Every homesteader raising goats, has the desire to feed them with the best feed options they can afford; but it is important to ask, can goats eat carrots? In many goat farmers’ quests to meet up with nutrient requirements for optimum goat health and production, they resort to giving goats vegetables and fruits but is that safe?
Carrots are root vegetables rich in antioxidants and yes, goats can eat carrots; however, in moderation. Goats do not have the teeth structure that makes breaking carrots easy, but they can easily chew them when you, as their caregiver, cut the carrots into pieces. They will readily eat the fruits, carrot tops, and leaves of carrots.
You will understand why it may be necessary for you to add carrots to your goats’ diet when you read through the benefits of feeding goats with carrots. You will also learn to be cautious in the number of carrots your goats eat and minimize the risks attached to feeding your goats with carrots.
Goats are herbivores; their digestive system is made to adequately process leaves and, to an extent, grains. They are called browsers because they lean on trees and shrubs to get access to leaves that serves as food for them, which makes them excellent feeding companion for other livestock, such as horses and cattle. However, domesticated goats readily adapt to eating other types of food, such as kitchen wastes, grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Goats have a poor chewing ability and that necessitates the need for them to regurgitate what they have eaten and chew them again. Their stomach ferments the grasses they eat, making it easier to chew the second time and consequently, easier to digest. This same processing applies when they eat other food materials.
Although goats are herbivorous, they can readily digest other foods, as long as they are in reasonable quantities and do not cause digestive upset. Therefore, it is important for homesteaders who raise goats to be observant when they introduce their goats to certain food options. Also, ensure that your goats’ diet agrees with your purpose of raising them to avoid economic wastage.
Can goats eat carrots?
Goats can eat carrots. Carrots are one of the many vegetables you can add to your goats’ diet. They are rich in vitamins and minerals, that are important in regulating and coordinating biological functions in the system of your goats. Some nutrients are inadequate if your goats rely on only grasses, therefore, it is advantageous to include vegetables, such as carrots, in your goats’ diet. However, ensure that your feed your goats with carrots in moderate quantities.
Feeding Carrots to Goats in Moderation
Although it is difficult to put a number to what the moderate quantity is, you can ascertain how much is enough from the type of diet your goat is on. For instance, goats that are raised for the purpose of meat production are usually on high carbohydrates and fat diets while milk-producing goats have higher protein and fats in their diet than the former. Other nutrients are secondary but essential in both goats but they need them in different quantities.
Also, goats can eat carrots in the different forms they can be provided. They may be raw, boiled, or cooked. Watch your goats see which form they prefer.
In 100 g of raw carrot, your goats can have nutrients such as:
|Vitamin A||835 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.066 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.058 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.983 mg|
|Vitamin B5||0.273 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.138 mg|
|Vitamin B9||19 µg|
|Vitamin C||5.9 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.66 mg|
|Vitamin K||13.2 µg|
Carrots are abundant in certain vitamins, such as vitamin K, and some minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It contains more than 80% of water, almost 3% of dietary fiber, and almost 10% of carbohydrates. With these nutrients, it can serve as mineral supplements for goats, and help them have better overall health.
Benefits of feeding goats with carrots
Carrots are one of the nutrient-rich vegetables you can feed your goats with little health concerns. They provide many important nutrients, such as vitamin A to prevent goat eye diseases, to your herd and will consequently give them some health benefits and give you some economical benefits. Here are some of them.
Improved cardiovascular health
The cardiovascular health of goats in a homestead; raised on large fields, and that frequently have to go into the field to feed, maybe too weak to face the distance they have to cover. Also, weak cardiovascular health may cause goats to be docile. You can improve the cardiovascular condition of such goats by introducing them to carrots.
Nutrients such as beta-carotene used to produce vitamin A help to improve the functioning of the heart vessels, consequently improving the condition of goats suffering from poor heart health.
Better feed digestion
It is one thing for your goats to consume good feed, it is another to process it for their body’s use. Digestion of feed involves the use of water and heat, by enzymes to extract the beneficial nutrients for your goats’ use.
Your goats will digest food better when they have carrots in their diet because it is abundant in water and dietary fiber. The dietary fiber helps the goats’ stomach produce more probiotic enzymes that aid digestion. Also, the amount of carbohydrates in carrots helps to generate heat during digestion.
Stronger Immune System
The strength of your goats’ immune system directly translates to how well they can withstand threats from pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The stronger their immune system, the lesser you’ll have to spend on treating them against diseases.
You can easily boost your herd’s immune system by feeding them vegetables, such as carrots, that are rich in vitamin C – which works as an antioxidant – and iron.
Better teeth and bone health
Goats will always chew when they eat; therefore, they need their teeth to be strong. Also, as they get older, their bones may become weak. There are goat mineral supplements that may help with strengthening goats’ bones and teeth, but it is economical for homesteaders to source these nutrients in natural food, such as carrots.
Carrot is rich in calcium and magnesium, which help to strengthen bones and teeth. They are also important in improving the functioning of the central nervous system.
At some point, you will desire to increase the size of your herd. To achieve this, and have strong kids in your herd, you will need to have strong boars and does. Carrots are abundant in nutrients that promote sexual vigorousness in goats.
Such nutrients include potassium, zinc, and magnesium. They help to improve the semen health in boars and promote ovulation in does.
Risks of feeding goats with carrots
The major risk your goats can possibly encounter when consuming carrots is choking, and this happens when you let them have the vegetable whole, or when you do not cut them into bits small enough for their throat to allow free passage.
Other risks include:
This may occur if your goats have more than enough carrots. They may find it difficult to digest the carrots, causing flatulence, bloating, and in some cases, constipation.
Excessive weight gain
While weight gain is good for goats raised for producing meat, they can gain too much weight, exposing them to unhealthy conditions, such as obesity and cardiovascular issues. This is because carrots also contain carbohydrates and when combined with grains, may cause goats to add weight faster. This may be good in some cases, but if left unchecked, it could be dangerous.
Alkaloids in carrots may cause allergic reactions such as itching around the mouth, on the tongue, and in the throat.
There’s a chance that some goats in your herd may develop urinary calculi, characterized by difficulty in urination as a result of stones in the bladder. This usually occurs when there’s too much calcium in your herd’s diet.
Carrots are rich in calcium, and they may cause urinary calculi.
Can baby goats eat carrots?
Baby goats should preferably be on does milk. However, you can feed weaned goats with carrots. Introduce the vegetable to them in small quantities and increase their intake as they grow older. Cut the carrots into bits before you serve the kids. Also, you may have to cook the carrot to soften them, enabling easier chewing and digestion for the kids.
Can goats eat carrot tops and leaves?
Goats will not readily eat carrot leaves, even though they are herbivores. However, you can make them eat the leaves and carrot tops by making sure they are the only parts of carrot you provide in their feeders. That way, they are less picky and eat what they see.
How to feed carrots to goats
To feed carrots to your goats and reduce the risks associated with them, follow this guide.
- Wash the carrots thoroughly. Feed your goats with fresh and pesticide-free carrots only.
- Cut the carrot into vertical strips for the boars and does, and cut them into bits for the kids.
- Boil the bits of carrots to soften them and remove some of the alkaloids that may cause itching, for the kids.
- Provide only a small amount, as treat, to avoid over-eating that may cause digestive issues.
- Serve carrots to your goats once in a while to avoid ingestion of excessive calcium and excessive weight gain.
Goats need vitamins and minerals to enhance their health and productivity. One of the vegetables that can help them get these nutrients is carrot and it is safe for goats to eat, as long as they do so in moderation. Also, ensure that you follow the guide provided on how to feed your goats with carrots.