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Can Goats Eat Cabbage? What You Need to Know!

cabbage

If you have goats or have been around them, you know that these farm animals love to eat! Because they have an excellent digestive system, goats can eat a wide variety of foods.

If you’re wondering if you can feed cabbage to a goat, the answer is yes. Goats can eat cabbage as a supplement to their normal feed, but it should never replace their normal food.goat divider

Cabbage is Good for Goats

Cabbage
Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

Cabbage is a good source of nutrients and minerals including:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Trace Elements

Cabbage has more protein than corn silage and can be used as a replacement for it if you run out. However, cabbage should not be fed to goats over a long period because it contains compounds that suppress intake. Experts tell us that cabbage can make up about 10 percent of a goat’s overall diet.

When they eat too much cabbage, goats can experience bloat. Plus, since cabbage isn’t as easily digested as normal goat feed like hay, it can cause some health issues if that’s all goats are fed. Many people with goats feed their animals cabbage as a way to supplement a hay diet, which is completely fine to do.

Other Vegetables Goats Can Eat

With their big appetites, goats are always ready to nibble on all kinds of yummy treats including many vegetables. Goats enjoy munching on a variety of vegetables including:

goat eating leaves
Image Credit: Volha Werasen, Shutterstock

Other Tasty Treats to Feed Goats

If you’re providing your goats with a healthy, well-balanced diet, you can give them some other treats besides vegetables. Goats enjoy nibbling on all types of tasty treats including:

  • Raisins
  • Bread
  • Corn chips
  • Watermelon
  • Pears
  • Grapes
  • Bananas

Treats to Avoid Feeding Goats

While goats have voracious appetites and enjoy nibbling on lots of treats, you should never feed them certain things including:

  • Dog and cat food
  • Chocolate
  • Kale
  • Lilacs
  • Milkweed
  • Wild cherries
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Beets
  • Cranberries

Many of these foods to avoid feeding goats contain oxalate, which is a compound that can cause urolithiasis or kidney stones in goats.

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Goats

If you have goats, you certainly want your animals to be healthy and happy. Goats should be fed a good diet that provides them with everything they need to thrive. When it comes to goats, these animals need good sources of energy, protein, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

Goats are ruminants which means they can get nutritional value from high-fiber plant matter. These animals are driven to seek out food any chance they get. That’s why it’s common to find goats gravitating toward your favorite rose bushes, vegetable garden, or shrubs.

If you keep goats, it’s a good idea to let them graze in a pasture and to feed them high-quality goat food when they’re in their pen. To ensure they get all the nutrients and vitamins they need, you can supplement their diet with some of the goat-approved treats mentioned above.

pygmy goat_aitoff, Pixabay
Image Credit: aitoff, Pixabay

Plants Goats Should Never Eat

There are a few plants that are poisonous for goats to eat like azaleas, sumac, dog fennel, curly dock, nightshade, sumac, and honeysuckle. The severity of plant poisoning is dependent on how much of the plant a goat eats, the age and size of the goat, and the quantity eaten. The good news is that goats won’t typically eat poisonous plants.

Unless your goats are starving or put out to pasture in an area containing nothing but poisonous plants, you shouldn’t worry about your animals eating toxic plants. It’s simply a good idea to know what plants are bad for your goats. It’s a good idea to walk around your property to make sure all the plants your goats have access to are safe to eat.

Tips for Feeding Goats

Make sure your goats have lots of space and enough food to eat in their pen and pasture. It’s important to keep the surfaces of your goat pen clean and dry to cut down on the risk of infections. Always have fresh water available for your goats to drink, no matter what.

To avoid grain from being contaminated with feces, do not feed your goats on the ground. When you feed your goats up and off the ground, you’ll be able to keep an eye on how much they’re eating. You’ll also be able to see if your goats have a change in appetite.

On average, goats need around 2 to 4 pounds of hay per day. Feed grain to your goats sparingly as adult goats only need 1.5 pounds a day max with kids requiring much less. Goats get most of their nutrition from foraging when there’s adequate pasture available so make sure of it!

goat eating grass in the wild
Image Credit: FitMum, Pixabay

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Conclusion

Goats can eat cabbage as a treat but not as a primary food. Goats, like other animals, need a varied, well-balanced diet to thrive. Goats are notorious eaters with huge appetites, making them easy animals to feed.

When you focus on providing grazing opportunities and good quality feed, your goats stand an excellent chance of living long and healthy lives!


Featured Image Credit: betexion, Pixabay

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