Do not be fooled by goats’ willingness to consume anything and everything in reach. There are things that are not good for their health.
So, can goats eat apples?
Yes, goats can eat apples. But the apples need to be sliced into small pieces that are easy to chew and digest and should only be provided in moderation. Apples have significant benefits in terms of fiber and nutrients; however, they should not be fed too often or in large amounts. They should be given as treats no more than twice a week.
This article will focus on apples and their leaves, bark, and stems. I will tell you everything you need to know about feeding your goats apples.
Apples and Your Goats Digestive System
Goats are ruminants just like sheep, cows, and deer. Ruminants have four chambers in their stomachs that help them absorb all the nutrients from the food they eat and increase the uptake of fiber that is needed to regulate their digestive systems.
Rumination is a process where food is passed through the four chambers in the ruminant’s (in this case goats) stomachs through regurgitation and fermentation.
They regurgitate the food moving it from chamber to chamber until it is properly digested.
One medium-size apple will provide 95 calories, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein, 3 grams of fiber, 19 grams of sugar, 107 milligrams of potassium, 6 milligrams of calcium, 0.33 milligrams of vitamin E, and 0 grams of fat.
An Apple is 10 % selenium which is responsible for muscle development, brain health, thyroid health, and reproductive health. They are also fantastic antioxidants.
Apples are a great treat for goats, but your goats should never be fed more than 1 apple per day.
If you feed more than 1 apple a day, your goats may develop a painful buildup of gas (also known as bloating) in their stomach.
Apples contain many nutrients that are essential for healthy bones and muscles.
Lactating goats need a lot of nutrients that are supplied by apples. If you have dairy goats apples can increase the quality and quantity of milk they supply.
Why You Should Slice the Apples Before Feeding Them to Your Goats
Because they are ruminants, goats are at risk of choking on large pieces of food. They cannot bite off pieces of apples that are small enough to chew and digest.
Always feed your goats fresh apples. The pips contain small amounts of cyanide, they would have to eat a lot of pips to be affected by the cyanide.
Some goat owners remove the pips to be safe, but most owners do not remove the pips because the goats would need to eat a lot of apples at the same time for the cyanide in the pips to harm the animals. The choice is yours.
Always slice the apples into thin slices to make them easy to chew and digest safely.
Feeding Goat’s the Leaves and Bark of Apple Trees
Goats love to eat the leaves, branches, and bark of apple trees. This is completely safe for your adult goats to eat the leaves, stems, and bark from your apple trees.
Many goats prefer the bark, leaves, branches, and stems of apples. Normally, they will not try to eat the apples off of the trees because they cannot open their mouths wide enough to get around a whole apple.
If you see your kids (goats not children) trying to eat leaves, bark, stems, and apples you should immediately stop them and either remove them from the area where they have access to the trees or remove the apples from where the kids are.
Hand feeding the apples to the mature goats can be safer for the kids and relaxing to you. That way you know who is being greedy and that your goat kids are not eating any.
Their digestive systems are not developed enough to process anything relating to apples. They will happily keep eating something they find tasty even when they are full.
Apples, stems, bark, and leaves should be introduced slowly into young goat’s diets to avoid face and stomach bloating.
You can start introducing apples and all the extras that come with apples when they are 2 to 3 months old in small portions.
Soft fruit like bananas or watermelon are preferable to apples at 2 to 3 months as these are easier to chew.
If you are introducing apples to your 2- to 3-month-old goat’s diets, the apples must be sliced extra thin and into easy to chew and digest pieces.
Potential Risks of Feeding Your Goats Apples
There are a few things to note about feeding apples to goats.
Because apples taste delicious, if goats have access to them, they will eat and eat and eat.
The fiber content of the apples will fill the goat’s tummies very quickly and they will not eat the essential grasses, hay, or other grazing delicacies they need to grow strong. This can result in nutritional deficiencies.
Goats are not able to open their mouths very wide. They can get stuck, and your goats will not be able to eat until you have helped remove the apple.
Because of their size, apples pose a real risk of choking. They are not able to bite off pieces that are small enough to digest.
Apples can ferment in the goat’s stomachs if they eat too many they can ferment and cause bloating.
Too many apples can also lead to digestive issues and result in weight loss.
Because goats have a dental pad on their upper jawbone with 24 molars and 8 incisors. Their mouths are better suited to chewing rather than biting. It is very hard for them to chew hard or big food items like apples.
Sweet feeds that contain too much sugar can increase the rate at which food is fermented and can cause painful bloating in your goat’s stomach.
Apple seeds contain cyanide which can result in cyanide poisoning that can harm or even kill your goats if they eat large quantities. Your goats would need to eat 5 pounds of hydrogen cyanide present in apple seeds to get sick.
Apple seeds contain amygdalin which can cause painful bloating.
This is… My Final Answer
Yes, goats can eat apples if they are fresh, sliced thin, and given in moderation.
Goats do not eat anything that has touched the ground. Yeah, that is odd for a browser! But it is a fact. They will not eat the roots of a plant or eat a plant all the way to the ground. They will always leave a stub in the ground.
This is important to note as you cannot throw the slices of apple onto the ground. Even though the delicious smell of the apples will torment them, they will not eat them.
They must be fed in a feed bowl or, even better, by hand. Feeding treats by hand is always fun.
Relax and unwind while forming a close bond with your goats by hand feeding the slices of apples as a treat for your goats.
They will love you for giving them tasty treats and they are bound to make you laugh (even on a bad day) with their silly, playful antics.
Burping is part of the rumination process. As they move the food from chamber to chamber, air can be released as a burp.
No, their digestive systems are not fully developed before they are 3 months old.
Di-Anne Devenish Seebregts was raised in an environment where daily life consisted of hiking, environmental conservation, growing fruit and vegetables, and raising poultry for meat and eggs.
She combined her passion for the writing word with her love of the pride that comes with not relying on others. She raised three children (who are now adults) to value the environment, and understand the value of being self-sufficient.