The answer is a lot but not everything. There is a huge myth out there that goats can eat anything and they can’t. In fact goats are incredibly picky eaters and they can/will eat a lot of different types of food. They have a type of sixth sense that tells them not to eat certain foods. However, if it’s in the pasture and they are hungry, they will eat it. But what exactly can they eat? I have compiled a list and separated it into categories. So feel free to scroll through and find what you need.
This is not a complete list of every single thing they can eat. Nor should it take the place of your vets advise. When it doubt, contact your vet. Also, when introducing a new food to your goat, keep an eye on them for allergic reactions, choking, etc. Midas absolutely loves cantaloupe rinds but I didn’t chop them small enough, he almost choked in his gusto to eat them before everyone else could.
A note- Goats will eat grass, but when given an option between grass and weeds, they will go to the weed. That is because they are browsers and not so much grazers. Our pastures are mostly grasses with a ton of briars, poke berries, and other weeds that they love.
Clover- Careful with this one, too much can cause your goat to get sick. We haven’t had any issues but I know white clover can be a danger.
Fescue- We have fescue in our second pasture because there is not a lot of sunlight. So far it has held up really well.
Fruit should be fed in small quantities as well as in small pieces. Don’t let your goats gorge on it.
Banana and peels
Cantaloupe and rinds
Honey Dew and rinds
Plum- no pits
Grapefruit and peel
Peaches- No Pits
Pineapple and rinds
Watermelon and rinds
Turnip- They like the greens vs the actual turnip
Garlic- small amounts. Can also help with worms
Same as the grass list just make sure that it is good hay. Some people do not get quality hay for their goats and instead get cheap hay. Don’t do this. Goats can get really sick from moldy hay.
Note- grain is great for pregnant or lactating goats. However, in bucks and especially whethers, you risk urinary stones that are extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. If you choose to feed grain to your goats, make sure it has ammonium chloride in it. This will help keep them from getting them, and if they do get them anyways will make them smaller.
Another thing is that grain should only make up maybe 5-10% of their diet. In fact, goats don’t need grain at all. The only time we feed them grain is when they are pregnant, lactating, or we need to hold them still for hoof trims and to give medications.
We exclusively feed Tucker Mill Dairy Goat. It’s in the pink bag and we have seen an incredible turn around in the condition of our thinner goats. We also will give grain to our boys when in full rut. The reason is because the boys will stop eating when they go into rut. We want to make sure that they have access to as much food as possible.
Briars- I am the crazy lady that went and replanted all the briars from the property and replanted them in the goat pastures.
Sericea Lespedeza- If you can get your hands on this seed do it! Seriously, this has been studied extensively had has been proven to be a natural dewormer.
At the end of the day, you have to figure out what is best for your goats. We feed our goats scraps from the garden based off this list. When the green beans come in and we start processing, they get a pile of ends and dropped pieces. Same with our chickens.
If you are concerned about what your goats are eating or what they can have, contact your small rumen vet and see what they say.
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