If there’s one thing that every person who owns animals can probably admit to, it’s sharing a little bit of food with your furry friends as a treat.
Certainly with our dogs and cats, but even with our livestock, it’s hardly uncommon for them to get a few tasty morsels.
And goats are definitely no exception, and they are some of the most adventurous eaters of them all. Contrary to their reputation, goats cannot eat everything safely.
How about bread? Can goats eat bread and is it safe for them?
Yes, goats can eat bread but they should only have a very small portion occasionally as a treat. Bread can provide goats with calories, but doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition and can cause health problems for them.
As you’re probably expecting, bread is one of those things that goats generally enjoy and can eat, but you should never give them a lot of bread or give it to them on a regular basis.
It has too many calories, not enough nutrition, and can cause some serious health problems like acidosis.
But if you want to give your goats a nibble now and then of some fresh bread, it shouldn’t hurt them. I’ll tell you a lot more about feeding bread to your herd below…
What Benefits Does Bread Have for Goats?
Bread is not completely devoid of benefits for your animals, but it’s hardly a nutritious food, either! Basically, bread is pretty much empty calories for goats.
It will give them energy, but it has little in the way of vitamins and minerals that they need otherwise.
Bread is a decent source of B-complex vitamins, fiber, iron, and magnesium and, depending on the type of bread, sometimes selenium.
That being said, these are not a good trade-off for goats, and don’t have nutrients that they couldn’t get from better, healthier choices…
Goats love bread, and it will typically give them a little pep in their step if they are low on energy, but bread is pretty much just all carbs and excess carbohydrates can cause a digestive upset in goats that can lead to significant health problems.
Basically, give your goats only a little bit of bread every now and then as a treat or you can expect issues to arise.
Is Baked Bread Okay for Goats?
Yes, baked bread is okay for goats so long as they only get it sparingly and only get it every once in a while as a treat.
And have never, ever allow your goats to free eat on a large quantity of bread or you can expect disaster; the smell of fresh bread will bring your goats running and you can expect them to pig out on it until it is all gone!
What Kinds of Bread are Safe for Goats?
Pretty much all types of breads are safe for goats, again, so long as they get them in moderation.
White and wheat bread are safe for them, as are various other processed grains, spelt, rye, and so forth.
But regardless of what kind of bread you are giving your herd, and no matter how healthy it is for us, nominally, it isn’t good food for goats. That’s the bottom line, so don’t make it a habit.
Is Bread Dough Safe for Goats Raw?
No! Never, ever serve goats raw bread dough. Bread dough is a significant choking hazard for goats, and is all but certain to cause serious digestive upset, potentially bloat which can have devastating consequences.
Also, it isn’t out of the question that uncooked bread dough could contain bacteria or other harmful microorganisms that you don’t want to expose your herd to.
How Frequently Can Goats Have Bread?
Not very often. To make it perfectly clear, bread is only ever a treat for goats, and as a treat, it should be given rarely.
I would give goats no more than a tiny portion of bread once a week, and maybe not even that often. And when I say a tiny portion I do mean tiny: a few bites or mouthfuls is all they should have.
Can Bread Cause Problems for Goats?
Yes, yes it can. Aside from general nutritional imbalance or digestive upset, bread is notorious for causing acidosis in goats if they get too much of.
Acidosis is a condition that occurs in ruminant animals when the pH of the rumen drops below the normal range.
It’s most typically caused by feeding goats too many carbohydrates. Bread, obviously, is nothing but carbs, and so anything more than a little bit of bread is likely to cause or promote acidosis.
You will know something’s gone wrong if you notice bloating in your goats, or a lack of appetite, depression, panting, and diarrhea generally.
Also keep an eye out for twitching muscles and mild spasms, as that’s a symptom of serious acidosis.
Never Serve Bread to Goats if it Has Harmful Ingredients
This is a common sense thing: bread is already basically junk food for goats as I’ve said, but some people go way, way overboard when it comes to giving their goats a little treat with the stuff.
You should never, ever give your goods anything like cake, donuts and stuff like that that are just packed full of sugar, eggs, butter and other things that goats just don’t need.
Similarly, think twice before giving your goats any bread that’s heavily seasoned or encrusted with stuff like garlic or onions.
In short, the plainer the bread the better.
How Should You Serve Bread to your Herd?
The best way to give bread to your goats is torn up into small, bite-sized chunks or even as breadcrumbs that you can mix in with other food to make it more appealing to them.
And if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it 100 more times: give your goats bread sparingly and only occasionally! Too much can and will make them sick.
Is Bread Safe for Baby Goats?
Yes, strictly speaking, baby goats can have bread also, but only once they’ve started to eat solid food, and even then you want to give them even less bread less often than you do adults.
This is because baby goats are much more susceptible to the negative health consequences that bread and other junk food can cause.
It can give them energy, yes, but it’s certainly not a great nutritional supplement for them, and if they’re filling up on bread they aren’t eating other things that they desperately need.
A little nibble of bread once in a great while is all you should give to a baby goat until they grow up.
Don’t Leave Bread Lying Around for Goats
And one last tip: don’t leave bread lying around for your goats to eat at will.
This might be a purely theoretical scenario, usually because goats will wolf down all the bread they can get and you shouldn’t be letting them freely eat on it anyway, but leaving bread out can cause even more problems.
That’s because bread tends to mold and rot very quickly, so if goats come around and eat that moldy bread, it can make them sick.
Worse yet, lots of other animals love bread too, including pests like mice, rats, and raccoons. No good will come of them being around your animals and your buildings.
Accordingly, only give your goats a little bit of bread that they will eat at the instant and if they don’t clean it up when they’re done with it.
Tim is a farm boy with vast experience on homesteads, and with survival and prepping. He lives a self-reliant lifestyle along with his aging mother in a quiet and very conservative little town in Ohio. He teaches folks about security, prepping and self-sufficiency not just through his witty writing, but also in person.