Ask anyone who has raised goats for any length of time and they will tell you: it is truly only a matter of time before your goats slip out and start eating plants that you don’t want them to eat.
They are frequent raiders of gardens, and an absolute terror as far as your decorative plants and flowers are concerned.
Goats can eat all sorts of things, even some plants that have their own protective measures in the form of thorns! Take roses, for instance. Can goats eat roses safely?
Yes, goats can eat roses safely and will eat every part of the plant, bloom, stem, leaves and all. Roses also happen to be a great source of nutrition for goats.
This has got to be one of the most unbelievable things that goats can and will be happy to eat. And to be perfectly clear, they’re more than capable of eating thorny plants and don’t seem the least bit bothered by them.
In fact, it can be downright hair-raising to watch! All you need to know for now is that goats can eat roses safely and get good nutrition from them, but if you grow roses for any purpose you’ll have to be especially careful to keep your goats from demolishing them.
There’s a lot more to learn on this topic, and I’ll tell you about it down below…
What Benefits Do Roses Have for Goats?
I know it might sound strange at first, but roses are actually quite nutritious for goats.
Unfortunately we don’t have good, accurate data concerning the specific vitamins and minerals they have, but by extrapolating what we know about other, similar plants that’ve been analyzed we know they contain a variety of minerals, vitamins and macronutrients that goats need to stay healthy.
They’re certainly a decent source of energy, and a dependable source of nutrients that will help all sorts of processes in a goat’s body, from metabolic and cellular health to organ function and even the appearance of their skin and coat.
And besides, if that weren’t so, goats wouldn’t be so eager to eat roses whenever they encounter them!
Keep this in mind if you have roses growing anywhere on your property that you’d rather keep standing, because your goats will not hesitate to munch on them.
Are Roses Safe for Goats Raw?
Yes, roses are completely safe for goats raw whether they are growing naturally or have been picked for them.
All parts of the plant are safe for goats, from the petals and hips of the flower to the tender green leaves and even those gnarly, thorny stems!
Can Goats Really Eat Thorny Rose Stems?
Yes, they can. I know this is hard to believe, especially in the case of wild roses that can have borderline barbaric thorns running up and down all sides of their stems, but goats will eat them and do so willingly!
How can this be? Simply stated, a goat’s biology is well designed and adapted to eating and then processing all sorts of tough, rough, and sharp foods.
To accomplish this, they have especially thick skin in and around their mouths that will protect their tissues from being punctured or perforated by rough surfaces or, in this case, thorns.
Goats will bite off a length of the stem, chew it for a time, and then swallow it with no problems.
Now, this doesn’t mean that accidents and mishaps don’t occur… Sometimes thorns can get stuck in a goat’s throat and cause a choking incident, but this is surprisingly rare.
In any case, you won’t be able to count on your rose’s thorns, or the thorns of any other plant, to protect them from your marauding goats!
Can You Cook Roses to Give Them to Goats?
Yes, cooked roses are also safe for goats but frankly, there’s absolutely no reason to cook any part of the plant to give it to your goats.
Roses are ready to eat as-is for your goats, and cooking will only reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals that they have.
How Frequently Can Goats Have Roses?
Roses are a great incidental food item for your goats. If you let your goats out to browse, you don’t need to worry if they are nibbling on any wild roses they find.
Similarly, if you are sure that the roses are safe and free of herbicides or pesticides, you can harvest them and give them to your goats.
While they are nutritious, and most goats seem to like them, they aren’t something they should be eating all the time and they definitely aren’t a staple food.
Accordingly, if you are planning on serving roses to your goats deliberately, I would give them no more than two servings a week. I need to be getting most of their nutrition from hay or in some cases, pellets.
Can Roses Cause Problems for Goats?
Yes, but surprisingly rarely. As mentioned, goats have little difficulty eating at thorny plants that make us wince just looking at them.
They grind up and break down the thorny protrusions on a plant, including roses, before they swallow but every once in a while a thorn can get snagged in the tissues of their mouth or, worse, in the throat.
This requires intervention on your part to correct, or it might require veterinary care in very rare instances.
But other than that, roses are wholesome and healthy for them although they should not be allowed or encouraged to subsist on them entirely because they are not nutritionally complete.
Make Sure Any Roses Your Goats Eat are Pesticide-Free
One thing you’ll need to be very careful of concerning the feeding of roses to your goats is the potential presence of herbicides and pesticides on them.
Roses, along with many other beautiful flowers, are commonly treated with pesticides to help protect them from insect pests that can mar those gorgeous but very delicate blooms.
Similarly, wild roses might be a nuisance that some people have dosed with chemicals in an effort to exterminate.
Whatever the case, you should be sure of the status of any roses that you serve to your goats or allow them to eat.
Goats Shouldn’t Eat Any Rose-based Desserts or Dishes
Also, while comparatively rare, roses are sometimes the primary ingredient in sauces, toppings, desserts, and confections.
Just because something is made with roses does not mean it is okay for your goats, and you should never serve them rose jelly or jam, candied petals or anything like that.
The sugar and extra ingredients in these foods can make your goats very sick.
How Should You Serve Roses to Your Herd?
You might not have to lift a finger to serve roses to your goats. Wherever and however they are growing, if your goats can get to them, they will start munching on them, typically biting off the blooms and the leaves before working on the stem if they are still interested.
If you want to harvest and serve roses to your goats, be careful and protect your hands if thorns are present.
If you want to reduce the minimal risk to your goats, you can pinch off the blooms taking care to preserve the hips. Goats also love rose leaves. Tender stems can be chopped up to make them more appealing to goats.
Are Roses Safe for Baby Goats?
Baby goats can eat roses cautiously once they have matured quite a bit. Maybe goats should not be allowed to eat any rose stems until they are mature because their tissues aren’t as tough as their adult brethren.
They can eat the petals, leaves, and hips safely enough though once they are old enough to eat solid foods all the time.
If you’re going to allow adolescent goats to eat stems with thorns present, you need to keep a very close eye on them because they are significantly more prone to choke than adults.
I recommend you avoid this practice entirely until your youngsters are properly entering adulthood, physically speaking.
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.