Goats need a lot of grass, leaves, branches, and bark to keep their digestive systems and their bodies working right. But who can resist a tasty treat now and then? So, can goats eat bananas?
Yes, goats can eat bananas, but in moderation because of their high sugar content. Bananas are full of fiber, vitamins C, B6, and A, as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and minerals. They are also a good source of omega fats.
Your goats will go bananas for this healthy snack; just make sure that they get plenty of grass and foliage rather than just letting them loose around your banana tree, they will decimate it.
Here is everything you need to know about feeding goats bananas…
The Benefits of Bananas in a Goats Diet
You need to balance the amount of consumption as well as when to give sweet treats. You should always feed your goats properly or send them out to their pasture before giving treats so that the goats get all the natural nutrients needed for the health of their digestive system.
There are several benefits that eating bananas will have for your goats.
Omega Fats: help reduce swelling when the goats are injured, keep the goats’ eyes healthy, and protect the skin from exposure to the elements.
Energy: bananas are a good source of energy because of their sugar content.
Fiber: a single cup of mashed bananas contains 6 grams of fiber. Dietary fiber is essential to ensure a healthy digestive system.
Vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6): are all of utmost importance to a healthy nervous system. It is also very much needed for good metabolism and healthy skin.
Vitamin C: is a good antioxidant and supports the immune system, helping your goats fight off illnesses.
Folate: synthesizes and repairs DNA and ensures healthy liver function.
Choline: is important for good brain health and it increases the performance of productivity of good quality milk and balanced fat percentage.
Potassium: ensures proper muscle function.
Vitamin A: maintains their epithelial development and strengthens their immune system.
Magnesium: helps your goats metabolize carbs and fat maintaining good body weight. It is a great source of energy production.
Iron: is needed to transport oxygen to all parts of your goat and to produce adequate red blood cells.
Phosphorous: improves the function of enzymes and energy metabolism. It is also needed to maintain a healthy acid-base balance in your goat’s bodies. Phosphorous is also important for healthy teeth and bones.
Zinc: breaks down proteins and can help keep your goats calm.
Manganese: is important to the health of a pregnant doe and her unborn kid. Goats are prone to stillbirths if they do not have a healthy amount of manganese in their diets.
Water: bananas are 75% water. Eating bananas will help keep your goats hydrated.
The Risks of Bananas in a Goats Diet
A single cup of mashed bananas contains 27 grams of sugar.
As is the case in people, too much sugar can be devastating to your goat’s health. It can lead to diarrhea, dental issues, heart disease, obesity, and most importantly it can lead to diabetes.
This sweet treat will naturally go down well for your goats, maybe a little bit too much… only allow your goats to consume this treat in moderation.
If you have a banana tree, this will mean limiting the time the goats have access and supervising their time at the tree.
There are many vegetables that are sweet and tasty, like carrots, sweet potatoes, sweetcorn, and peas, that also contain too much sugar. You need to be aware of any fruit or vegetables that are high in sugar and feed these in moderation.
Can Goats Eat All Parts of Banana trees?
As covered, yes, goats can eat bananas. However, in moderation to prevent the adverse effects of sugar.
Many goats do not like banana peels and would prefer you peel the banana before you present your royal highnesses the bananas.
There are 2 risks to feeding your goats banana peels:
- The risk of pesticides on the peel – wash the peels well to remove any chemical treatments from the farmers and shops.
- Peels can also be hard to chew making them a choking hazard – chop the peels into smaller pieces so that they are easier to chew.
The leaves of banana trees are completely safe for your goats to eat. If you are lucky enough to live in a climate warm enough to grow your own banana tree, you should probably fence your tree off from your goats.
They will strip your tree of all its leaves in a heartbeat. Rather trim the banana leaves yourself and give them to your goats whole or chopped up.
Banana roots are fairly shallow and therefore are easy to dig up. Digging is a good way to maintain good health and strong muscles.
The roots are safe to eat and contain a lot of moisture; this ensures that your goats will stay hydrated on hot days.
The stalks are not rich in nutritional value; however, the stalks are a healthy source of fiber and water. Both are essential for good digestion.
It is safe for your goats to eat banana stalks.
Preparing Bananas for Goats
Feeding Raw Bananas
Bananas are safe to feed raw, whether you mash them, chop them up, or slice them (slicing them will reduce the choking risk and will make the treat last longer). However, they do not really need any preparation beyond peeling them for the picky eaters who do not like the peels.
Because goats like bananas so much, they will often wolf their bananas. Try slicing the bananas to make the treat last a little longer.
Green bananas are a great source of carbohydrates that can boost your goat’s energy levels.
If you want to make a super sweet treat for your goats (baking these will destroy the nutrients of all ingredients, but it is not needed).
Directions for making the banana oatmeal cookies:
- Mix 1 cup of molasses and 1 cup of applesauce
- In a separate bowl mix together 1 cup of oats and a cup of raisin bran
- Add 1 to 2 chopped or mashed bananas
- Slowly add the molasses and applesauce mixture
- When it is the same texture as cookie dough, make little balls (the smaller the longer the treat will last)
- Place the balls on cookie sheets and leave them in a dry place to set
- Leave the cookies in a said dry place for 2 to 3 weeks
If you do not want to wait, you can bake; remember that baking removes all the nutrients
- Bake at 175 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes
Feeding Your Goats Cooked Bananas
While it is not only unnecessary to cook the bananas for your goats, cooking them will also actually destroy all the nutrients.
It is not advisable to feed cooked bananas.
Feeding Your Goats Dehydrated Bananas
Do not feed your goats dehydrated bananas as the process of dehydrating bananas concentrates the sugar levels in the fruit. This makes the banana more likely to cause health issues.
How Many Bananas can a Goat Safely Eat?
To prevent adverse effects of the sugar in bananas, you should only feed your goats 1 banana per goat per day. On the other hand, plantains (close relatives of bananas) have less sugar, making them a healthier option.
Can Kids Eat Bananas?
Bananas are safe for kids who are fully weaned. Only feed them the fruit, do not feed them the peel unless you have chopped the peel into very small pieces.
Tips and Tricks
Bananas are a sneaky way to give your goats medicine. They will not suspect a thing!
To preserve bananas, peel them and store them in the deep freeze. The peels cannot be frozen, but the bananas can. This is a trick I learned when learning to make banana loaf.
Any leftover bananas that are starting to go black, not rotten, just with some darkening of the peel, can be frozen until needed.
You can store the bananas in a freezer until you have enough stored up for each of your goats. Always thaw the bananas properly before giving them to your goats.
Mashed bananas mixed in with their regular food can extend the treat while motivating your goats to consume vital nutrients in grass, hay, foliage, and grains.
Slice the bananas into chips to prevent the risk of choking.
Clean up any leftovers to avoid fermentation and drunk goats. This goes for all fruit you give your goats. Sugar ferments, alcohol is addictive and, while really funny to watch, it is not healthy for your goats.
Wipe your goats’ mouths after eating bananas; the residue from bananas can leave your goat’s mouth sticky, wiping them down just prevents dust, dirt, and other particles from clinging to their faces.
Please do not make banana boats, feed your goats chocolate, or enhance the amount of sugar you provide for your goats.
Do not feed your goats onions or garlic as these contain high amounts of n-propyl disulfide, SPCO, and SMCO, which, destroy their body’s ability to produce red blood cells, essentially, it breaks down the iron present in bananas.
When feeding fruits and vegetables, each holds different pros and cons for goats. You should be knowledgeable about these and feed sweeter treats in moderation.
To replace or reduce some of the high sugar content treats, try treating them once a week with a sweet fruit, and on other days feed treats like:
- Swiss Chard
This is… My Final Answer
I love watching my goats eat bananas. Any treats will make your goats turn into goofy kiddos (call it a sugar rush).
Bananas are packed with vitamins and minerals that will help keep your goats healthy.
Absolutely, feed your goats bananas. They are packed with nutrients, and tasty. I guarantee they will be a hit favorite for your goats.
Di-Anne Devenish Seebregts was raised in an environment where daily life consisted of hiking, environmental conservation, growing fruit and vegetables, and raising poultry for meat and eggs.
She combined her passion for the writing word with her love of the pride that comes with not relying on others. She raised three children (who are now adults) to value the environment, and understand the value of being self-sufficient.
Find out more about Di-Anne on our About Us page.