Curious and nosy, goats will try to eat everything in sight. However, that doesn’t mean that all foods are safe for goats to eat. If you have a pet goat, you’re probably wondering if can goats eat chocolate.
No, goats cannot eat chocolate. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to goats. Ingesting large amounts of chocolate can cause diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and heart problems in goats. If you suspect your goat ate chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately.
Even small amounts of chocolate are toxic to goats. So don’t leave chocolate anywhere your goats can find and eat it. Keep reading to learn what foods are poisonous to goats, how much food a goat should eat daily, and more interesting facts about the goat diet.
What Foods Are Poisonous to Goats?
Along with chocolate, some other foods are toxic to goats and can cause poisoning and even death. Listed below are some common foods known to cause problems for goats.
Onions are toxic to many animals, including goats. Ingesting onions results in a distinctive onion odor on the breath, urine, milk, or feces.
Although goats are more resilient to onion poisoning than other animals, ingesting large amounts of onions causes weakness, fast and weak pulse, dark, red-brown colored urine, anemia, increased respiratory rate, staggering, and collapse.
Avocado is toxic to goats. Ingesting avocado fruit, leaves, stems, bark, and seeds causes poisoning in many animals, including cattle, goats, horses, sheep, rabbits, and chickens.
Avocado contains a toxic compound called persin. When ingested, Persin causes diarrhea, abdominal pain, respiratory problems, and pulmonary edema.
Cherry pits and leaves contain cyanide that is toxic to goats. While cherries are safe for goats to consume, you should avoid feeding them to your goat unless they are pitted.
The first symptoms of cyanide poisoning can occur minutes or hours after ingesting cherry pits or wilted cherry leaves. Call your veterinarian immediately if your goat is foaming at the mouth or experiencing rapid breathing, tremors, staggering, or collapse.
What’s a Healthy Diet for Goats?
Caring for a goat means that you’ll need to provide a nutritious and healthy diet. The type of food you’re feeding your goats is as important as the amount of food you’re feeding them.
Goats are herbivores and need a carefully balanced diet that consists of pasture grass, high-quality hay, fresh vegetables, and a limited amount of grains. Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of foods goats can eat:
The type of hay you choose to feed your goats will significantly impact their overall health. Unlike sheep and cows, which are grazers and prefer eating large amounts of one type of plant, goats are browsers and like to eat small amounts of many different kinds of plants.
The best type of hay for goats consists of a mix of legumes and grasses. Alfalfa, clover, and timothy hay are suitable options and provide the digestive fiber goats need to stay energized.
Besides high-quality hay, vegetables should also be included in your goat’s diet. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, cabbage, and root vegetables like carrots, beets, and turnips are suitable options for goats.
Grains are a great source of calories for goats, but you should only feed a limited amount of grains to your goat. Eating too much grain can create health problems, like bloat.
Feed grains in moderation to your goat and ensure they are fresh and free of mold and other contaminants.
How Much Food Should a Goat Eat a Day?
How much food your goat needs to eat daily depends on several factors, including size, age, and level of physical activity. Deciding how much to feed your goat will also depend on whether your goats are raised for milk and cheese or as show animals or pets.
On average, a goat can eat 3 to 4% of its body weight a day. Most goats will need around two to four pounds of hay each day. The exact number depends on the amount of forage on the pasture.
For example, more foraging means that your goats will need less hay. But less foraging during winter months means that your goats will have to eat more hay to stay full and healthy.
Feed grains to your goats moderately. Most adult goats need no more than one and a half pounds of grains a day, while kids need significantly less – up to half a cup a day will suffice.
Can Goats have Marshmallows?
Marshmallows aren’t toxic to goats. But while goats can enjoy marshmallows, there’s little to no benefit of feeding marshmallows to your goats, even as a treat.
Marshmallows are made by dissolving sugar in water. Although goats need sugar in their diet, they don’t need such high concentrations present in marshmallows.
There are many healthier foods, like fruit, that can provide your goat with the sugar it needs to thrive.
Can a Goat have Peanut Butter?
Yes, goats can eat peanut butter, and most seem to like it. Peanut butter is packed with proteins and healthy fats and can be a nutritious and tasty treat for your goat. Eating peanut butter can keep your goat energized and prevent weight gain in some cases.
However, if you decide to feed peanut butter to your goats, feed only a small amount. Peanut butter is high in fat, and overeating can cause gastrointestinal upset in goats.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to goats. Ingesting large amounts of these compounds can cause vomiting, diarrhea, heart problem, and even death in goats.
In addition to chocolate, goats shouldn’t eat avocado, onions, cherry pits and wilted cherry leaves, oak leaves, and some other plants. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your goat has eaten chocolate or has any symptoms of theobromine poisoning.