Goats are ruminators that love to forage for food. In the process of foraging, they eat a variety of plants. Goats need different grasses, leaves, and vegetables to grow and thrive.
It is often difficult to know what is a healthy treat that needs to either be given in moderation, that should never be given to goats because they are toxic, and what can be given without limits.
So, can goats eat pumpkins?
Yes, goats can eat pumpkins. Pumpkins are packed with vitamin A, Vitamin B, protein, and fiber. Pumpkin seeds also remove worms from your goats’ gut!
Clearing out last season’s pumpkin patch is so easy because your goats will happily clean up the pumpkin patch for you.
Here is everything you need to know about feeding pumpkins to your goats…
The Benefits of Pumpkin in a Goats Diet
Pumpkins are a very healthy, nutrient, and mineral-rich vegetable food source for your goats.
They are well-balanced with nutrients, and they have a low level of fat and calories, which is great to keep the goats from becoming obese.
Most other vegetable or fruit treats have a high sugar content that can lead to obesity. Pumpkins have a very low sugar content.
Pumpkins are a healthy food source and snack, and goats love the taste.
Note: do not feed your goats gourds, the bitter taste can make the goats ill.
Protein: is needed for muscle growth, tissue reparation, and to maintain a strong immune system.
Vitamin A: maintains their epithelial development and strengthens their immune system. It also helps keep the goats’ vision intact, it aids their metabolism which is needed to break down carbohydrates and fats, and helps with tissue growth.
Calcium: is essential to good bone and muscle development. It also is essential to the body’s nervous and cardiovascular functions, and it is important to prevent painful illnesses that lead to stiff, swollen joints, and poor growth and development.
Calcium is also important for blood clotting, and membrane permeability.
Manganese: pregnant does need manganese to produce healthy kids with good bone, brain, and organ development.
Goats are prone to stillbirths if they do not have a healthy amount of manganese in their diets.
Fiber: is essential to ensure a healthy digestive system.
Vitamin C: is a good antioxidant, it helps your goats fight off illnesses by supporting the immune system.
Potassium: helps metabolize and absorb nutrients in food.
Copper: is important to the development of healthy antibodies and white blood cells, ensures your goat’s coat is shiny and healthy, and it helps produce antioxidant enzymes.
It is also needed for the development of the central nervous system and is needed for healthy bone development.
Riboflavin: treats goats suffering from anemia. It gives the goats a boost because riboflavin aids in the formation of red blood cells.
Vitamin E: is a great antioxidant
The Risks of Pumpkin in a Goats Diet
Pumpkins can be a choking hazard for some goats, you can chop the pumpkins up to help your goats safely eat the pumpkins.
Do not feed your goats moldy or rotten pumpkins as they will contain pathogens and bacteria which are harmful to goats.
Can Goats Eat All Parts of Pumpkin Plants?
As covered, yes, goats can eat the flesh of pumpkins. They are not dangerous but should still not be the goat’s sole diet, they still need their regular mix of grasses and grains.
Some goats do struggle to bite through the pumpkin rinds. Peel the pumpkin and cut the rind in smaller pieces, especially if you are worried about them choking. The peels/rinds are safe and what is on the inside is worth chewing through the rind.
Make sure there are no pesticides or other chemicals on the plants.
Pumpkin leaves are completely safe for your goats to eat.
Pumpkin roots are shallow, and therefore are easy to dig up. Your goats will happily dig up the roosts to feast on.
The roots are full of moisture to stay hydrated on hot days.
The pumpkin vines are a healthy source of fiber and water. Goats also feed on vines as they browse. Setting your goats loose to clean a patch is quick and easy with more than happy laborers.
Pumpkin seeds contain amino acids which kill intestinal worms. Next time you are chopping up and scraping the pips from your pumpkin to cook dinner for your family, remember this nugget of information.
Worm infestations will rob your goats of nutrients and deprive your goats of food needed to develop and grow. It is essential to take action before or as soon as an infestation is suspected.
Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrients, and they can reduce the number of parasites present in your goats; they are natural dewormers. This is because the seeds have cucurbitacin which has deworming properties.
Preparing Pumpkin for Goats
Feeding Raw Pumpkin
Raw pumpkin is very healthy. There is no reason to cook it for your goats. If the pumpkin is store-bought or if you use any pesticide when growing your pumpkins, wash the pumpkins thoroughly to get rid of any chemicals.
Feeding Your Goats Cooked Pumpkin
If you cook pumpkin without any seasoning, it will be softer and easier for your goats to eat.
You will lose some of the nutrients, some of the nutrients will be cooked away, but the water will have a lot of the nutrients.
You can give the goats the water the pumpkin was cooked in to get as many nutrients as possible.
Do not feed cooked pumpkin that has been cooked with seasoning. Many seasonings contain salt, onions, garlic, and other foods that are very bad for goats. Rather just boil it on its own if you want to go to the trouble of cooking it for your goats.
Do not feed your goats canned pumpkin as they contain sugar and spices that could affect the overall health of your goats.
How Many Pumpkins Can a Goat Safely Eat?
There is really no limit to how many pumpkins to feed your goats. Just make sure they are also getting all the normal hay, grass, and grains they need to balance their diets.
Can Kids Eat Pumpkin?
Kids can definitely eat pumpkins once they are weaned (60 days old). To start your kids on pumpkin safely, cut the pumpkin into small pieces.
For your kids, cooking the pumpkin will also make it easy to eat and reduce the risk of choking.
Here is a Delicious Pumpkin Treat for Your Goats
- Make a pumpkin puree by mashing pumpkin with water
- Grab a mold tray and lay the puree in the molds until the molds are half full
- Freeze the trays
- When the trays are properly frozen, take them out the freezer and fill each mold with raw goat’s milk
- Freeze the trays again so that the milk can bond and freeze with the puree
- Feed these little ice cream treats to your goats on a hot day, your goats will love it
Tips and Tricks
Don’t provide only pumpkin plants and pumpkins; your goats still need the normal amount of hay, grass, grains, and normal foods – all very important to good gut health.
If you are giving your goats store-bought pumpkins, wash the pumpkin thoroughly to remove all chemicals before feeding the pumpkins to your goats.
Feed the goats the seeds you remove before cooking. The seeds are very nutritious.
Different fruits and vegetables hold different pros and cons for goats. You should be knowledgeable about these and feed sweeter treats in moderation.
Here are some other fruit and vegetables that are safe for your goats to eat:
This is… My Final Answer
Pumpkins are perfectly safe to feed to your goats. Just make sure they are getting all the other food they need to keep their bodies in perfect shape.
Grass, hay, and grains are essential for gut health and to prevent goats from becoming obese. Feed them raw to ensure that no nutrients are lost.
If you want a good cleanup of your last harvest, let your goats do the work. They will have your pumpkin patch all cleaned up in no time.
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.