Potatoes are the most versatile vegetables that can exist on the face of the earth. Potatoes are tasty when eaten as a single vegetable, and the taste does not at all get diminished when other vegetables or food accompany it. But can we feed potatoes to pet goats? Let’s find out.
So, can goats eat potatoes? Yes, goats can eat potatoes but they cannot be given as regular food. Potatoes are fed as a treat for goats and are completely safe for them, provided one eliminates any part of the potato that is green.
Goats are very picky eaters and they actually do not eat anything and everything that they can lay their mouth on but potatoes are something that they eat. Now, that we know that goats can eat potatoes, this, however, brings us to the next question- how safe is it for goats to eat potatoes?
There is a lot of debate around how safe potatoes are for goats. Many people say that potatoes should not be given to goats because potatoes contain toxins like solanine and chaconine that are harmful to goats, while others say that a little potato should not cause any problem for the goat.
But goat owners say that it is completely safe for goats to eat potatoes when fed in moderation and as a treat. Also, avoid potatoes with green skin.
Health benefits of potatoes to goats
No other popular vegetable can give as much energy as potatoes can. Potatoes are filled with carbohydrates and are more filled with potassium than bananas. Potatoes have Vitamin C that works as an antioxidant.
These may prevent various types of cell damages and can even help with digestion and blood pressure.
Neurological health is as important as physical health. Potatoes have Vitamin B6 that is crucial in order to maintain neurological health. This vitamin helps create serotonin, dopamine, and other useful brain chemicals. These brain chemicals may help avert depression and stress.
For the brain to function properly, good glucose levels should be maintained in the blood- something that potatoes can do very well due to the high carbohydrate content. However, too much consumption of potato may lead to obesity and increased blood sugar levels.
But then comes the question of whether potatoes are as good or goats as they are for humans or should one completely avoid feeding potatoes to goats?
Goats are very instinctual as to which plants are toxic for them as they tend to avoid plants that might be toxic for them. As some goats eat potatoes by themselves, it can be concluded that potatoes are safe for goats. However, whether a goat would like to have potato or not is dependent on that particular goat.
While many goats love having potatoes, others refuse to accept potatoes. The protein requirement of an average goat is relatively higher than other animals. The protein content of potatoes is not enough to suffice the needs of a goat.
Only 5% of a goat’s diet constitutes what we call treats. This exists because we love our goats and definitely like indulging them. This is where potatoes can come into the diet of a goat.
Potatoes can only be used as a treat for the goats and not as primary sources of nutrition. Thus, potatoes do not qualify for being the basic diet of goats even if the goat accepts it as a food.
Can goats eat potato peels?
Potato peelings are usually fed to pigs and many other animals. For some animals, potato peels are safe when cooked, while for some others, raw potato peels work just as well.
But do goats eat potato peels? Goats might or might not want to eat potato peels. But the green part of the potato is considered toxic for goats as it contains solanine. Even cooking these green peels does not destroy the solanine in them.
Thus, only the non-green parts of the potato peels can be fed to the goats if they choose to eat it. However, to be safe, potato peels should be excluded from the diet of a goat.
Things to keep in mind while feeding potatoes to goats
Whether or not a potato and potato peels are suitable for your goats can only be known by feeding the goats potatoes and potato peels. There is no other way to go about it.
Only after you have offered your goats potatoes, you will be able to tell whether it is okay for your goat or not. If your goat willingly eats potatoes, you can offer the same next day and know that it is suitable. And if your goat does not like it, it will not even touch the potatoes.
But in case your goat like potatoes, there are certain things that you should keep in mind and watch out for. If your goat likes potatoes, you cannot have it chomping on potatoes all day as it will make the goat loss out on other nutrients.
If a person knows the overall nutritional need of a goat, they can decide for themselves the quantity to feed their goat. Most of a goat’s diet should include hay and pasture.
Apart from providing nutrition, hay also maintains the balance of moisture and the quantity of fiber in the rumen by providing dry roughage. It is after a well-balanced diet of these that a goat can be fed potatoes. Otherwise, feeding only potatoes to the goats will make them deficit in other nutrients and will make them malnourished.
Apart from this, one should watch out for the green peels of the potatoes. These contain toxins and are very harmful to goats. But what are toxins?
When microorganisms act as an antigen in the body, they produce a kind of poison in the plant’s body called a toxin. This poison harms the goats.
Ways to feed goats potatoes
As long as one does not make potatoes a primary part of the diet of a goat, potatoes can be offered to goats in various ways. One should just take care that the goats do not overfeed on potatoes and fill their stomach. Green potatoes should be avoided too.
Some ways in which potatoes can be fed to goats are:
Raw peeled potatoes can be fed to the goats.
Boiled potatoes with a bit of salt are a good treat for goats and can be given in small amounts.
Mixed with usual meals
The usual meal of a goat consists of hay and grains. One can also consider mixing potatoes with this usual meal of hay and grains to make their meal tasty.
Tips to remember when feeding your goats potatoes
There are a lot of things that goats eat. But here are a few tips to make your life easier while feeding potatoes to goats.
Potatoes are completely safe for the consumption of goats. But goat owners should watch out for the green part of the potatoes and keep them away from the goats as these green parts contain a toxin that is bad for the goat.
Do not ever make potatoes the primary source of nutrition for a goat. This will make goats to lose weight and become malnourished.
Never let your goat have too much potato and always moderate its meals. Eating too much potato will overfill the goat and lead it to refuse meals that are essential for its nutrition.
Offer potatoes only as treats and not as meals.
Even though goats are picky eaters, it does not stop them from trying to taste everything. Therefore, to be safe, one should check for any substance that might be poisonous for the goat before letting it inside a place. And also, remember to limit its treats and prevent them from becoming overall meals.