In raising goats, getting their nutrition right is important in meeting the goals of keeping a herd of goats, and that makes one wonder, “can goats eat cucumbers?”. Nutrition is important in helping them gain weight, fight infections, maintain and improve the herd’s sexual vigor, and improve their productivity.
Goats can eat cucumbers and they stand to have some benefits from doing so regularly and in moderation. Like most vegetables and fruits, cucumbers are dense in water, vitamins, and minerals, making them an important fruit that can supply goats with nutrients they need to improve their overall health and productivity.
We will consider the safety of cucumbers to goats, and see if it is safe for young goats to also have a go at the fruit. To help you understand why you should feed your goats with cucumbers, we will see the nutrients cucumber contains, the benefits these nutrients will give to your goats, and help you determine how to safely feed your goats with cucumbers.
Do Goats Enjoy Eating Cucumbers?
Goats are herbivores and enjoy food other than leaves. They readily eat grains, such as maize, millet, soy, among others, but will also eat fruits and vegetables. They enjoy sweet fruits, and that gives homesteaders that raise goats concern as it exposes them to rapid weight gain. However, goats enjoy cucumbers as well, even though they are not sweet.
When goats munch on slices of cucumber, picking them off their feeding troughs, they enjoy them because they are easy to chew and digests easily. Cucumbers are succulent and give them a break from the crunchy grains they have to eat almost daily, depending on their diet.
Regardless of their age, cucumbers are a welcome treat among goats. However, if given a choice between other sweet fruits, such as watermelon, and cucumbers, goats will oftentimes choose watermelons.
Are Cucumbers good to Serve as a Treat?
Cucumbers are dense in minerals and vitamins, but low in sugars. They are exceptionally high in water and have a reasonably sufficient amount of dietary fiber, although lower than most fruits. However, despite the nutrients present in cucumbers, they are best served as treats to goats because they have insufficient levels of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
They are great as replacements for commercial goat mineral supplements as they provide minerals which when added to minerals and vitamins goats get from their main food materials, add up to be sufficient for better productivity and health.
From 100g of cucumber, your goats have access to the following nutrients:
|Pantothenic acid||0.259 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.04 mg|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg|
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg|
The nutrient profile of 100 g of cucumber shows that it is relatively high in the main nutrients in foods – carbohydrates, protein, and fat – making it excellent only as a treat for goats.
Benefits of feeding your goats with Cucumber
Despite the unsuitability of cucumber as the main food material for goats, it provides nutrients that help to improve goats’ health and productivity. Its effect is obvious in the following ways:
- The low fat and sugar cucumber contain helps to improve the cardiovascular health of goats
- Relatively high dietary fiber, high water content, and low carbs help to maintain a healthy weight, especially in older goats
- It is a rich source of calcium and helps to grow and strengthen the bones and teeth of young and older goats. It is also important in treating arthritis because of this nutrient.
- Vitamin C and iron helps to improve the immunity strength in goats, helping them fight off infection and goat diseases. Vitamin C aids in detoxification and ridding their body of antioxidants while iron is important in building white blood cells.
- Nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and potassium help to improve sexual virility in the herd, helping to improve the quality of young goats in the herd.
- The Health of newborn goats is improved due to the presence of folate in their system.
Are Cucumber seeds safe for Goats to Eat?
Ordinarily, many people do not notice cucumber seeds, especially in home and farm-grown cucumbers. They are usually small and white and can easily go unnoticed. Although agronomically, these aren’t the seeds, they are quite safe for goats to eat. They are soft and can be chewed easily. They contain no known toxic material that may adversely affect goats and are, therefore, considered safe for goats’ consumption.
Young goats do not run the risk of choking when they eat these little white seeds, and they digest as easily as the fruit itself.
However, wild cucumbers are high in curcumin, and it causes intestinal diseases. Therefore, feed your goats with farm-grown cucumbers instead of the wild ones, although they have some medicinal benefits.
Can Goats Eat Cucumber leaves?
Goats are herbivores and will readily digest leafy foods than fruits. Cucumber leaves contain some minerals and vitamins that are beneficial to goats. They also contain some phytochemicals that have medicinal properties. This makes them a safe food material for goats.
Goats can eat cucumber leaves, especially when they are green and soft, making them attractive, easy to chew and digest. Avoid giving goats cucumber leaves that are dry or moldy.
Are cucumbers safe for baby goats?
Baby goats are supposed to get nutrition from milk they get from the doe-mother or artificially prepared ones. However, they should be introduced to vegetables and fruits before they’re one month old as that helps their digestive systems grow stronger.
Cucumbers are low in sugar and fat, making them suitable for young goats. However, ensure that they do not have excess wild cucumbers.
Protect baby goats from wild cucumbers by giving them access to it only once a week. Wild cucumbers may cause a bloated stomach, bleeding from the mouth and nose, and ultimately, death, in goats. Its effect is more pronounced in young goats.
Preparing Cucumbers for your Goats
Cucumbers are available in different sizes; however, their normal size may be too big for goats to eat easily. As a homesteader, you need to help your goats get the cucumbers easily to prevent choking. Follow these guidelines:
- Sort the fresh cucumbers from the moldy ones
- Wash the fresh cucumbers thoroughly
- Slice the cucumbers into thin circles for the baby goats and bigger circles for the older goats.
- Serve the vegetable separately from the leaves.
Feeding Cucumbers to Goats in Moderation
While cucumbers are generally safe for goats to eat, their safety is only guaranteed when the goats consume them in moderation. As a general rule of thumb, goats should have their treat about three to five times a week. Therefore, if the only treat your goats are getting is cucumbers, ensure they do not have it more than five times a week.
However, it is common practice for homesteaders to mix different fruits as treats for their goats, an average of three times per week is sufficient to include cucumbers in treats for your goats. If you feed your goats with wild cucumbers, do not exceed thrice a week of wild cucumbers for your goats.
Can Cucumbers Replace Goats’ Daily Food Intake?
Cucumbers are strictly used as treats for goats. They contain an insufficient quantity of carbs, fat, and protein. They are also low in some minerals and vitamins but possess a good quantity of vitamin K, Potassium, calcium, and some other minerals.
Their insufficiency in macronutrients makes them unsuitable as replacements for goats’ daily food intake. They should supplement micronutrients that grasses and grains are unable to meet.
Alternative Fruits to Feed Your Goats
In a bid to improve the productivity and health of goats, there are many vegetables and fruits that help to achieve this goal. Some of them are relatively safe while others need monitoring to prevent negative impacts on goats.
Goats can eat fruits such as grapes, watermelon, strawberries, and pumpkins, among others. They help to improve the immunity of goats, consequently reducing the amount you have to spend on health issues. Vegetables, such as cabbage, carrots, poison ivy, and potatoes, among others, help to improve blood circulation and milk production in dairy goats.
Cucumbers are rich in water, vitamins, and minerals. They do not contain enough macronutrients to replace goats’ daily food; however, they are excellent choices for goat treats. They are succulent and easy to digest; however, you may need to slice the vegetable into smaller circles to facilitate easier consumption, especially for younger goats.
Feed your goats with cucumbers as lone treats at least five times a week or as part of a combination of treats, at least three times a week. Reduce the frequency of feeding if your cucumbers are wild. They may cause bloating and may kill your goats if they are fed to the herd more than thrice a week. For younger goats, once a week will suffice.