If you haven’t spent much time around goats, you probably think they eat absolutely anything and everything. Goats supposedly have indestructible stomachs, and will eat leather, metal and other indigestibles.
But all goat owners know this just isn’t true generally. Because goats are browsers, they’re actually pretty picky, delicate eaters, and might even avoid produce and greenery that’s nominally good for them.
How about something like broccoli? Is broccoli safe for goats?
Yes, broccoli is safe for goats and is a good addition to their diet. Broccoli has many vitamins and minerals, but you should only feed it to them in strict moderation because of its high sulfur content which can cause problems.
Broccoli has a reputation as an extremely healthy vegetable, and it’s definitely healthy for goats.
However, it should be treated as a supplement or occasional item for your animals and not something to eaten all the time, every day because that can cause trouble.
But, generally, as long as you are cautious there isn’t anything to worry about. I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how broccoli fits into the diet of your herd below…
What Benefits Does Broccoli Have for Goats?
Broccoli has many advantages for the overall health of a goat, and the wide assortment of vitamins and minerals it contains means it can improve many aspects of their wellness.
Broccoli contains abundant vitamins and minerals that, together, can improve nervous system health and vision, improve the quality and appearance of their fur and skin, and also help protect cells from degradation thanks to several antioxidants.
Broccoli also has nutrients that will improve overall metabolism in goats which will help them stay energetic, and it even contains beneficial resources that will promote organ health and cellular growth.
But that isn’t all: broccoli has been shown to improve pregnancies in does, both the overall health of the mother and her unborn kid.
Broccoli also helps promote good healing after sickness or injury, improves skeletal growth and strength and circulatory health, particularly via improved oxygenation of blood.
These are just the most important of the many benefits that broccoli can provide, and your animals don’t need a ton of broccoli in order to realize these benefits. Just adding a little bit of broccoli to the diet of your goats periodically is enough.
Nutritional Profile of Broccoli
Broccoli, as stated, is a very nutritious vegetable with many vitamins and minerals that goats need. Broccoli is particularly rich in vitamin A and beta carotene, vitamin C vitamin E and vitamin K.
It’s also quite rich in B vitamins, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid vitamin B6, vitamin B7 and folate.
Broccoli also has an impressive array of minerals to offer goats, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Overall, this is a tremendous amount of nutrition, but as I mentioned, not something that goats should have every day or in large quantities. We’ll talk more about that in a bit…
Is Broccoli Safe for Goats Raw?
Yes, raw broccoli is perfectly safe for goats. It’s pretty easy to digest, and easy enough for goats to eat although if you want them to eat the stems you’ll need to cut them up into smaller, bite-sized pieces.
Are Broccoli Stems Safe for Goats?
Yes. Although some goats might not care for the stems at all, greatly preferring the florets and leaves, they are safe for goats to eat. As mentioned, chop them up into bite-sized pieces for best results.
Are Broccoli Florets Safe for Goats?
Yes. The soft individual florets of a head of broccoli are completely safe for goats to eat and are one of their preferred parts of the plant.
Are Broccoli Leaves Safe for Goats?
Yes, they are. Broccoli leaves are likewise highly nutritious for goats, and believe it or not it is the leaves that goats seem to prefer above everything else. Don’t discard them if you’re growing your own broccoli for goats!
Can You Cook Broccoli to Give it to Goats?
Yes, if you really want to, you can cook broccoli to give it to your goats.
This will make it a little more appealing for some picky eaters, and also make the broccoli easier for them to digest, but it has a pretty big trade-off because it will significantly reduce the amount of minerals and vitamins it has… Generally, you don’t need to go through the trouble.
How Often Can Goats Have Broccoli?
As I’ve mentioned already, you don’t want to serve goats too much broccoli or give it to them too often. It can be a good regular inclusion in their diet, but you’ll want to keep the quantity small.
For most adult goats, you can give them a cup of broccoli or a little bit less every day or every other day.
For sensitive or picky eaters, you can give them that same amount a couple of times a week and they will still derive excellent nutritional value from it.
Can Broccoli Cause Problems for Goats?
Yes, broccoli can definitely cause problems for goats if you give them too much. I mentioned earlier that broccoli is a high-sulfur food, alongside several other vegetables like various cabbages, brussels sprouts and so forth.
Giving goats and other animals too many sulfur-rich foods will result in sulfur toxicity; this is a dangerous buildup of sulfides in their blood.
What makes this condition so insidious, and potentially so dangerous, is that the symptoms are highly variable and can easily be mistaken for some other sort of illness or malady.
Be on the lookout for goats that seem depressed, sluggish, or lacking in appetite. Keep in mind that acute sulfur toxicity can result in organ damage, including nervous system and brain damage! Not good!
Though it sounds scary, and it is, something like that is only a likely issue if you’re giving your goats a lot of broccoli all the time, or in conjunction with other high-sulfur foods.
Moderate the quantity as described above and you shouldn’t have any issues.
Never Serve Broccoli to Goats if it Has Harmful Ingredients or Chemicals
I hope this would be common sense, but remember to never, ever feed your goats any broccoli it’s been prepared with harmful ingredients, or any that has been sprayed with something like pesticides which can be very bad for them.
Cheese sauces, salt, pepper, butter, oil, onions, garlic and all that can be bad for goats.
It might make our broccoli dishes delicious (or tolerable if you’re a broccoli hater) but it’s not good for your goats so avoid them!
How Should You Serve Broccoli to your Herd?
Really the only thing you need to do to give broccoli to your goats is chop it up into small pieces for them.
If you give them whole heads or stalks, you can expect them to nibble off the tender florets and eat all of the leaves and leave the stalks behind.
Chopping the stalks up into bite-size pieces will encourage them to eat the stalks also. If you are dealing with seriously picky eaters, or goats that struggle with firm foods, gently cooking the broccoli can make it more appealing to them, but this isn’t strictly necessary most of the time.
Is Broccoli Safe for Baby Goats?
Yes, but only once they are old enough to be eating solid food regularly. Keep in mind that adolescent goats are even more vulnerable to sulfur buildup than adult goats.
As such, you want to moderate the quantity even more and be especially cautious of giving young goats broccoli alongside other sulfur-rich foods.
Clean Up Any Leftover Broccoli When Your Goats are Finished
Depending on how you serve broccoli to your goats, there might be some leftover bits or pieces that they don’t prefer, or else they get bored with it and move on to something else if it’s available.
If this happens, avoid the temptation to just leave that leftover broccoli lying around: it will quickly rot, smell atrocious, and can also attract pests. If your goats come back around and eat the spoiled broccoli, it might make them seriously sick!
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.