Goats may be notoriously picky eaters, but they sure do like munching on stalks and bales of fresh hay. Goats are quite destructive animals, too – they will eat through your furniture and even drywall, so now you know why they don’t make good house pets. However, if you have goats, you need to know what food items are beneficial for their health, and what edibles to stay away from. So, where does broccoli come into this? Is this vegetable, which is so nutritious for humans good for your food-footed friends?
So, can goats eat broccoli? Yes, your goat can be fed broccoli in moderate amounts. Broccoli contains many healthy nutrients required for the proper biological functioning required to keep your goats in the pink of health. However, moderation is the key to any diet – broccoli should be fed in small amounts, and be used as a supplement to the usual meals instead of being a substitute.
Before we begin, we should know what constitutes a nutritional diet for a goat. What is a goat fed to encourage and promote their wellbeing?
A typical balanced meal of a goat constitutes hay, meal (soybean, cornmeal, canola, cottonseed), small amounts of cut-up fruits like apples, and moderate amounts of vegetables.
Broccoli is part of the cabbage plant family, as you might have guessed from its resemblance to the quintessential cauliflower, another member of the same family.
Broccoli is a nutritious vegetable, but is it completely safe for goats? How much broccoli is too much for goats?
Nutritional value of broccoli for goats
Kids might scrunch up their noses at the green tree-like blobs on their plate, but broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable and provides a lot of health benefits and vital nourishment required to run the necessary functions in your goat’s body.
Broccoli contains quite a few nutrients that come in handy when taking care of goats. Broccoli is rich in protein and is a great source of fiber. This veggie is also high in multiple minerals – iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Iron is vital for the respiration of cells and aids in the transportation of oxygen to the various parts of the body through hemoglobin.
White muscle disease is a very common illness that affects goats in regions where there is an absence of selenium. Selenium binds with Vitamin E to prevent this sickness from entering the body of your goats. Selenium also adds a layer of defense against worms and other common ailments that usually plague goats.
Selenium has also been effective in flushing out the placenta of a goat after birth. The placenta tends to retain itself inside the womb and cause infections, so selenium takes care of that.
Calcium plays a major role in the various functions that take place inside the biology of a goat. Calcium helps the blood clot in the event of injuries, aids in the contraction of the muscles for movement, and controls the activity of the nerves and enzymes. Goats that produce milk need calcium to prevent the risk of parturient paresis.
Fiber is essential in goats for a healthy gut and good bowel movements. Fiber helps clear out all the gunk stored in the ruminants and prevents constipation.
Apart from such a colorful variety of nutrients that broccolis impart to goats, this vegetable also contains Vitamins, A, C, E, and K, as well as an assortment of Vitamin B, which includes folic acid.
What to Watch Out For
While broccoli is beneficial for goats, you should know that too much of any vegetable that is part of the brassica plant family can be toxic for goats.
Broccoli contains sulfur, which enters the bloodstream of a goat and turns into sulfide. Sulfides are considered poisonous for goats – they wreak havoc on the ruminants. Sulfides can lower your goat’s appetite and cause the neural tissues to start rotting.
Broccoli also contains glucosinolates, which are considered toxic for goats. This chemical can increase the size and mass of the liver and cause lesions. It can cause painful goiters, anemia, stomach aches, and tummy upsets in your goat.
Therefore, avoid feeding your goat large amounts of broccoli, or too frequently.
You can give broccoli as long as it is in moderate amounts.
Ways to Feed Broccoli to Your Goat
When feeding this vegetable to your goats, you don’t need to conduct any expansive research on how to present the vegetable to the animals for consumption.
Goats seem to gravitate towards what they should stay away from, but when it comes to food that is good for them, they tend to become quite finicky.
If your goat isn’t very receptive to the idea of broccoli, there are ways in which you can prepare the vegetable other than giving them raw broccoli to entice them.
Some of the ways by which you can feed your goat this nourishing vegetable are:
Cut up some small cubes of broccoli and broccoli stem, and give it to your goat as an occasional treat.
If your goat is not fond of raw broccoli, you can lightly boil some florets of the vegetable, and sprinkle a dash of salt on top as a seasoning. Your goat will like the slight saltiness of the cooked broccoli.
With Peanut Butter
If your goats are too finicky with the food you put out for them, especially when it comes to vegetables like carrots and broccoli, you can smear some peanut butter on the pieces of food. Goats adore peanut butter and go gaga over this treat.
A bit of peanut butter to mask the smell and taste of raw veggies can go a long way with your goats.
Mixed Into Usual Feed
Broccoli is a highly nutritional vegetable for goats that can benefit the animals in numerous ways. You can feed your goats broccoli by poaching them in hot water or raw by adding the pieces into the main meals like hay or alfalfa.
Always remember to cut up the broccoli florets into bite-sized bits to avoid your goats from choking on the larger pieces.
Things to keep in mind before feeding your goats broccoli
Broccoli is good, whether you want to give it to your goats to eat or partake in this yourself. However, before feeding your goats broccoli, you need to be aware of certain things.
Some things to be kept in mind are:
Always give your goat fresh vegetables. Avoid feeding your goats stale or rotting veggies – this will mess up their gastrointestinal functions, and cause tummy aches and loose motions.
Broccoli should be cut up in small pieces before being given to goats. This is to avoid the risk of choking in your goats.
Ensure that your goat has plenty of freshwaters to drink from at all times. Water is a vital requirement for goats.
No matter how nutritious broccoli is, it should never be used to stand as a substitute for a well-balanced diet. There is high nutritional value in broccoli, but it can never replace the variety of nutrients required for a goat to function properly.
Anything that you feed to goats must be in moderate amounts. Make sure that your goat does not gorge on one food item only – this will cause nutritional imbalances, and leave your goat suffering from a bevy of diseases.
Conclusion: Can Goats Eat Broccoli?
Yes, goats can eat broccoli as well as broccoli leaves safely. However, there are certain things you need to ensure so that your goats do not suffer from devouring too much of this veggie.
There are certain downsides to feeding your goat broccoli, so make sure that you give them this vegetable sparingly and occasionally.