Growing and Feeding for Health
To keep your goats healthy and thriving, it's very important to understand their nutritional needs and how they have these satisfied.
Goats are browsers rather than grazers like sheep, so this means they prefer eating vegetation in the form of twigs, leaves, shrubbery like wild rose bushes and cedars, bark from trees and Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats will eat some pasture (mine require I mow it once or twice a summer). They can also safely eat fruits, vegetables, and herbs in moderation.
Let's talk fresh juicy vegetables & fruits & herbs for Goat Salad!
Before we talk about specific fresh produce & herbs which are most beneficial for your goats, let's answer the following frequently asked questions.
- Are all fruits, vegetables and herbs good for goats? Almost all. Read on for specifics.
- What if my goats don't like goat salad? For many, it is an acquired taste. I always cut up my Goat Salad into bite size pieces. When they are not used to fresh Goat Salad, I will drizzle a small amount of orange juice over the salad and toss. I start my kids out with Goat Salad when they are young so they learn to enjoy eating it with their mamas.
- Why is cutting and slicing fresh food for Goat Salad so important? Nigerians are usually unable to take whole pieces of vegetables and fruits and eat them in that form. Also, they tend to toss out of the container anything that isn't easy for them to chew quickly and as you know they won't eat it once it has hit the ground usually.
- Will Goat Salad mess up my goats digestion? Not if you feed it in moderation. I feed 1 cup per adult goat each afternoon with total success.
- Can pregnant does have goat salad? Yes, see information below.
- Can kids have goat salad? Yes
- How can I afford to feed goat salad? Grow fresh produce and herbs when you can. I also know all of the grocery stores which will mark down their produce which is coming to its expiration date and it is in very nice condition still. I have studied the best time of week to go shop for the reduced produce at each store and plan my whole trip to include these each week. Buying fruits and vegetables in season is also a huge savings. When I get them home, I wash them in a fresh produce soak and then cut up enough produce to be divided into 5 or 6 days worth of goat salads. I use the grocery store bags to store them seperately which makes it easy each afternoon to go out and feed Goat Salad. I feed a small amount of mixed grains and additives and hay each morning only and Goat Salad in the late afternoon. They are healthy and robust.
Can goats eat kale and other fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs?
Generally speaking, goats can consume kale and almost all other fresh fruits and vegetables and many herbs. As a matter of fact, kale is high in vitamins and minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C. It’s also a good source of fiber, which can help with their digestive system. Carrots, apples, citrus fruits, greens, peas (pods & vines too), beets, cucumbers, melons, squash, radishes, beans, berries, turnips and parsnips are good choices.
TAKE NOTE: if you are feeding kale for instance, every day by the buckets full, there are some risks associated. A pregnant goat and kids can eat kale too Kale is a nutrient-rich leafy green that is safe for goats to consume in moderation.
So why feed kale in moderation? Kale is high in oxalates, which can bind to calcium and other minerals in the goat’s body and prevent absorption. A balance is easy to achieve.
What to do: When you feed kale to pregnant goats as part of a balanced diet you need to also include other sources of calcium and minerals. If you do this for your entire herd, and feed kale along with other fresh produce and herbs, they will love it and thrive!
The NO FEED LIST: Avacados, Potatoes and Cherry Pits are potentially dangerous to feed goats so avoid all parts of them, pits and peels. Cherry pits and leaves have cyanogenic compounds in them, which the body converts into cyanide through digestion.
Kitchen Herbs snipped into bite size pieces are often enjoyed in your Goats' Salad. Try adding it in smaller amounts until they get used to it. Fresh peppermint, oregano, sage, parsley and Rosemary are a few which I grow and add to goat salads.