Survival Gardening

26 Veggies Goats Can Eat that Are Perfectly Safe

Contrary to popular belief, goats cannot eat garbage. While these curious creatures may be seen rooting through trash cans or bins, they are actually very selective eaters.

veggies goats can eat collage

Goats prefer to eat grass, leaves, and other vegetation and that includes plenty of fresh veggies.

Goats will eat just about any type of vegetable, including leafy greens, root vegetables and more.

For this reason, owners have cause to worry that goats will damage their gardens and other crops as goats that make it to them won’t just eat the occasional leaf or stem!

Despite this annoying tendency, veggies are a great nutritional supplement for your goats.

To help give you a head start on including veggies in your herd’s diet we are bringing you a list of 26 vegetables that are completely safe for feeding to your goats. Keep reading to find out what they are.

The Benefits of Feeding Goats Vegetables

Goats, like most living things, need a varied diet in order to get all of the nutrients they need.

This is especially important for pregnant and lactating goats as they need more nutrients than ever to support their growing offspring.

While hay and grasses should make up the majority of a goat’s diet, adding in some vegetables can help to boost the nutrient content they ingest and also help to stave off boredom.

Vegetables can also be a great source of hydration for your goats, especially during hot summer months.

Plus, goats just love to eat them! Fresh, crisp veggies sure beat out boring old pellets and grass.

So, if you’re looking for a way to show your goats some love while also giving them the nutrients they need, look no further than veggies.

The next section contains a list of all kinds of vegetables that are totally safe for your goats.

26 Veggies Goats Can Eat that Are Perfectly Safe

The following vegetables are ones that are totally safe so long as goats have them in moderation:

1. Arugula

Arugula, also known as salad rocket, is a leafy green vegetable with a slightly peppery taste. It’s popular in salads and as a pizza topping, but did you know that arugula is also safe for goats to eat?

As well as being low in calories and fat, arugula is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Arugula is a great leafy green to feed your goats if you’re looking for a way to add some variety to their diet. Just be sure not to overdo it as too much arugula can cause an upset stomach.

2. Asparagus

Asparagus is a relatively divisive vegetable when it comes to human consumption, although there is general agreement among goats- they seem to enjoy it! That’s good since asparagus is a nutritious vegetable.

Vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate are all present and it has a little bit of choline and lots of vitamin C, E, and K.

When you consider the mineral content, asparagus becomes an even more appealing choice for a goat’s diet.

Asparagus is high in iron, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, with calcium, magnesium, and potassium being present in lesser amounts.

3. Beets

Beets are a popular superfood for humans, but did you know that they’re also good for goats? Beets are an excellent source of fiber, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals. That’s why you should consider growing your own beetroots.

They’re especially high in vitamins A, B6, and C, as well as folic acid. When it comes to minerals, beets are a good source of iron, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.

Goats can eat both the beet greens and the beetroot itself. However, it’s important to note that beets can cause your goat’s stool to turn red. This is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.

4. Broccoli

Like many other leafy green vegetables, broccoli is a great choice for goats. It’s low in calories but high in nutrients, making it a perfect addition to a healthy diet.

Broccoli is an especially good source of vitamins C and K. It also contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Goats can eat both the florets and the leaves of broccoli. However, the stems, though edible, should be avoided as they can be tough for goats to chew and digest.

Also, don’t give your goats too much broccoli as it can potentially cause bloating.

5. Brussels Sprouts

One of the most universally despised veggies for us is one that goats usually love. Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family and are related to broccoli, kale, and collard greens. They’re also easy to grow and they grow best in cool weather.

Like other cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are low in calories but high in nutrients. They’re especially rich in vitamins C and K.

Brussels sprouts are also a good source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

Just be sure not to give your goats too many as they, like most plants in the Brassicaceae genus, can cause an upset stomach in goats.

6. Cabbage

Cabbage is another leafy vegetable that is much loved by goats. Nutritionally cabbage has a somewhat limited profile but plenty of the nutrients that it does have: It is a good source of vitamins C and K, with minerals including calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Cabbage is also a low-calorie food, making it a good option for supplementing the diet of goats that are already a little overweight.

One of the benefits of cabbage that is often touted is its ability to help with digestive problems. This vegetable can be helpful in easing constipation and diarrhea.

7. Carrots

Carrots are yet another excellent choice when it comes to vegetables for goats. These orange veggie powerhouses are not only a good source of fiber, but they are also chock full of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A.

Vitamin A is important for healthy skin and coat, as well as good vision thanks to its effect on nerve tissues.

Carrots are also a good source of vitamins C, K, and B6, as well as minerals like potassium. As an added bonus, many goats love the taste of carrots and will readily eat them as a treat. Just make sure to chop them into smaller chunks so they don’t risk choking.

8. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a brassica vegetable, like cabbage, and as such shares many of the same nutritional benefits. It is high in the B vitamins and folate as well as fiber.

It also contains a good amount of vitamins C and K, which is important for pregnant goats or those who are nursing.

The sprouted, crumbly heads of cauliflower will be a sure favorite with goats, and they might even eat the smaller stems.

Cauliflower is another low-calorie vegetable, making it a good choice for goats that are already carrying a bit too much weight.

9. Celery

Celery is commonly decried as a “nothing” veggie, little more than solid water and bland taste, but this just isn’t true.

Celery is actually surprisingly nutritious! It’s very low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, and K, as well as folate and potassium.

The fiber in celery can also be helpful in bulking up stools. Goats will love the crunchy stalks of celery, as well as the leaves.

Perhaps the best attribute of celery is how much water it contains: it is a great way to give your goats some extra hydration, especially in hot weather.

10. Chard

Chard is a leafy green vegetable that is closely related to spinach and beet greens. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as minerals like iron and magnesium.

Chard is also a good source of various phytonutrients that can have health benefits and can be helpful in aiding digestion.

The leaves of chard are the part that is most often eaten, but the stems are also tasty for your goats.

Chard is an important vegetable grown around the world, and its increasing popularity in the US means it might end up on the menu of goats more often.

11. Collard Greens

If you haven’t noticed by now, goats are sure to love some leafy greens. That makes sense considering they are browsers.

Collard greens are one such vegetable that is a great choice for goats. These nutrient-rich greens are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron.

Collard greens are also thought to be a digestive aid that can help stabilize the bacterial content of a goat’s rumen. Collard greens can be fed to goats fresh or cooked (plain!), and they will love the taste either way.

12. Cucumber

A crisp, cool, pebbly cucumber is synonymous with summer vegetables.

Cucumbers are healthy for goats as they pack vitamins like A, B, and C, as well as minerals like potassium and magnesium, cucumbers are a great way to add some extra nutrition to your goats’ diet while keeping them hydrated.

Cucumbers are mostly water, making them an easily digested treat for goats. Just remember to never feed cucumbers as pickles to your goats; they cannot handle the salt!

13. Fennel

Beloved for the licorice-like taste it can impart to meats and pickled foods, fennel is definitely a divisive vegetable.

But even those who don’t enjoy the taste of fennel can appreciate its nutritional benefits for goats: it is high in vitamins C and B6, as well as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Fennel is a good source of antioxidants, which can help protect goats from disease. It is also thought to aid in digestion, making it a good choice for goats that are prone to gastrointestinal issues. Fresh fennel leaves are what is best for goats; they will avoid eating the root.

14. Kale

Ah, kale. Depending on who you ask it is the salvation of all nutritional deficiency or the most disgusting thing to come down the turnpike next to poison ivy.

The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Kale is a dark, tough, leafy green vegetable that is indeed chock full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and tons of K, as well as a load of calcium and plenty of iron.

It is also a good source of antioxidants and various phytonutrients. Kale can be fed to goats fresh or cooked, and they will love the taste either way. Just remember to remove the tough stems before feeding it to your goats.

15. Lettuce

Lettuce is one veggie that goats of all kinds seem to love. Maybe because it is so much like the leaves and grass they usually eat.

Goats can safely eat all kinds of different lettuce cultivars, and all have varying levels of nutritional benefits.

Nutrient-wise, lettuce is mostly water but most contain vitamins A and C, as well as the usual minerals like potassium and magnesium.

Keep in mind that some varieties, iceberg in particular, are so low in calories and nutrients as to basically be a boredom-busting snack and little else.

16. Mustard Greens

Mustard greens have a slightly bitter taste and are often used in Asian cuisine. These are a type of leafy green vegetable that once again belongs to the brassica family.

The leaves, stems, and seeds of the mustard plant can all be eaten safely by goats, though they should not be eaten to excess due to a risk of health complications, namely sulfur poisoning, which is associated with all Brassicas as mentioned previously.

This is not much of a concern so long as you mind the quantity. Mustard greens are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K.

They also contain calcium, manganese, and small amounts of protein, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

17. Okra

Goats can eat okra safely in limited quantities: the tough pods are a bit difficult for them to digest and the large seeds within have a reputation for causing blockages of their digestive tract.

But so long as you are cautious and keep an eye on them your goats should be fine munching on a few okra pods.

Indeed, the greens of the okra plant are actually quite nutritious for goats and contain vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, manganese, and small amounts of protein, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

18. Parsley

This fresh herb is one goats will devour with enthusiasm. It is a member of the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, celery, and fennel, and like those vegetables parsley is a good source of vitamins A and C.

Parsley also contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and small amounts of protein and zinc.

As you can see by now, there are a variety of leafy greens that goats can safely consume.

Be sure to rotate what you feed them so that they get a variety of nutrients in their diet, and as always, monitor them carefully when introducing any new foods, even something as inoffensive as parsley, to them.

19. Peas

As for me, I hated peas as a child and still do, but goats do not have such hang-ups. They will joyfully consume both the pods and the peas within them.

Peas pack a potent portion of vitamins and minerals alike, and are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and small amounts of protein and zinc on the mineral side.

As wholesome as they are, it is best to introduce peas to goats slowly so that their stomachs can get used to them and avoid digestive upset.

20. Radishes

Tangy and pungent or bland and inoffensive, radishes only have modest nutrients to offer goats but are nonetheless edible and generally liked by them.

These root vegetables are a good source of vitamins C and K as well as calcium, manganese, and small amounts of folate, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Both the leafy tops and the dense roots are safely edible, but your herd might need some help with the latter; they are so dense and bulbous that most goats struggle to eat them unless they are cut up. Consider cooking them gently to make them more appealing!

21. Rhubarb

The leaves of the rhubarb plant are actually poisonous to goats (and humans!) but the stalks are safe and greatly coveted by goats.

Indeed, they are among the most popular foods among goats. Rhubarb stalks are a good source of vitamins C and K as well as calcium, manganese, and small amounts of potassium, and magnesium.

They also contain potent antioxidant compounds that can help promote good cellular health. Be sure to remove the leaves before feeding them to your goats as even a small amount

22. Spinach

The undisputed king of the leafy green veggies, and another that goats can safely eat in moderation.

Like many of the other greens on this list, spinach is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and small amounts of protein.

All of these nutrients benefit goats, but spinach is particularly high in iron, making it a good choice for goats who are anemic or who have difficulty digesting other sources of this mineral.

One thing to keep in mind is that spinach is notorious for containing high levels of oxalates, which can bind to calcium and other minerals and make them unavailable to goats, and also for losing its nutritional profile very rapidly once picked. With that in mind, feed it quickly and in limited amounts and your goats are sure to prosper from it.

23. Squash

This common family of vegetables comes in many shapes and sizes, and in both summer and winter varieties.

All common varieties are safe for goats to eat and can provide them with a range of important nutrients.

Vitamin A is particularly abundant in squash, and other vitamins present include C, B6, and niacin. Minerals found in squash include potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

As with other vegetables, the nutritional content of squash will vary depending on the variety and how it was grown, so if you have a choice, opt for organic varieties whenever possible.

24. Tomatoes

Despite protestations to the contrary, yes, goats can safely eat tomatoes with a couple of important caveats: the tomato plant itself is actually poisonous to goats, so they should only eat the fruit and not the leaves or stem, and unripe tomatoes are also poisonous.

So in essence, no green parts of the plant, ever, and no green tomatoes. Easy as that! Other than that, tomatoes offer a number of nutritional benefits to goats, including vitamins A, C, and K as well as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Tomatoes are also a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that has been linked to a number of health benefits in humans and is likely beneficial to goats as well.

Just be sure to feed them only ripe tomatoes in moderation and your goats will be all set.

25. Turnip

Goats can safely eat turnips, the root, and turnip greens, the tops. Both are good sources of nutrients that goats need, though the greens are more nutrient-dense than the root.

Turnip greens are particularly high in vitamins A and C, and calcium, while the root contains a good amount of vitamin C as well as smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals like potassium and magnesium.

26. Zucchini

Zucchini is a member of the squash family and is thus related to pumpkins, cucumbers, and other common vegetables. It is safe for goats to eat and can provide them with a range of important nutrients.

Vitamin A is particularly abundant in zucchini, and other vitamins present include C, B6, and niacin. Minerals found in zucchini include potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

While there are plenty of other vegetables that goats can eat, these are some of the most common, nutrient-rich, and easily found options.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of veggies that your goats can safely enjoy as part of a balanced diet.

5 Veggies That Goats Should Not Eat

There are an awful lot of vegetables that goats can eat safely, but there are also some that they cannot, including some common ones that you might not think would be harmful.

Check them out below.

1. Onions

Onions contain abundant sulfur and sulfur-related compounds that can quickly overwhelm a goat’s system and lead to sulfur poisoning. Although a little bit might not hurt them, it is easy for goats to eat too much.

2. Garlic

Garlic is closely related to onions, and the problems that sulfur compounds can cause for goats can also be brought on by garlic consumption.

Garlic has some utility as a vermifuge or natural parasite remover, but it must be fed in strictly controlled quantities.

3. Avocado

Avocados can be extremely hazardous for goats because they contain a potent toxin known as persin.

This toxin is present in all parts of the plant, only in low concentrations in the flesh. The pit and skin are particularly hazardous for goats.

4. Potatoes

Believe it or not, potatoes are part of the nightshade family, and all parts of the plant aside from the vegetable itself contain significant quantities of solanine, a dangerous toxin. Green potatoes also contain solely, and trace amounts are always present in potato skin.

5. Tomatoes (vines and leaves)

Tomato plants are also in the nightshade family along with potatoes. All parts of the tomato plant, including the vines, leaves and calyx, contain solanine. Green or unripe tomatoes also contain high amounts of solanine.

Caution: Don’t Let Goats Eat Too Many Vegetables

Vegetables are a healthy part of a well-rounded diet for goats, no doubt about it, but they should not be the only or even the majority part.

Goats are browsers, and their stomachs are designed to digest a variety of plant material but mostly roughage like hay and grass, along with twigs, bark, and similar items that need prolonged digestion to extract nutrition from.

Accordingly, it is entirely possible for your goats to get too many vegetables and not enough of the other things they need to stay healthy.

Literally too much of a good thing! Signs that your goats are eating too many vegetables include loose or runny stools, excessive gas, bloating, or even vomiting.

If you see any of these signs, reduce the amount of vegetables you are feeding your goats and increase their hay or grass intake until they are back to normal.

Also, a reminder, even though most seasoned goatherds know already: always introduce novel foods to goats slowly, even things as wholesome as veggies.

Goats are creatures of habit and sudden dietary changes can cause them serious digestive distress or disrupt the natural balance of bacteria and other microflora responsible for fermentation in the rumen.

So when in doubt, go slowly and watch the portions. Other than that, enjoy feeding your goats a variety of healthy vegetables and watching them thrive.

Veggies Can be Great for Your Goats

Feeding your goats a variety of healthy vegetables is a great way to give them the nutrients they need for good health.

While you should always be cautious about giving them too many vegetables, as they can upset the delicate balance of their digestive system, most common veggies, of all kinds, are safe and beneficial for them to eat.

So get creative the next time you are going to feed your goats and use fresh vegetables. Your goats will thank you.

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