Goats eating foraged food | What will goats eat?

What Will Goats Eat?

What will goats eat? Some goats can be super picky, or if you are new to the world of goats it’s important to know what is safe to feed your goats. We’re going to break down exactly what is safe for your goats, and what you can give them as treat in this article to set you and your herd up for success.

What Will Goats Eat?

Goats are rumen animals, most ruminants have a four-chambered stomach and two-toed feet. The upper incisors are reduced or sometimes absent. Ruminants like goats eat quickly but they are unable to digest grasses, foliage, and other types of plant material directly, for their bodies do not produce enzymes capable of breaking down cellulose. To solve that goats regurgitate and chew the cud repetedly. You can learn more about rumen animals here.

What Can Goats Eat List

Goats are sensitive creatures, maintaining their health and rumen is a delicate balance. What will goats eat is a question I see a lot from new goat owners and it’s an important one. Before we go into exactly what fruits, vegetables are safe let’s take a minute to talk about generally what goats can eat to ensure a healthy diet.

  • Hay or pasture (90-100% of a goat’s diet should be hay or pasture. Green hay like alfalfa, timothy, orchard grass, or bermuda is what you should be feeding your goats. Hay can come in the form of actual bales, or in the form of compressed pellets. 
  • Foraged branches from shrubs, bushes and trees can also be fed to your goats.
  • Grain (0-10% of goat’s diet should be grain). Goats will eat grain, but should be fed sparingly. The only time they really need grain is when they are in milk or pregnant.
  • Minerals (1-2 % of a goat’s diet should be mineral). On the list of what will goats eat, minerals are very important. Having access to quailty minerals is vital to having healthy goats.
  • Extra treats like fruit, vegetables and goat treats. Another item of the what will goat eat list is a range of fruits and vegetables as treats. Goats love to nibble on these (espechially on hot days).

What Scraps Can Goats Eat?

Goat can eat some kitchen scraps, avoid any meat products if you are going to do this. You can feed your goat’s scraps from making a salad or cutting up fresh veggies. Things like the end of grated carrots, or wilted salad, or diced rinds of melon. What will goats eat is often a broad answer, so it’s important to make sure you know what is safe for them. Avoid scraps with salad dressing or sauces and be careful feeding them cooked scraps.

Goat eating grass | What will goats eat?

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What Vegetables Can Goats Eat?

What do goats eat when it comes to vegetables is another thing you should know when you raise goats, not every herd will be the same so not every goat will have a taste for these veggies but it’s a good guide to know what is safe to feed your goats.

  • Carrot
  • Celery (never feed them the seeds)
  • Lettuce
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Zuccini

What Fruit Will Goats Eat?

What will goats eat when it comes to fruit? Fruit is one of my goat’s favorite things to munch on, some of their favorites include:

  • Bannana
  • Strawberries
  • Citrus peels (sparingly)
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Cantelope

What Do Goats Like To Snack On?

Sunflowers, goat treats, and fruits and vegetables that we talked about up above make great items for goats to snack on. Just make sure these are in addition to a well-balanced diet.

What Do Goats Eat In The Wild?

What will goats eat in the wild is not that much different than what goats eat on the farm. Goats are herbivores, which means they eat only vegetation like grass and bushes. Their favorite food is grass, though mountain goats also eat mosses and plants. Goats are browsers which means they like to forage much as deer do.

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What Should You Not Feed Goats?

What will goats eat is a great question, but another good one is what shouldn’t goats eat. That list can be pretty long but some basics are:

  • Alvocado
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Black Tea (or anything else with Caffine)
  • Onions
  • Elderberry
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Rhubarb
  • Unpitted stone fruit (such a peaches, plums, cherries)

Learn more about what not to feed goats here!

Do Goats Eat Meat?

One of the big questions I hear from new goat owners is ‘what will goats eat’ so now that we covered all the things goats can eat let’s tackle another question. Do goats eat meat? The answer to that one is an emphatic no. Goats should never ever be given meat. Their systems are not designed to process meat.

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