Goats are herbivores and they easily digest grasses and leguminous crops but homesteaders often think: can goats eat strawberries? The safety concern around whether goats can eat anything other than grasses and grains has limited the nutrition they can get from fruits and vegetables. Although domesticated goats can eat kitchen waste and we often see them eat food materials other than grasses, we need to be sure fruits, such as strawberries are suitable for goats before they are fed with them.
Strawberries are especially rich in antioxidants, and yes, goats can eat strawberries. Although they are small, they should not be uncontrollably given to your goats to avoid digestive issues that may cause your goats to lose weight as they may not pay attention to other food materials they need.
As you read on, you’ll realize that goats can eat strawberries and understand the benefits goats stand to gain if they are consistently fed with strawberries. We will help you understand goats’ digestive system and how strawberries can be beneficial or disruptive to it.
Goats majorly get their nutrition from grasses – fresh or preserved – and grains that provide energy and proteins to them. Although they get some minerals and vitamins from these feed materials, they mostly have to supplement these nutrients with feed additives. Also, some of these feed additives serve dual purposes by providing nutrition and serving as medications, especially as goat dewormers. Others help to aid digestion by providing probiotics that help with the fermentation and digestion of ingested food.
In place of feed additives, treats – in the form of fruits and vegetables – help to improve the digestion of food in goats and help to supply nutrients that are beneficial to their health, consequently improving their production. However, they are not replacements for goat dewormers but can help minimize the effect of helminthic infestation in goats.
Goats, unlike some ruminant animals, require other nutrients, even though in small quantities, to perform optimally. These nutrients are available in what some homesteaders see as unusual and unnatural feed choices for goats. They include fruits, such as strawberries, and vegetables. While not all fruits and vegetables are suitable for goats, strawberries are, and they help to improve the general health of goats.
Are Strawberries Good as Treats; part of Goats’ Diet?
Strawberries can be included in goats’ diets as they also supply nutrients that are important to the health, growth, and development of goats of all ages and some of these nutrients are not readily available in common goat food sources, such as grasses and grains.
|Pantothenic acid||0.125 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.047 mg|
|Vitamin C||58.8 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.29 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.2 µg|
Strawberries contain over 90% water, 2 g dietary fiber, and 4.89 g of sugars – giving a total carbohydrate value of 7.68 g; fat and protein in strawberries are negligible, but they contain an array of vitamins, ranging from vitamin B to vitamin K. it is exceptionally high in vitamin C and contain nutrients such as folate and choline, that are lacking in grains and grasses. Minerals in strawberries are moderately high but the level of potassium is the highest. These nutrient values hold true for strawberries of about 100 g.
As part of a goat’s diet, strawberries should be served a few fruits to a goat about three to five times a week, majorly to supply minerals and vitamins to the goats. Also, this frequency of feeding goats with strawberries is important as it helps to control their consumption of sugar – which strawberries have in high amounts – and consequently save them from excessive weight gain.
Benefits of Strawberries to Goats
Strawberries are beneficial to human health; it only makes sense that they are beneficial to your goats as well. However, their benefits stem from the nutrients they provide and the quantity of strawberry fruit a goat eats- because too much of this fruit can be detrimental to your goat’s health. Here are some of the benefits your goats can enjoy from consuming strawberries regularly.
Improved cardiovascular health
The cardiovascular health of your goats determines how active they can be and how well they can cope with extreme weather conditions. Weak cardiovascular muscles translate to docile goats, and that can lead to excess weight gain, which only compounds the cardiovascular problem of your goats.
Strawberries contain vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, which are important in removing toxins from cells of your goats, leaving them more active and healthier; magnesium and potassium help to regulate and coordinate muscle functions in your goats, ensuring that heart muscles work as they should. The low-fat content of strawberries helps to reduce possible fat clog in the arteries and veins, making the heart’s job easier.
Increased milk production
For homesteaders whose purpose of raising goats is to produce milk, for personal use or commercial purposes, you need to supply your herd with the right nutrients to help them produce more and better milk. Although the common nutrients present in grasses and grains will aid in milk production, other nutrients they lack, but present in strawberries will increase milk production even more.
Choline, an important nutrient in breast milk production, helps to stimulate the milk-duct system in goats and improves the amount and quality of milk that they produce. Strawberries contain choline and they will be of massive benefit to a commercial small-scale goat milk producer.
Enhanced sexuality and fertility
Your herd has to grow, regardless of your purpose for raising goats. New goats have to replace the old ones that are due for harvest or have dropped in their productivity. You will want goats that have the same or better vigor than the ones you currently have, and nutrients from their feed can help with this.
Zinc, potassium, and magnesium are important nutrients in determining the fertility and sexual vigor of goats. They directly influence sex hormone production and also influence the quality of semen and ova.
One of the costs you will incur, apart from feeding, while raising goats will include treatment and prevention of goat diseases. The weaker the immunity of your herd, the more you will have to spend to prevent diseases from attacking them.
However, you can employ strawberries in their diet, to supply nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin B, and Iron, to boost the immune system of your goats. The stronger their immune system gets, the more you can save on disease treatment. You still need to have some preventive measures against diseases in place, as in vaccination.
Bone and teeth strengthening
Your goats rely on their jaw to begin the processing of food materials that will give them the required nutrients to be productive. A weak jaw means they will eat less and that will adversely affect their productivity and your earnings. Also, older goats are prone to arthritis as a result of weak bones.
You can tackle both bone and tooth weakness by supplying calcium to your goats as supplements, or you can save cost on calcium supplements and feed them with strawberries that contain calcium and other minerals, such as magnesium, that aid in the uptake of calcium.
Better digestive health
It is useless if your goats eat all the food you provide them but they are unable to digest it. It is the digestion and absorption of food that translates to a healthy increase in weight and improved milk production. To aid digestion of food, supply goats with enough water and fiber.
Strawberries contain over 90% of water and more than 2 g of dietary fiber in 100 g of its serving. These two nutritional materials are important in breaking down food and help to avoid constipation and other digestive upset.
Risks of feeding Goats with Strawberries
As goats can derive benefits from regularly consuming strawberries, they are susceptible to certain risks if their consumption is not controlled.
This is a condition that makes it difficult for oats to pass urine out of their body. It occurs when there is a high amount of calcium in your goats’ diet, leading to the blockage of the bladder. It is a painful condition for goats but can be treated. However, it is better prevented.
Strawberries are high in calcium and can cause urinary calculi. Therefore, control your goats’ strawberry consumption.
Goats usually depend on grasses and grains for nutrition. Grains provide a tremendous amount of carbohydrates as do grasses. Strawberries are fairly high in sugars and may be detrimental to the health of your goats if they consume them freely.
Excessive sugar translates to obesity and may cause other health problems in your goats, such as cardiovascular issues, among others.
Can Baby Goats Eat Strawberries?
Yes, baby goats can eat strawberries. However, ensure that the fruits are cut into bits to avoid choking. Also, it is preferable that baby goats that have not been weaned should only have about one-fifth of what adult goats will have.
How to feed Goats with Strawberries
Feeding goats with strawberries is not difficult. However, you need to follow some guidelines to avoid health complications and emergencies.
- Wash the strawberries thoroughly and ensure they are fresh.
- Slice the fruit into smaller bits for easier consumption
- Separate the strawberry greens from the fruit as goats may concentrate more on the leaves.
- Ensure that each goat does not have more than 5 strawberry fruits per day, and not more than 1 for baby goats.
- Keep watch while your goats eat strawberries for the first time.