pet goats:
Livestock Acorn Poisoning
Livestock Acorn Poisoning is a condition caused by the overconsumption of acorns that affects goats, sheep, cattle, and horses. All the oak trees contain a toxin referred to as “Tannin” or “Tannic acid.”
Tannic acid is known to contract the tissues in the body of these animals, acting as an astringent, which causes their body to absorb protein inappropriately.
Acorn Poisoning can cause severe damage to the animals’ gastrointestinal system that it affects and cause harm to their liver and kidneys as well.
Some of its common symptoms in goats are:
- Pain in their abdominal region
- Fluid accumulation in their legs (Edema)
- Unwillingness to eat (Anorexia)
- Blood in their urine
Although all oak trees contain tannin, it is most concentrated in the white oak trees.
Preventing goats from Acorn Poisoning
If you want to protect your pet goats from Acorn Poisoning but want to let them enjoy acorns simultaneously, you must be more careful and attentive towards them.
If there is an oak tree around your house, don’t let them free-range in that direction. You can also feed them acorns yourself in moderation.
Can goats eat the leaves of oak trees?
Have you recently spotted your pet ruminants feeding munching on oak tree leaves and are wondering if it is safe for them? Well, these leaves are not safe for them at all.
Just as we discussed in the previous section, every part of the oak trees, including the nuts, leaves, bark, and branches, is rich in tannic acid and is, therefore, equally lethal to your goats.
Since the white oak trees have a higher tannic acid content, eating the leaves of these trees can make your pets sick much sooner than regular oak tree leaves.
Is acorn safe for kids to eat?
Most animals, including humans, are fragile and, thus, vulnerable to many things when they are in the initial stage of their lives.
The same is true for the kids (younger ones of goats). Because they’re rapidly growing, these ruminants need to eat plenty of nutrient-dense food and avoid anything that can potentially harm their health.
So, is acorn one of the things they should be avoiding?
Although one acorn here and there wouldn’t kill the kids, it is best not to let them eat acorns. Just like their mothers, these little guys are also the kind not to stop eating something once they begin. Even if you want to feed them, you must do it yourself and in strict moderation.
Frequently asked questions
Can goats eat roses? Yes, they can. In fact, these ruminants are quite fond of flowers like roses. If you’re keeping a pet goat, it would be sensible to build fencing around your rose garden if you happen to have one.
Conclusion: Can Goats Eat Acorn?
“Goats love acorns” and this love can lead to poisonous acorn toxicity. Acorns are great alternative food for foraging animals such as goats, but large amounts can be toxic. Furthermore, you should only give them portions from the mature oaks since the ones from young oaks may lead to diarrhea and colic in them.
Goats can eat acorns, but remember, be careful. If you let your goats graze on acorns, make sure they don’t consume too much. Acorns can contain tannic acid that is considered poisonous to goats, just like oak leaves.
And that brings us to the end of our article! Thanks for reading, hopefully by now you have an answer to the question. If anything remains unclear feel free to let me know, I’ll do my best to answer it.
Acorns can be a source of valuable nutrients, and they can taste really good too. So next time you find yourself in an area with lots of oak trees and want to prepare some wild game food, consider hunting down some acorns instead.
Thanks for reading!