Most folks already know that goats subsist primarily on a diet of greenery, and as browsers, they tend to eat a variety of grass, leaves, shoots and more.
While domestic, goats enjoy a varied diet that includes some vegetables, including many of the ones that people eat.
Veggies can be a great nutritional supplement to the diet of your goats, but not everything is safe for them. How about spinach? Can goats eat spinach safely?
Yes, spinach is safe for goats so long as they only get limited quantities. Spinach is rich in vitamins and minerals that goats need, but is high in oxalates which can block calcium absorption, causing problems.
Spinach is definitely a nutritional powerhouse, no doubt about that, and one that can benefit your goats. They also tend to like it and will eat it readily if you give it to them.
But, you must be cautious and not give your goats too much. Spinach is a perfect example of too much of a good thing being harmful!
But don’t worry, because so long as you are careful, it isn’t anything you’ll need to worry about. I’ll tell you all about it below…
What Benefits Does Spinach Have for Goats?
Spinach has some significant health benefits for your goats. For starters, it has a good amount of protein for a leafy green vegetable which can help goats of all ages with growth and energy production.
But it’s the wide variety of vitamins and minerals that spinach contains that offers so many benefits to our furry friends.
Together, the nutrients in spinach will greatly improve cellular health and growth, DNA production, eyesight, and overall nervous system and tissue health, organ function and even improve circulatory health.
Spinach is also great for the skin and fur of your goats which can help them stay healthy and better resist pests, sun damage and exposure, aside from helping them look tip-top!
Spinach is also mostly water, which means it can help your goats stay hydrated if they’re allowed to have some on a hot day.
Considering that goats don’t need to eat a lot of spinach, or eat it very often, to capture the benefits this makes it a great snack that you can give to them periodically or an occasional, regular inclusion in their diet.
Nutritional Profile of Spinach
As I said above spinach has a really tremendous amount of vitamins and minerals, and it is particularly rich with vitamins.
The B-complex vitamins are a standout here, including ample amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and folate.
Spinach also contains lots of vitamin A and beta carotene which is a huge booster for eyesight and overall nervous system health in goats.
Spinach also has a good amount of vitamin C and vitamin E, and a humongous amount of vitamin K.
That alone is reason enough to make spinach a part of your goat’s diet, but it is also full of minerals that they need, including tons of manganese backed up by a good amount of magnesium, calcium and iron.
It has lesser but still significant amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and zinc along with a little bit of sodium.
And don’t worry too much about the sodium, as spinach doesn’t have enough to be a problem for goats unless they are eating way too much of it or already have too much salt in their diet.
Is Spinach Safe for Goats Raw?
Yes, spinach is safe and preferable to goats raw. Spinach is soft and easy enough for them to eat as it is, and most goats will be happy to tuck into a mature head of spinach leaves.
Can You Cook Spinach to Give it to Goats?
Yes, goats can and will eat cooked spinach, although you should make it a point to drain it as well as you can. Food that’s excessively moist can cause problems for goats.
Something else to know about cooked spinach is that the cooking process will significantly reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals that the spinach contains.
That’s definitely a downside, but cooking will also reduce the amount of potentially harmful oxalates present in the spinach. This can be worthwhile, but I’ll talk about that in just a minute…
Can Spinach Cause Problems for Goats?
As I mentioned above, spinach can cause problems for goats. As good as it is, the high oxalate content in spinach can be problematic because it can prevent goats from absorbing iron and calcium from other sources in their diet.
It doesn’t take much in the way of imagination to see how this can turn disastrous over time!
Goats need iron and calcium for a variety of bodily processes, and both are necessary for good circulatory health, say nothing of skeletal repair and growth.
If a goat’s body cannot use these vital resources effectively, serious illness can result.
Accordingly, you don’t want to give spinach to goats all the time, and you should avoid giving them huge quantities. A goat’s body can cope with oxalates over time, but you’ll need to give them a break from the spinach so they can do that.
That’s one reason why cooking spinach might be worthwhile because it reduces the overall level of oxalate in the leaves.
How Often Can Goats Have Spinach?
Infrequently, no more than a small serving once or twice a week as part of a well-rounded diet for your goats. If you couldn’t tell from everything we talked about above, goats should not be allowed to eat spinach all the time.
The good news is that goats will still reap the benefits of the supreme nutritional content of spinach even when they get just a few servings occasionally, so you don’t need to worry about them missing out…
Never Serve Spinach to Goats if it Has Harmful Ingredients or Chemicals
It’s also worth mentioning that you should never, ever let your goats eat spinach that has been treated with pesticides, or serve it to them with any additional ingredients they can’t have (things like butter, dressings, oils, bacon, and so forth).
Pesticides are an obvious hazard that can have it serious consequences for the health of your goats, and whatever we might put on our spinach to turn into a good salad or our favorite side dish, chances are none of it is healthy for your herd.
How Should You Serve Spinach to your Herd?
You hardly need to do a thing to easily and safely serve spinach to your goats. You can give them a whole head of spinach to let them tear off what they want, or cut off and chop up the leaves into pre-portioned servings or for mixing in with other food.
If you do want to cook your spinach before you give it to your goats, make it a point to squeeze out all of the excess moisture that you can so it doesn’t upset the rumen of your goats.
Then place it in a bowl or some other clean surface or container so they can eat it easily without it getting all gross.
Is Spinach Safe for Baby Goats?
Yes, spinach is safe for baby goats but only in sharp moderation. For starters, you’ll want to wait until your baby goats are old enough to be eating solid food at all times; only then are they ready to handle some spinach in their diet.
Something else to consider is that young goats, and small goats generally, are more vulnerable to the oxalates found in spinach than fully grown or large goats are.
Growing, young goats need all of their nutrients at this vulnerable stage of life, and missing out on them could have disastrous consequences.
For this reason, you should only give baby goats very small quantities of spinach as a treat.
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.