Goats need different grasses, hay, leaves, shrubs, and vegetables. They love to browse for interesting things to eat.
Some fruit and vegetables are just not healthy enough. They can be extremely high in sugar and low in nutrients making them unsuitable treats. So, can goats eat blueberries?
Yes, goats can definitely eat blueberries. Blueberries are packed with valuable vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that will boost your goat’s physical development, mental cognitive agility, and well-being. However, as it is a fruit, it does have a high sugar content, and must therefore be given in moderation.
Goats love blueberries! If you have any blueberry plants intended for your enjoyment, you should definitely hide them from your goats.
Here is everything you need to know about feeding goats blueberries.
The Benefits of Blueberries in a Goats Diet
There are several benefits eating blueberries has for your goat’s health.
Fiber: promotes normal, healthy growth; and aids in the production of milk.
Protein: gives a valuable boost to your goat’s immune system; it is needed for healthy muscle growth; and it is important for tissue reparation.
Fat: is important to the absorption of vitamins and minerals; it gives goats energy; and the fat supplied in blueberries aids in brain development and general good health.
Energy: goats need energy for foraging and movement.
Vitamin A: strengthens your goat’s immune system; and maintains healthy epithelial development.
Calcium: is needed for good bone and muscle development; boosts the body’s nervous and cardiovascular functions; and prevents painful illnesses affecting joints.
Magnesium: metabolizes carbs and fat to maintain good body weight, and it is important for energy production.
Iron: is needed to cure or prevent anemia; aids in the production of red blood cells; and helps transport oxygen through the blood to all parts of the goat’s bodies.
Phosphorous: boosts the function of enzymes; assists in the metabolism of energy; and maintains a healthy acid-base balance.
Zinc: can help keep goats calm if they are behaving skittishly or are agitated; and can help your goats break down proteins.
Manganese: is needed by pregnant does to prevent spontaneous abortions; and to ensure healthy kids with good bone, brain, and organ development.
Vitamin B (B1, B2, B3, B5, and B6): is needed to maintain a healthy nervous system; it is needed to protect the goat’s skin; and is needed to ensure good metabolism of food.
Vitamin C: boosts the immune system to prevent illnesses and to help your goats heal during and after an illness.
Folate: is important to maintain a healthy liver; and it is needed to synthesize and repair DNA.
Potassium: is needed for the metabolism of food to break the food down so that all the valuable nutrients can be absorbed.
Vitamin E: promotes growth; is important for the goat’s reproductive systems to remain healthy; it is important for the healthy development of kids during pregnancy; and ensures a strong immune system.
Vitamin K: helps blood clot if the goat is injured.
Sodium: ensures that your goats have a healthy appetite; and buffers pH levels ensuring good overall health.
Riboflavin: is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals to prevent damage they cause; and it is needed for healthy growth and to produce red blood cells treating goats to recover from anemia.
Carbohydrates: gives goats an energy boost to keep them mobile and reduce weight gain because the goats are non-ambulatory.
Pyridoxine: helps your goats recover from anemia and treats issues of the nervous system.
Niacin: is a vital source of energy during and after giving birth.
Pantothenic acid: is needed to maintain a healthy metabolism; helps protect skin from the elements and the environment; and it hydrates, heals, soothes, and protects your goat’s skin.
Sugar: is a valuable source of energy.
Water: blueberries are 84% water, assisting your goats in keeping them well hydrated on hot days.
The Risks of Blueberries in a Goats Diet
Eating blueberries could have some risks that you will need to weigh up when deciding whether to give blueberries to your goats; risks can be reduced by feeding in moderation:
- The sugar content can lead to obesity.
- Can cause diarrhea if eaten in excess.
- The high sugar content can foster harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract.
- Eating excessive blueberries can lead to painful acidosis.
- The blueberries may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals on the farm or in the shop – always thoroughly wash the blueberries properly before feeding them to your goats.
- Can cause upset stomachs.
- Eating too many blueberries can make it difficult to digest food.
Can Goats Eat All Parts of Blueberry Plants?
Yes, it is safe to feed your goats blueberries in moderation.
Yes, it is safe for goats to eat the seeds contained in the fruit.
Yes, it is safe for your goats to eat blueberry bushes. As goats are foragers, they prefer eating plants rather than grass.
They will therefore love to get their treat straight from the bush and will consume the leaves and stems that are important for their digestive systems.
Yes, it is safe for your goats to eat the leaves of blueberries.
Yes, blueberry roots are safe for your goats to eat.
The roots of blueberries are shallow and fine, making them easy for your goats to dig up and eat.
Feeding Your Goats Raw Blueberries
It is always better to feed any food or treat raw because cooking them can cause them to lose many of those valuable nutrients.
Because blueberries are small and soft, they are easy for your goats to eat raw.
Feeding Your Goats Cooked Blueberries
While cooking blueberries is not harmful to goats on their own, it is not advisable because too many nutrients are lost to the heat applied by cooking.
If you do want to cook your goat’s blueberries, make sure you do not add anything like sugar or spice to them.
How Many Blueberries can a Goat Safely Eat?
Because of the high sugar content in blueberries, you must feed blueberries sparingly. Feeding a little once a week will be ok, but they should never be fed as a food supplement.
Never give more than a handful of blueberries to your goats per week.
Can Baby Goats (Kids) Eat Blueberries?
No, you should never feed any treat to your kids until they are fully weaned from their mothers.
Once they are weaned, you can begin treating them with very small amounts of blueberries.
Tips and Treats
When giving your goats blueberries, try sprinkling them out on the ground – especially in grassy pastures that need “mowing” – they are grazers and will love the hunt and they will be eating grass and other plant material to balance the sugar and protect their overall health.
Always clean up properly after treating your goats to this delectable snack to prevent your goats from eating fermented or moldy blueberries.
Different fruits and vegetables hold 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 Shard
This is… My Final Answer
Many berries are dangerous for goats to eat, but blueberries are definitely not dangerous for goats.
Blueberries can be a valuable addition to your goat’s diet.
It is safe for you to feed your goats blueberries. This is one treat your goats will love! But they should only be given sparingly. Incorporated in the diet of goats, blueberries will boost the nutrition of their food consumption.
If you are growing blueberries in your backyard, make sure the area is safe from your goats.
I find there is no better way to form a strong bond with pet goats than giving them treats by hand.
Please send us some photos of your goats enjoying their blueberries. I am a sucker for watching goats eat special treats and would love to see your goats enjoying their treats.
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.