We all love having a treat occasionally, and so do animals! If you have a cat or a dog, finding their treats online or at the pet store is easy. However, it might be harder to find treats for a non-traditional pet, such as goats. There is the idea that goats will eat anything and everything, but responsible pet owners should always feed their animals healthy meals and small amounts of treats. But what kind of treat or snacks can you give a goat? What should you avoid? This article goes over the top foods you can give your goat as treats.
What are the best treats to give your goat?
Goats are herbivores, so they will appreciate treats like fruits, vegetables, and some seeds, which have nutritional benefits for your goat. Not sure which fruits and vegetables to try? Here are the top ten best treats that your goats will love to munch on:
Lettuce is an excellent choice for a treat! Not only is lettuce hydrating, but lettuce also contains vitamins A, C, and K. Those vitamins help support healthy skin and eyesight, strengthen their immune system, and assist in blood coagulation.
2. Bell peppers
Whether the bell pepper is green, red, or yellow, it is a great treat for a goat! Bell peppers are full of beta-carotene, potassium, and vitamin A. Just make sure to remove all the seeds from the bell peppers before giving the pieces to your goat.
Carrots are packed with vitamins that goats need to have a healthy body and a robust immune system. Like the bell pepper, carrots are a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. Carrots are also full of fiber that can prevent constipation. You can give all the cleaned parts of the carrot to your goat.
Fiber-packed pumpkin is a good treat for your goat. It also has potassium and vitamin A. Since pumpkin has a sweet taste, goats may be more drawn to this treat. Goats can eat the pumpkins seeds as well; however, avoid giving them the pumpkin leaves.
An apple a day keep the vet away! Apples are a healthy source of carbohydrates, fiber, and protein. The sweetness of an apple may entice the pickiest goat to give it a try. But due to the sugar content in apples, do not feed your goat too many over the course of the week.
Watermelon is a great nutritious treat for your goat. It is hydrating and full of vitamins and antioxidants that are needed for a strong immune system. You can feed your goat the fruit, seeds, and rind of the watermelon. However, this fruit has high water content and sugars, so do not give this treat to your goat regularly, or this can lead to digestion issues.
Pears have vitamin C, potassium, and carbohydrates. Potassium is needed for metabolism, and vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system, so a few pieces of pear is a healthy choice.
Bananas provide extra potassium and fiber to your goat’s diet. Some goats will love the sweet taste, while some might be a bit pickier about trying the banana. However, your goat can eat both the fruit or the peel, so you can see which one they might like better.
Grapes are full of vitamins and are also hydrating. Goats will like them because of the sweetness and juicy texture. Like bananas, grapes are full of potassium, which is essential for your goat to thrive healthily.
10. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds can increase the health of your goat’s hair. These seeds also provide healthy fats that can assist with milk production and can easily be added to your goat’s feed. Because sunflower seeds are high in fat, limit how many you give your goat as treats.
Certain vegetables and fruits provide a lot of minerals and vitamins that are beneficial for your goat’s health. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of healthy fats, proteins, and vitamin E. Cut the vegetables and fruits into small pieces, so it is easier for your goat to chew.
There are also some commercially made goat treats that you can buy. Many goat treats are made with ingredients like berries and rice and come in nugget form, so it is easy to measure out the number of treats you plan to give your goat during the day.
How often should you give your goat treats?
While all the above-listed treats are nutritious, they should be given in moderation. Goats are prone to weight gain, which is never good for an animal’s overall health. A goat’s diet should mainly consist of grass and other goat-friendly foliage they are grazing on during the day, fresh or dried. As for the treats, they should not be the main source of your goat’s diet. Goats can develop urinary calculi, which is a urinary tract infection caused by improper feeding. The most common cause of urinary calculi is due to overconsumption of food (especially leading to improper calcium to phosphorus ratio. Aim to have treats make up 5% or less of your goat’s daily diet.
What food should you avoid giving your goat?
Goats can easily gain weight and be at risk for urinary calculi, so you need to pay close attention to how much they eat. Some foods should always be avoided.
Final Thoughts on Giving Your Goats Treats
Balance is essential when you are feeding your pet. Since goats can get a bit greedy, make sure you measure out the number of treats to give them. Since vegetables have less sugar than fruit, try giving your goat a small amount of the suggested vegetables as snacks first to see what they enjoy eating. Your goat might prefer bell peppers over lettuce. Happy snacking!
- Related read: Can Goats Eat Potatoes? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: Barilo_Picture, Shutterstock