Goats are animals that have earned a reputation for being always hungry. If you have a pet goat, you might know that they are always ready for a tasty treat at any time of the day. Contrary to what most people believe, goats are very choosy animals when it comes to the food that they eat. Apart from this, goats have a highly sensitive digestive system. Due to which goats are careful about the food that they eat. So what about cabbage? Can goats eat cabbage?
Can goats eat cabbage? Yes, goats can eat cabbage and they seem to love it too. Cabbage is a highly nutritious vegetable and is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and other nutrients that are vital for goats. In fact, not just the cabbage, goats tend to like other leafy vegetables as well.
Now that you know, cabbages are good for goats it is important to understand that it shouldn’t be fed as a staple diet to goats. In fact, not just cabbages any leafy vegetables like cabbage should only be fed as an occasional treat to goats.
Ideally, these healthy treats should only constitute less than 10% of their regular diet.
In this article, we will have an in-depth look at the interesting facts and information regarding the diet of a goat and some additional information about them. Let’s get going.
Diet of a goat
There are about 210 identified species of goats and all of them are herbivorous irrespective of where they are found. Though they are all herbivorous animals, their dietary pattern varies with respect to the geographical region they are found in.
For the sake of simplicity, we will focus on the dietary pattern of the domesticated goats.
As said earlier, goats are herbivorous animals and hay constitutes a major part of their diet. Unlike what most people believe, they aren’t animals that can eat everything in sight. Rather they are very choosy when it comes to foraging.
It is interesting to note that goats are naturally attracted to nutritious plants, unlike other herbivorous animals. But that’s not it, they even tend to eat the most nutritious part of their plants, vegetables & fruits that they eat.
Goats are ruminant animals and possess a four-chambered stomach. After eating until they are full, they find a peaceful and quiet place to ruminate and regurgitate the cud (The half-chewed food).
Goats regurgitate the cud and chew them properly before swallowing it again for easier digestion.
Though goats forage on their own for nutritious food, you must give them healthy snacks once in a while. Cabbage is one such healthy snack that you can give your goats.
Is it safe to feed cabbage to goats?
Yes, is perfectly safe to feed cabbages to goats. Apart from being a tasty snack, cabbage is a highly nutritious vegetable that contains carbs, proteins, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and other nutrients that are needed by goats.
But that being said, you shouldn’t feed your goats cabbages in excess. It is important that goats to have a balanced diet, even the slightest imbalance can cause digestive issues. Ideally, cabbages and other snacks should only make less than 10% of their diet.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should only feed them fresh cabbages. Feeding stale food can cause excessive bloating in goats, which is something you should avoid at any cost. You also need to make sure that you feed them clean cabbages preferably ones that are chopped down into small pieces.
In short, cabbages are safe for a goat as long as it is fresh & fed in limited quantities.
Can I give cabbages as a staple diet to my goat?
No, you shouldn’t give cabbages as a staple diet to goats. As always, the best staple diet for goats is hay and feed them grains once in a while as a nutrient supplement.
Hay can be the best staple diet for your goats because it supplements enough fiber content that is needed for proper fermentation inside the chambers of their stomach. Apart from this, hay is also an excellent source of vital nutrients for goats.
Unlike hay, fresh vegetables such as cabbage (though they are rich in vital nutrients) cannot be digested easily.
Feeding them in excess can cause trouble to their digestive system and can eventually cause bloating and other issues.
In fact, a goat’s digestive system is not equipped to handle fresh fruits and vegetables as a staple diet.
Feeding these fresh vegetables in excess can cause digestive disorders in them, which can eventually lead to bloating. Apart from bloating, there are high chances of them gaining weight.
Do goats love cabbage?
Well, that’s a tricky question. In general, goats have an affinity for fresh fruits and vegetables because of their taste and nutrient value. But, that is purely a personal choice.
There might also be some goats who do not like cabbages. The only way to know whether your goats like cabbage or not is to feed them and see.
While feeding makes sure that the cabbage is clean and fresh. Preferably, you should chop the cabbage down to small pieces to avoid the risk of choking.
Do worms in cabbage cause trouble to goats?
In fact, not just cabbages, almost all leafy vegetables houses some worms or the other. Most of these worms in the cauliflower, if ingested accidentally, won’t cause serious trouble to humans.
But that isn’t the case with goats who are herbivorous animals. Being ruminant animals, they cannot digest the worms that they might accidentally ingest from cabbages.
Apart from triggering bloating or indigestion, some of these worms can cause fatal diseases like bovine spongiform encephalopathy in goats.
This is why you need to be extremely careful while you feed these leafy vegetables to goats. Make sure that you thoroughly check the cabbage for any worm infestation. Do not feed goats cabbages if there is even the slightest hint of the presence of worms.
Can I feed cabbages to baby goats?
Well, it entirely depends on how old the babies are. You shouldn’t feed the baby goats anything other than their mother’s milk at least till they are 30 days old.
Goats wean when they are anywhere between 14 to 28 days old. You should wait until they are 30 days old before feeding them hay or other food items.
Unlike adults, baby goats cannot easily digest the food that they eat. They need time before the bacteria in their stomach swings into action. Apart from this, these bacteria must get adequately acquainted with the new food items vital to the proper digestion of food.
Do not feed the baby goats one full cabbage right after they are weaned. Start by introducing small pieces along with their staple diet once in a while and slowly increase the quantity that you feed them.
But always follow the rule of thumb that these supplements and treats should only make less than 10% of their staple diet. Anything in excess can cause trouble in their digestive system.
What are the other fruits and vegetables that I can feed my goat?
As said, goats love fresh fruits and vegetables both as a tasty treat and as a nutrient supplement. In this section, we will have a look at the fruits and vegetables that you can feed once in a while to your goats and discuss their advantages.
Since goats are ruminant animals, there will be a whole lot of bacteria and worms living in their gut. They must be dewormed once in a while.
When in the wild, goats have their means of finding plants that can help them deworm, but this isn’t the case when they are in captivity.
Pumpkins, Zucchini, melons, and squash are excellent natural deformers apart from being tasty snacks and a nutrient supplement. Feeding these fruits and vegetables can prove to be beneficial.
Once goats are weaned, you can also feed the kids beans and Peas once in a while as a protein supplement that is needed for muscle growth and strengthening.
But as always, make sure that you don’t feed these in excess to your goats.
What are the food items I shouldn’t feed my goats?
You should avoid everything that has meat content in it as goats are herbivorous animals. This included processed dog and cat food, milk & dairy products, and many more.
These foods can turn out to be potentially fatal to goats.
Apart from these, there are certain food items such as avocados, azaleas, lilacs, chocolates, nightshade vegetables, grapes & bushes, which you shouldn’t feed your goats.