To those that don’t keep them, goats have a reputation for eating anything. This is not far from the truth!
As herbivores, goats will nibble on just about any kind of vegetation they come across. This includes twigs, leaves, bark and yes, even fruit. How about apples? Can goats eat apples?
Yes, goats can eat apples in moderation. Apples are a good source of vitamins and minerals for goats, and they definitely enjoy the sweet taste. However, goats’ stomachs are designed to slowly digest roughage, not large amounts of solid matter. Eating too many apples could lead to issues like bloat.
Apples are safe, tasty, and generally nutritious for goats, but as with all treats they should be given in moderation. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about giving apples to your goats.
Health Benefits of Apples for Goats
As mentioned before, apples are a good source of vitamins and minerals for goats.
They are especially high in vitamin C, which is important for goats because they cannot produce their own vitamin C. Apples also contain other vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, potassium, and fiber.
One thing to keep in mind is that while apples are healthy for goats, they should not make up the bulk of their diet.
Can Goats Eat Apples Raw?
Yes, and this is the preferred way to serve apples to goats. Goats are accustomed to eating raw food, and they will derive maximum nutrition from them this way.
Can Goats Eat Apple Seeds?
Yes, goats can eat apple seeds so long as they aren’t eating them all the time or in enormous quantity.
You have probably heard that apple seeds contain cyanide (they actually break down in stomachs to release a cyanide-hydrogen gas) and this is true.
However, it takes a lot of apple seeds to actually cause cyanide poisoning in goats, and it is very unlikely that your goats will eat enough apple seeds to be at risk.
If you are still concerned about the possibility of poisoning, you can remove the apple seeds before giving them to your goats.
Can Goats Eat Apple Skin?
Yep. They can also eat the stems and core if they want to. Just like with people, the skin of the apple contains a lot of nutrients for goats.
Can Goats Eat Apple Tree Leaves?
Yes, they can and will. Plenty of goat herders report that their goats love the leaves on apple trees, even more than the apples themselves sometimes. Apple leaves are nutritious and healthy food for goats.
Can Goats Eat Apple Tree Bark?
They sure can. Goats are fairly notorious for stripping the bark from apple trees when given half a chance. It turns out that goats will eat all sorts of tree bark, not just from apple trees.
This is actually okay, as tree bark is not harmful to goats so long as they don’t eat too much.
If you have an apple tree and don’t want your goats eating the bark, you can try putting a collar around the trunk of the tree. This will usually deter goats from trying to nibble on it.
Never Feed Apples to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Goats can have apples, but you should never serve them apples that have been prepared with any harmful ingredients they shouldn’t eat.
Desserts or candy-coated apples are off the menu, as things like salt, sugar, and chocolate can be harmful to goats.
The same goes for apple cider or apple juice. These beverages contain way too much sugar and often contain alcohol, both of which can be poisonous to goats. Only give your goats plain, natural apples.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Apples
If you are feeding your goats apples purchased from the grocery, you must be cautious of pesticide residue. Many commercially grown apples are sprayed with harmful chemicals that can be toxic to goats.
The best way to avoid this is to buy organic apples, or better yet, grow your own. If you do purchase regular apples, make sure to wash them thoroughly before giving them to your goats.
How Often Can Goats Have Apples?
Apples should only be an occasional treat for your goats and given in strictly limited quantity. Goats need to eat mostly hay or pasture in order to stay healthy.
Treats like apples should only be given in moderation because overindulgence can lead to stomach troubles like bloat, and nutritional deficit.
Preparing Apples for Your Herd
When feeding apples to goats, it is best to give them a few at a time rather than letting them gorge themselves on a whole bushel. Goats have a tendency to overeat when given the chance, so it is up to you to moderate the quantity.
Also, make sure that you slice up apples into small, bite-sized pieces. Goats don’t handle large, bulky foods well since they cannot open their mouths very wide. Choking is a definite hazard with whole or large apple slices.
Also, try to choose softer, ripe apples for your herd. If you give your goats apples that are too hard, they could have difficulty chewing or digesting them.
Can Baby Goats Have Apples, Too?
Yes, once they are old enough to start reliably eating food instead of subsisting on milk. Around 6 to 8 weeks of age is a good time to start giving goats solid foods like apples.
Compared to adult goats, kids are more sensitive to digestive issues and malnutrition, so go easy on the quantity and make sure they are getting enough of the right kinds of foods.
Always Clean Up After Serving Your Goats Apples
Your goats are liable to eat every last bite and scrap of apple you give them, but if they don’t, or if they reject pieces like the core you’ll want to clean up after them as soon as they are done.
Apples decay quickly, and that can attract pests and possibly make your goats ill if they come back around for a bite of a moldy apple. Just like with people, moldy food can cause sickness in goats.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.