Goats are fairly infamous for developing a sweet tooth if you let them. Giving them too much fruit or other sweet treats will lead to them showing a preference for sweet things above most other foods, and that’s sure to cause a problem with their diet.
And goats can have a little bit of fruit, but they shouldn’t have too much, and they should only have certain kinds in order to avoid problems.
How about raisins? Can goats eat raisins and are they safe?
Yes, raisins are safe for goats but they should only get them every now and then as a treat. Though they’re nutritious, raisins are very sugary, and can cause problems for goats like the potentially fatal rumen acidosis.
Raisins are sweet and wholesome, and your goats are sure to enjoy them, but you must be responsible and make sure they only get a few every so often as a special treat.
Leaving your goats too many raisins will lead to weight gain and, if you’re unfortunate, worse problems.
There’s more to know when it comes to making raisins a part of your herd’s diet, so keep reading and I’ll tell you all about it below.
What Benefits Do Raisins Have for Goats?
Raisins have many benefits for goats as long as they’re fed to them responsibly. Raisins are basically concentrated carbohydrates, making them a good source of quick energy for goats and goats love these sweet little morsels which can improve their mood.
But raisins are also surprisingly nutritious, with a great assortment of vitamins and minerals that can help all sorts of processes in a goat’s body.
These vitamins will help improve energy production and nervous system function, cellular growth, the stabilizing of metabolic processes, and skin health and even improve the quality of a goat’s fur.
The vitamins will also improve overall organ health and help goats make use of other nutrients, particularly minerals.
All in all, these are definitely great advantages for goats, and it’s worth making raisins a part of their diet – you just want to be sure that they are only a tiny part of your goats’ diet!
Nutritional Profile of Raisins
Raisins contain a surprisingly good assortment of vitamins and minerals as I mentioned, and looking at the vitamins, we see that they are abundant with most of the B complex ones, including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine.
Raisins also have good amounts of vitamins C, E and K with a little bit of choline to round things out.
The mineral content is likewise fairly impressive for what’s essentially a dried grape, and you’ll find a good shot of calcium, plenty of potassium and phosphorus, magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, and a little bit of selenium.
These are all nutrients that goats need in varying amounts, and raisins can be good, concentrated sources of them.
But as mentioned, you must not overfeed your goats because raisins are simply too sugary.
Are Raisins Safe for Goats Raw?
Yes, raisins are safe for goats raw, and raw is the best way to serve them since they will have the most nutrients.
Are Currants Safe for Goats?
Yes, they are. Currants are just a variety of raisin, specifically ones made from black grapes, and usually a bit smaller than the normal raisins you are used to.
They’re safe for goats in the same way that normal raisins are: fed in moderation.
Are Golden Raisins Safe for Goats?
Yes! Golden raisins are also raisins, made from yellow or from golden grapes. They’re safe for goats all the same.
Can You Cook Raisins to Give Them to Goats?
Yes, you can, but there is no good reason to. Cooking raisins won’t make them any easier to digest or make them any more nutritious.
It will actually do the opposite, reducing the overall amount of vitamins and minerals that they have. This is a bad trade off for a food that’s already heavily caloric and sugary for your goats.
How Often Can Goats Have Raisins?
Goats can have a small serving of raisins, maybe a dozen or so, once a week as a treat. Any more often than that and you run the risk of problems like rumen acidosis which I’ll talk about in the next section.
Raisins have good nutrients for goats, but they also come with a big dose of calories and carbs that will cause harm if they get too much, or get them too often.
Can Raisins Cause Problems for Goats?
Yes, they can. If goats get too many raisins, or get raisins too often, it can lead to health problems, specifically a serious digestive issue called rumen acidosis.
Rumen acidosis is when the pH of a goat’s rumen gets too acidic from eating too much sugar (carbs). This can lead to major health complications like gastrointestinal ulcers, laminitis, bloat, diarrhea, and even death in some cases.
To be clear, it’s not an issue that is specific to raisins; any kind of carb overload, such as grains, can cause rumen acidosis in goats.
But this underscores why it is so important to limit how many raisins your goats get, and especially pay attention to how many they get in conjunction with other carb-dense foods.
Never Serve Raisins to Goats if Made With Harmful Ingredients
Raisins are already sweet and tasty enough that they really don’t need any embellishment, but that hasn’t stopped people from using them in all kinds of recipes.
Unfortunately, most of these recipes and dishes have ingredients that are really bad for goats; such as added sugar or artificial sweeteners, butter, oil, salt, and the like.
Whenever you get raisins to give your goats, make sure they’re plain, natural, and free of any extra ingredients, or else you will make your goats seriously sick. Glazed, candied, or chocolate-covered raisins are a strict no-go!
How Should You Serve Raisins to Your Herd?
There isn’t much to do if you want to give raisins to your goats: simply grab a handful of them and let your goats enjoy them right out of hand, or scatter them where they can find and reach them.
If you want to keep them off the ground, scatter them on a large tray.
Just remember that at no time should you let your goats free-eat from a large quantity of raisins! They won’t stop until they’ve cleared them out, and that means they will have eaten way, way too many.
Are Raisins Safe for Baby Goats?
Yes, raisins are safe for your baby goats, but with a few things to remember.
First, only baby goats that are eating hay and other solid foods continually should get raisins (or other treats), since their digestive systems need extra time to prepare for richer foods.
Second, don’t ever give baby goats large amounts of raisins! A single raisin, maybe two, is plenty for them.
Remember that baby goats have even more delicate tummies compared to adults; anything that upsets their rumen will make them perilously sick at a time when they can least handle it.
Never Leave Raisins Lying Around Near Your Goats
And one last tip, make sure you pick up any leftover raisins that your goats might have missed or left behind.
Unlikely, I know, but raisins will quickly attract all sorts of insect and rodent pests. Pests which, of course, can make life miserable for your goats and other animals, and maybe for you!
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.