Can Goats Eat Peanut Butter? Is it Safe?

For the people who’ve never owned goats before, they probably think of goats as eating machines: Tin cans, tires, old boots- anything is on the menu!

goat enjoying some peanut butter
A goat enjoying some peanut butter…

But for those of us who have owned and cared for them for any length of time, we know that the opposite is usually true: goats can be surprisingly picky, delicate eaters!

But every once in a while, goats will try to eat things that can surprise you, like peanut butter. But is peanut butter safe for goats?

Yes, goats can eat peanut butter safely. Peanut butter is surprisingly nutritious for goats, a great source of protein, minerals, and vitamins, but it’s also extremely calorie-dense, and giving too much to goats may give them serious indigestion.

This is one of those surprising and fun foods that goats can actually have in moderation as a treat.

And, believe it or not, peanut butter can be a good occasional supplement for goats.

But you need to pay attention to what kind of peanut butter you’re giving them, because peanut butter is usually way too full of fat, salt, and sugar to be truly good for goats on a regular basis.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about adding peanut butter to the diet of your goats below…

What Benefits Does Peanut Butter Have for Goats?

Peanut butter is a wonderful source of calories for goats, and a great way to give them a boost of energy when they are stressed or a little sluggish.

Most goats, in my experience, also tend to truly love the stuff, and once they learn to recognize the container you bring it in, or the distinctive sound of the top popping off, you’ll be able to watch them come running.

But looking strictly at the physical benefits, the nutrients you’ll typically find in peanut butter can do a lot for goats, and it will help them grow, heal and maintain a healthy metabolism. Peanut butter can also:

  • help to protect cells from degradation,
  • improve organ function,
  • boost the immune system,
  • and improve skeletal, connective tissue and nervous system health.

So long as you give it to your herd very sparingly, it can be a delicious treat that they will love and you can feel good about giving them.

Nutritional Profile of Peanut Butter

Peanut butter, as mentioned, is a wonderful source of protein and healthy fats, but it’s also a great source of B-complex vitamins in particular, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folate, and cobalamin.

Peanut butter also contains a great amount of vitamin E which is so critical for protecting cells from oxidative damage.

The mineral content of peanut butter is likewise quite impressive, and it is rich in manganese and magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

All in all, for what most people consider junk food or a topping, peanut butter has an excellent nutritional profile even if it does have too many calories for regular consumption – and that includes for your goats!

Stephie the goat loves her peanut butter!

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Goats Raw?

Yes, it is. Peanut butter is safe for goats just as it comes out of the jar, although I would recommend you be cautious and thin it down a little bit if you’re dealing with an all-natural, particularly thick variety.

Is Smooth Peanut Butter Safe for Goats?

Yes, it is! Smooth peanut butter is completely safe for goats.

Is Crunchy Peanut Butter Safe for Goats?

Yes! Little bits of peanuts that give crunchy peanut butter its name will not trouble your goats in the least.

How Often Can Goats Have Peanut Butter?

Infrequently, I recommend no more than one tablespoon a week, or maybe two.

Peanut butter is surprisingly healthy, overall, but it has way too many calories, and too much salt and sugar, to be good for goats on a regular basis.

But don’t worry, they can handle a bit of peanut butter infrequently and derive good energy and nutrition from it without eating it all the time.

Can Peanut Butter Cause Problems for Goats?

Yes, it can. As mentioned, peanut butter is highly caloric, and under ideal conditions, giving it to your goats often is going to lead to weight gain.

That’s a problem in and of itself, but a bigger one is that peanut butter is highly likely to cause some pretty serious indigestion for goats in the form of diarrhea and potentially bloat.

That’s because most types of peanut butter have lots of salt and sugar, and in conjunction with the fat content, this can play hell on a goat’s rumen.

This is rarely an issue so long as you give your goats peanut butter very sparingly as I’ve recommended.

But, if you want to be extra safe, look for the cleanest and most natural kind of peanut butter you can find, with the least additives, added sugar, and added salt. Remember to thin it down if it is too thick for goats to swallow easily!

Never Serve Peanut Butter to Goats if it Has Harmful Ingredients

I think this is something most of us take for granted, but there are a few people reading that need to hear this: you should never, ever give your goats peanut butter that has any weird added ingredients!

Things like jelly and marshmallow fluff are right out, as is peanut butter with chocolate or anything else in it.

Likewise, no desserts that are made with or from peanut butter. Any of these things will cause serious digestive harm to goats.

I promise that peanut butter is a superb treat for your goats just as it is, don’t go crazy!

How Should You Serve Peanut Butter to your Herd?

The single, biggest challenge you’re going to run into when serving peanut butter to your goats is giving it to them without snack time turning into an epic, messy catastrophe.

There are a few schools of thought on this: I like to serve goats peanut butter right off of a wood spoon or soft spatula so there is no real opportunity for them to shove their faces into a container and get messy.

Alternately, consider rolling peanut butter into little balls that are somewhat drier and easier for goats to eat using other safe foods that they like.

If you just don’t care, you can rub a layer of peanut butter on a tray, dish or shallow bowl and let your goats lick it. Be advised that this will lead to some seriously sticky faces, and accordingly some dirty goats!

Is Peanut Butter Safe for Baby Goats?

Yes, peanut butter is safe for baby goats but you’ll only want to give it to them in very small quantities as a very rare treat.

Even then, you should only do this once they’re old enough to be eating solid food 100% of the time.

And keep an eye on them, because the richness of peanut butter is even more likely to cause digestive problems and diarrhea in young goats. If you have any doubt, just hold off until they are mostly grown up.

Always Clean Up Peanut Butter After Serving it to Your Goats

As messy and difficult as it might be, you’ll want to make it a point to clean up after your goats once they are done eating the peanut butter.

If you got the bust out the wet rags and wipe their faces off, do that, and be double sure that you get up any leftover peanut butter lying around the enclosure or elsewhere on your property.

Aside from being extremely sticky and prone to making your goats dirty, peanut butter is extremely attractive to pests, particularly rodents, and you don’t want them hanging around!

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