Goats need a variety of foods to stay healthy and well-nourished. They need a balanced diet of different grasses, leaves, and vegetables.
Some vegetables are healthier than others, but we need a little knowledge to tell the good from the bad. So, can goats eat asparagus?
Yes, goats can eat asparagus, a highly nutritious treat containing fiber, vitamins, and minerals that help them reach and maintain good body weight and it’s great for their digestive health.
However, as with any treat, it should only be given in moderation…
Goats are picky eaters. I have been forced to retrieve many unwanted treats. Asparagus is an acquired taste for people – not for me, though.
Asparagus is one of those treats that goats either love or hate. The best way to give it to them is to plant asparagus where they forage.
They may not like the asparagus spears, but they will love the leaves and, more often than not, they will get a good portion of the spear by accident or the goats with the acquired taste will clean up the spears.
Knowledge is key to keeping your goats healthy and happy.
Here is everything you need to know about feeding goats asparagus.
The Benefits of Asparagus in a Goat’s Diet
Asparagus is very beneficial for goats, but it should not be the sole feed for your goats. They should always be fed asparagus mixed in with other fodder, or in addition to fodder.
Selenium: synthesizes and repairs DNA and ensures healthy liver function.
Natural Sugar: supports microbial growth that speeds up fiber degradation, it is a valuable source of energy.
Fat: helps goat’s bodies absorb vitamins and minerals and give them energy. The fat supplied in asparagus aids in brain development and general good health.
Calories: The calories and vitamins in asparagus will enable your goats to maintain a healthy weight. Goats are not generally inclined to be obese, but their diet must include food that will help them hold bodyweight.
This is especially important during pregnancy and nursing. The low calorific value will help keep body weight down reducing the risk of most obesity-related issues.
Vitamin A: boosts their immune systems helping them fight off illnesses; and maintains their epithelial development.
Calcium: is essential to the bodies’ nervous and cardiovascular functions; it is important to good bone and muscle development preventing painful illnesses that lead to stiff, swollen joints; and to prevent poor growth and development.
Magnesium: helps your goats metabolize carbs and fat to maintain good body weight. It is a great source for energy production.
Iron: is needed to ensure the production of red blood cells and to transport oxygen through the blood.
Phosphorous: improves the function of enzymes, improves their energy metabolism, and helps to maintain a healthy acid-base balance in their bodies.
Zinc: breaks down proteins and can keep goats calm.
Manganese: pregnant does need manganese to produce healthy kids with good bone, brain, and organ development. Goats are prone to stillbirths if they do not have a healthy amount of manganese in their diets.
Vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6): are all of utmost importance to a healthy nervous system. It is also very much needed for a good metabolism, and healthy skin.
Vitamin C: is a good antioxidant and supports the immune system, helping your goats fight off illnesses.
Folate: synthesizes and repairs DNA and ensures healthy liver function.
Choline: is important for good brain health and it increases performance of productivity of good quality milk and balanced fat percentage.
Protein: asparagus is a valuable source of the proteins needed for muscle growth, tissue reparation, and boosting their immune systems. It is essential for healthy reproduction and lactation.
Dietary Fiber: is of paramount importance to maintain good gut health and to improve the quality and quantity of milk produced.
Potassium: helps metabolize food, breaking it down and absorbing all the nutrients.
Copper: is important to the development of healthy antibodies and white blood cells, and to the production of antioxidant enzymes.
Vitamin E: is needed for a strong immune system, good growth, and for healthy reproduction.
Vitamin K: affects the blood’s ability to clot.
Sodium: regulates appetite and overall condition by buffering pH levels.
Folate (Vitamin B9): synthesizes and repairs DNA and ensures healthy liver function.
Asparagine: is a form of amino acid which aids in preventing urinary infections and aids metabolism.
Water: asparagus consists of 94% water. Eating asparagus will help keep your goats hydrated.
The Risks of Asparagus in a Goat’s Diet
Asparagus has a very low toxicity level making it a healthy option for your goats. However, it should not be a large portion of your goat’s diet as it can affect your goat’s digestive system.
Even if they have a low toxicity level, the more they eat, the higher the level of the toxins they consume. This can lead to painful digestive issues and bloating.
Be forewarned, just like your urine has a distinctive smell when you eat asparagus, your goat’s urine, and their feces will also have a strong, distinctive smell, coupled with a different color. This is nothing to worry about.
To prevent digestive issues, you will need to start introducing asparagus to your goats very slowly.
Can Goats Eat All Parts of Asparagus Plants?
Yes, goats can eat asparagus spears. The asparagus spears are the crunchy part of the plant. They have a thick texture that some goats do not like. They are the most nutrient-rich part of the plant.
Asparagus spears are very nutritious for goats.
Yes, the tips are safe for your goats. Asparagus tips are tasty and healthy for goats to consume.
Absolutely! As goats are browsers, they will love finding all your asparagus plants and tucking them into the leaves.
The leaves are very tasty for goats; so tasty that you may want to goat-proof your vegetable garden.
Preparing Asparagus for Goats
Always start by thoroughly washing the asparagus to remove dust and pesticides or chemicals stores use.
Chop the asparagus to make it easier and safer for small mouths that are at greater risk of choking.
Feeding Your Goats Raw Asparagus
Any fruit or vegetable will lose the valuable nutrients they contain by cooking them. Feeding raw asparagus is the healthiest method to ensure they are properly benefitting by eating it.
Better yet, allowing your goats to forage on your asparagus fields can be very stimulating for your goats. They will naturally eat the leaves first, but they will take in a good portion of the asparagus spears.
Some goats also prefer the crunchy texture of raw asparagus and some goats prefer to eat cooked asparagus.
Feeding Your Goats Cooked Asparagus
Grilled asparagus is safe for your goats to eat if no seasonings were added.
If you find that your goats don’t like raw asparagus, you can lightly boil or steam the asparagus for them. Only boil or steam them until they are bright green and somewhat soft.
If you do choose to boil or steam, keep the water and give that to the goats too. Many of the nutrients flushed out by boiling or steaming will retain some of their nutritional value in the water.
Make sure the asparagus and the water are properly cooled off before giving them to your goats.
Feeding Your Goats Canned Asparagus
Never feed your goats anything from a can. Canned asparagus contains preservatives and other ingredients that are harmful to goats.
Feeding Your Goats Frozen Asparagus
Provided you are freezing your asparagus in its natural state – no other ingredients added – it is safe to feed frozen asparagus to your goats.
Feeding Your Goats Roasted Asparagus
Roasted asparagus is not an ideal treat for goats. Many goats will not appreciate the bitter taste of roasted asparagus.
If lightly roasted with no seasoning and only occasionally fed, you can give your goats roasted asparagus.
How Much Asparagus can a Goat Safely Eat?
Goats can safely eat 3 to 4% of their bodyweight of asparagus (including the spears, tips, and leaves) per goat per day.
Can Kids Eat Asparagus
Kids cannot, or should not, be given asparagus before they are weaned. Their mother’s milk is essential to keep the baby goat healthy and to build a strong immune system.
When they are properly weaned (3 to 4 months old), you can start them on very small amounts of asparagus. If you rush any new treats, your kid can experience painful digestive issues.
Cut the asparagus into small pieces for your kids.
Different fruits and vegetables hold different pros and cons for goats. Follow this series of articles about edible treats to learn what you should or should not treat your goats with.
You should be knowledgeable about good and bad treats, and I hope to shed some light on healthy treats you can feed your goats.
To replace or reduce some of the high sugar content treats, try treating them once a week with a sweet fruit, and on other days feed treats like:
- Swiss Shard
This is… My Final Answer
The nature of goats is to explore with their mouths. They like to browse for tasty snacks. As such, if you have goats that do love asparagus, your asparagus fields will be a favorite playground.
Asparagus is definitely a good treat or food supplement. But asparagus must be included with other feed and must never be given as the whole feed.
Let us know how your goats feel about asparagus in the comments below.
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.
Find out more about Di-Anne on our About Us page.