Being a homesteader, you constantly wonder if you give your goats enough nutrients in the food they eat. It’s a relief that you can supplement for inadequate nutrients through fruits and vegetables but can goats eat tomatoes?
Yes, goats can eat tomatoes. They love the red, ripe fruit of the plant and will readily devour it if they are given. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals and work perfectly as a source of nutritional supplement for goats. Goats are fed with tomatoes a couple of times a week and they can achieve their best in productivity and health-wise. However, ensure that your goats are only fed fresh tomatoes.
In this article, you will realize the benefits that are attached to feeding your goats with fresh tomatoes. You will understand the parts of the tomato plant to prevent your goats from eating and how much of the good parts of the plant they should consume.
Do Goats Enjoy Eating Tomatoes?
Goats may prefer to eat leafy foods as they are browsers – differing from other ruminants such as cattle and sheep that are grazers – but they will readily eat tomato fruits. They do not take a liking to unripe tomato fruits but will consume the red, ripe fruits.
However, you need to keep watch of your goats if you have tomato plants in your garden and your goats have access to them. Tomato fruits, in moderation, are good for your goats but the green parts of the plant are injurious to them and other livestock.
Because goats will readily eat anything, it may be a challenge for you to make your garden, if they have tomatoes, accessible to them. If on one occasion they eat the ripe fruit from the plant, they may return for another treat but because they’re browsers, they may try the leaves or vines of the plant.
Are Tomatoes Good to Serves as a Treat?
Tomatoes are nutritious and will be good treats for goats. They are not exceptionally rich in the nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, or even vitamins, but they are rich in minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Tomato is abundant in water and contains a fairly good quantity of dietary fiber.
Due to their inadequacy in macronutrients but relatively high micronutrients, they serve as good treats, serving as mineral supplements for goats. The breakdown of 100 g of tomato fruit shows these nutrients are available for your goats when they consume them as a treat.
|Dietary Fiber||1.2 g|
|Vitamin A||42 µg|
|Vitamin B1||0.037 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.594 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.08 mg|
|Vitamin C||14 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.54 mg|
|Vitamin K||7.9 µg|
The high amounts of minerals in tomato makes them a good substitute for commercial mineral supplements and help you save cost. Also, you get to feed your goats with more than one mineral at a time when they are fed with tomatoes.
Benefits of Feeding your Goats with Tomatoes
- Your goats will have improved immune strength as the vitamin C in tomatoes combines with the vitamin c their bodies produce to detoxify the cells and help the immune system fight against goat diseases and infections.
- The high amount of water in tomatoes will aid in easy food digestion and help to deter the occurrence of digestive issues
- Potassium and phosphorus aids in the functioning of the nervous system of all mammals, including goats. This means your goats are shaper and more alert.
- Manganese and potassium are important influencers of sexual agility in mammals. Your goats will mate more and produce more baby goats to help increase the size of your herd.
Are Tomato seeds and vines Safe for Goats to Eat?
Tomato seeds are held in the tomato fruit and it is almost impossible to eat the fruits without the seeds. They are small and soft and goats can easily chew them as they eat the fruits. They do not contain dangerous phytochemicals that may put you, as a homesteader on alert.
However, tomato vines and leaves. In fact, the green parts of the plant are dangerous to mammals, including goats. These parts of the plant, including the unripe fruits, contain an alkaloid, tomatine, that I considered dangerous for your goats. It can cause digestive problems. Also, the green parts of tomato plants contain some amount of solanine, although not as much as in potatoes. Excessive consumption of solanine can lead to goat (or any other animal, including humans) poisoning.
Can Goats Eat Tomato Leaves?
Goats love to eat leaves but they shouldn’t be found near tomato leaves. The characteristic smell of the tomato leaves, brought on by tomatine, is to ward off insects and animals that may want to feast on them. Tomatine is a poisonous alkaloid found in all green parts of a tomato plant, including its leaves and unripe fruits.
Goats should not eat tomato leaves.
Are Tomatoes Safe for Young Goats?
Goats are said to be young when they are yet to be weaned; that is, they are less than two months old. The goats in this age bracket usually depend on milk to provide their nutrition. Their digestive system is not developed enough to handle the stress of processing more complex food materials. Therefore, it is generally not advisable to feed young goats with tomatoes.
However, when they approach 6 weeks old, you may give them a small portion of the tomato fruit, but in moderation. Note that the moderation bar for young goats is lower than what you’ll apply for older goats. This will help their digestive system gains strength in preparation for their change in diet when they are weaned.
Preparing Tomatoes for Your Goats
Because tomato is abundant in water, it is susceptible to rot, and mold may grow on them. Many homesteaders prefer to give their livestock discarded fruits and vegetables, do not do that with tomatoes as they may introduce salmonella to your goats if they have begun to rot. Follow these steps to prepare tomatoes for your goats.
- Separate fresh tomato fruits from rotting ones. Some of the cracked tomato fruits may be healthy, check them for any sign of moldy growth.
- Remove the green top that usually remains after the tomato fruit has been broken off the stalk.
- Wash the fruit thoroughly.
- Slice the tomato fruits into sections small enough for your goats to pick easily.
- Place them in your goats’ feeders and check to ensure no green part is in there.
Feeding Tomatoes to Goats in Moderation
Goats may enjoy tomatoes and willingly continue to pick them when you drop them. However, you should control how much tomatoes your goats consume. Although ripe tomato fruits contain a significantly lower amount of tomatine and solanine, consuming too many tomatoes is still undesirable for goats, primarily because they are treats.
The moderation for feeding goats with tomatoes differs among homesteaders. However, adult goats should have tomatoes about three times a week, preferably before they have other treats that will supply the insufficient micronutrients in tomatoes. In young goats, one-fourth of what an adult goat will eat will suffice for one goat not less than 6 weeks old.
Can Tomatoes Replace Goats’ Daily Food Intake?
Tomatoes are treats, they contain micronutrients and small amounts of macronutrients; therefore, they cannot replace goats’ daily food intake. Tomato fruits are rich in minerals but not in vitamins, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The inadequacy of macronutrients makes them unsuitable to replace a goat’s daily food intake.
As a homesteader, do not make the mistake of giving your goats tomatoes for the whole day, you are technically starving them, as they do not have the required macronutrients to provide the bulk of calories they need daily.
Alternative Fruits to Feed your Goat
Goats are herbivores but they get nutrients from many food choices. They will readily eat fruits, vegetables, seeds, and grasses. Many fruits are safe for goats to eat, and they provide ample micronutrients for better health and productivity. Some of such fruits, apart from tomatoes, include watermelon, grapes, and apples, among others. These fruits are rich in water, dietary fiber, and some vitamins and minerals.
Vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, celery, and poison ivy also supply some minerals and vitamins to goats, aiding in their health improvement.
Tomatoes are a common fruit used for culinary purposes among humans but goats can also eat them. They are susceptible to rot because of their high water content and encourage mold growth which may introduce bacteria to your goats if they eat infected fruits.
Adult goats can eat tomato fruits about three times a week buy young goats, about 6 weeks old, should have one-fourth of the total quantity of tomatoes the adults will consume, assuming they have the same population.
Ensure that your goats do not eat the green parts of tomato plants as it contains tomatine and solanine that are considered poisonous to mammals, including goats.