Goats typically eat a varied herbivorous diet consisting of all sorts of different plant matter, from grass and hay to twigs, bark and even seeds.
But have you ever stopped to consider whether or not goats can eat nuts… and are they safe for them?
Yes, goats can eat most kinds of nuts safely and get good nutrition from them. However, they shouldn’t be fed nuts excessively as this can cause problems, and walnuts are toxic for them.
Not much of a surprise here! Goats tend to like all parts of the plants and trees that they eat, and that certainly includes the seeds and nuts from most species.
Nuts can be a great supplement to the diet of your goats, but you must be cautious to not give them too many or feed them too often.
I’ll tell you what you need to know about feeding nuts to your goats below…
What Benefits Do Nuts Have for Goats?
Nuts can be a surprisingly wonderful snack, or supplement, to the diet of your goats. Goats can derive some good nutrients from the protein and fats present in them, and also the huge assortment of vitamins and minerals that they have.
Together, these nutrients can improve everything from nervous system and eye health to the condition of a goat’s skin and fur.
Nuts improve all sorts of metabolic processes, cellular health, energy production, and organ function. Nuts also have marked benefits when it comes to hormone production, and can even help protect cells from oxidative damage.
But the list of benefits goes on, and nuts can improve oxygenation of the bloodstream, support connective tissues and skeletal growth, and a lot more.
This is frankly a tremendous amount of benefits from such a small and nutrient-dense food item, and nuts are a superb snack or supplement for your furry friends.
You must be careful to manage the quantity of nuts that goats get, and prepare them properly, but assuming you can do that they will definitely reap the benefits.
Nutritional Profile of Nuts
The nutritional profile of nuts varies considerably depending on what kind of nut we are talking about, but generally all nuts have a wonderful assortment of both vitamins and minerals that will benefit goats.
Examining the vitamin content, we see that most nuts are rich in the B-complex vitamins, namely thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and particularly a lot of pyridoxine and folate.
Nuts are definitely no slouch when it comes to minerals, either, with a great amount of calcium, magnesium and iron along with plenty of phosphorus, manganese and zinc backed up by little potassium.
There is a reason that nuts are famous for being a healthy, hearty snack!
Are Nuts Safe for Goats Raw?
Yes, most raw nuts are safe for goats, and this is usually the best way to serve them to them. Raw nuts will have the best possible amount of nutrition and are still easy enough for goats to eat.
Just be advised that you will need to shell them if they aren’t already!
Can You Cook Nuts to Give Them to Goats?
Yes, you can. Nuts that have been cooked by any of the common methods for preparation are still fine for your goats as long as they don’t have any added ingredients.
What Kinds of Nuts are Safe for Goats?
Goats can eat most kinds of common nuts, but not all! See the list below for details.
Goats can eat peanuts safely, even though they aren’t really a nut! So long as they don’t have extra salt or flavoring on them, many goats are content to eat peanuts shell and all.
Goats can eat almonds with no problems. One of the healthiest around, these crunchy and flavorful nuts are a favorite with goats, and they cost less than most others making them a great treat.
Goats can eat cashews, too. Healthy, crunchy and easy to digest.
Goats can safely eat hazelnuts. Aromatic and absolutely delicious, hazelnuts are also highly nutritious though they tend to be expensive.
Goats can eat pistachios safely. Goats are capable of digesting the hard shells on pistachios, but they can sometimes be a choking hazard. Recommend that you shell these.
Goats cannot eat walnuts safely. They have various toxic compounds which can harm goats if they eat too many of them, and many species of walnut can also host dangerous fungus which can make your animals sick or even kill them.
How Often Can Goats Have Nuts?
Goats can have a small serving of nuts once or twice a week as part of a well-rounded diet. Nuts are best as a snack, reward or treat for them, or else as a nutritional supplement that is covering a gap in their usual menu.
Whatever you do, you don’t want to give goats too many nuts at once or give them nuts too often because this can lead to digestive problems and significant weight gain in goats.
Can Nuts Cause Problems for Goats?
Yes, they can. The typical problems associated with feeding nuts to goats are overconsumption which will result in weight gain and all of those attendant problems, or else disruption of the rumen.
Goats that are allowed to eat too many can suffer from it serious indigestion, diarrhea, and eventually a pH imbalance they can make it impossible for them to properly digest food, and terminate in lethal inflammation of the stomach or the intestines.
More practically, you need to be cautious if you’re feeding goats any nut that still has an intact shell.
Goats are more than capable of chewing and digesting these hard shells, but nevertheless, they can sometimes be a choking hazard for them so keep an eye on them.
Goats Should Only Be Served Plain Nuts
You only want to serve plain, unsalted nuts to your goats. Any nuts that are covered with salt, seasonings, sugar, syrup, chocolate or anything that makes them extra delicious for you and me is bad, bad news for your goats.
Aside from having way too many calories to be good for goats, excess sugar and salt can cause digestive problems and other health issues in them, including high blood pressure and sodium poisoning.
Not good, so make sure you stick with plain nuts only if you’re going to serve them to your herd.
How Should You Serve Nuts to your Herd?
The first thing you need to decide when it comes to giving nuts to your herd is whether or not you are going to shell them. I prefer to shell the nuts I’m going to serve to my goats out of an abundance of caution.
Whether you have to show them or you buy them pre-shelled, all you need to do then is hand them over or scatter them, and let your goats gobble them up.
If you like to get a little bit closer with your goats, this is a great treat to give them out of your hand.
Are Nuts Safe for Baby Goats?
Yes, but only when they are ready to eat solid food all the time. Even then, you only want to give a baby goat a single nut or two as a treat.
Nuts are not nutritionally complete for goats, and baby goats especially must hit all of their nutritional benchmarks if they’re going to grow up strong and develop properly.
Don’t Store Nuts Near Your Goats
Usually your goats won’t leave any nuts behind after you’re done feeding them, but if they do make sure you pick them up and dispose of them, and also never store them near your goats or other animals.
Nuts attract rodents and other mammalian pests like a magnet, and aside from contaminating your nuts with germs that could make you and your animals sick, you’ll also have pests hanging around that you’ll need to deal with.
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.
Find out more about Tim and the rest of the crew here.