Goats are ruminants, and there are a lot of food items they need to avoid. If you are planning to get goats, this is something that you need to have clarity on. Often times goat owners wonder whether or nor goats can eat corn. If you have this same question, don’t worry, let’s find out.
So, can goats eat corn? Yes, the goat can eat corn as long as it is fed in limited quantities. It is important to note that corn should never be fed in excess or as a staple diet to goats. Ideally, corns should only make up less than 50% of their total diet.
There is a common tendency among people to feed corn to goats in excess or as a staple diet owing to its low cost. Feeding corn in excess can cause severe digestive issues in goats, which can even lead to their death.
If there is one thing that has surprised me about goats, it is their dietary pattern. Contrary to the popular belief that goats are animals that can survive on a wide variety of food, they are very choosy when it comes to the food they eat.
If you closely observe a goat foraging, you can see that they don’t roam around eating every grass or plant they find.
Rather they eat the most nutritious plants that they can find and that too they eat the most nutrient-rich part of these plants.
In this article, we will have a look at the important information you ought to know about feeding corn to your goats.
The digestive system of a goat
Before we discuss whether corn can be fed to goats or not, we must have an understanding of their digestive system.
Goats are ruminant animals. For those who don’t know what ruminant animals are, they are animals with a four-chambered stomach and a unique way of digesting the food they eat.
These animals resort to the microbes and bacteria living in these specialized stomach chambers to ferment the food before breaking them down and absorbing the needed nutrients.
Goats being ruminants, they need to stick to their natural diet because even the slightest imbalance can have cause serious digestive disorders in them, which is why you need to be extremely careful about the food that you feed them.
For instance, if you were to feed them any grains in excess, it can cause acidosis and, it leads to a drop in pH levels inside their rumen (specialized chambers in the stomach).
An imbalance in the stomach’s pH level can harm the microbes and bacteria inside that are vital for digestion. Eventually, the goat would stop feeding, and it can even lead to their death.
It is advised to feed hay to goat as a staple diet. Everything other than hay should only be fed to goats as a supplement or an occasional treat.
Can I feed corn as a staple diet to goats?
No, you shouldn’t feed corn or any other grains as a staple diet to goats. As said earlier, feeding corns in excess can cause acidosis (a condition in which the body fluids become acidic), which can be detrimental to the bacteria and microbes in the ruminants that are vital for fermentation.
It is also important to note that while corn contains only 8% proteins, it has a significant presence of calcium. Excessive calcium in the diet can cause urinary calculi in goats.
Another major risk involved in feeding corn or other grains in excess of goats is enterotoxaemia (commonly known as the pulpy kidney disease) caused by the epsilon toxin-producing Clostridium perfringens. If not diagnosed at an earlier stage, and proper treatment is given, it can even lead to goats’ death.
Can corns cause diarrhea?
Not just corns, any grain, if fed in excess, can cause diarrhea in goats. As said earlier, feeding corns or other grains in excess or as a staple diet can cause acidosis that can cause the pH levels inside the specialized chambers to decrease drastically.
Diarrhea is one of the common symptoms of acidosis. If diarrhea lasts for two days or more and the goat stops feeding, you should take him/her to a vet at the earliest. Delay in medical attention can prove to be fatal for your goats.
Apart from this, feeding unclean corns or other grains can also trigger diarrhea in goats. You need to ensure that your goats are only fed clean food.
What is the safest way to feed corn to goats?
All these being said, goats love corns, and it contains nutrients that are vital for the goats. It is just that you need to limit the quantity of corn that you feed them.
Ideally, corn and other grains cumulatively should only make up less than 50% of their staple diet. When it comes to adult goats, the maximum quantity of grain that you can feed them at a time is around 1% of their body weight and about 1.5% for lactating goats.
Apart from this, it is important to note that corns can increase the body temperature of goats. Owing to which, you need to be extremely cautious about the amount of corn you feed them during summer.
You don’t want to increase their body temperature during summer, do you? That being said, you can give your goat a little extra corn during winter to maintain their body temperature.
The best way to go about feeding corns to goats is to crush the corns and mix it with other grains to ensure that they have a balanced supply of nutrients.
Can goats eat corn stalks?
Yeah, goats can eat corn stalks, but they don’t generally seem to like it much. Even if you were to feed them corn stalks, they would just sniff it and go for other food. The same is the case with corn husks. Though it is safe for goats to eat the husks, they don’t like it much because of the difficulty of getting it off the cob.
An important thing to note about feeding corns stalks to goats is that you shouldn’t feed them anything that has mold over it. Mold can cause trouble to goats in many ways, and it can even prove to be fatal.
The same is the case with feeding them corn or other grains that are unclean. As said earlier, goats have a highly sensitive digestive system, and you need to be extremely cautious about what you feed them.
Make sure that the grains you feed them are clean and stored in a safe place. There are high chances of goats contracting diseases from grains that were infested by rodents.
Can goats eat corn husks?
Yeah, goats can eat corn husks but they don’t seem to like it much because of the difficulty to get it off the cob. Well, you can always try feeding them corn husks, maybe your goat loves corn husks. you never know!
Can I feed corns to baby goats?
It depends on the age of the baby goats. Ideally, you shouldn’t feed them anything other than their mother’s milk until they are weaned.
Unlike the adult goats, the bacteria and microbes in the gut of a baby goat will not be capable of handling anything other than their mother’s milk. These bacteria and microbes must get adequate time to proliferate and get into full efficiency in their gut.
Once the baby has been weaned by its mother, slowly start introducing grains to their diet by mixing them with their staple diet.
Do not feed the baby goats a mix of all grains in the beginning. Start by introducing one type of grain at a time and look for any allergic reaction signs. The same method has to be followed while introducing corns.