Ounce per ounce, blueberries are one of the most nutritious fruits that we might eat on a daily basis.
It makes perfect sense that we might want our animals to take advantage of those health benefits, assuming we can add them safely to their usual diet. So how about it? Can goats safely eat blueberries?
Yes, blueberries are a healthy and safe snack for goats, but one that they should have in a strict moderation owing to the sugar content of berries. So long as they are part of a well-rounded diet, goats will benefit from the B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese present in blueberries.
That’s good to know. Most owners know that their goats should only have fruit periodically, but they can’t have all the same fruits that we do. Blueberries, luckily, are no problem for goats.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding them to your herd.
Health Benefits of Blueberries for Goats
You might think of blueberries as a delicious, sweet treat for your goats, and they are, but they also happen to be a very healthy one.
Each tiny Berry is absolutely packed with good nutrition, both vitamins, and minerals.
You’ll find most of the B vitamins abundantly represented, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and folate. Blueberries also contain tons of vitamins C and K along with a little bit of vitamin E.
The mineral profile looks good too, with plenty of manganese and lesser amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Blueberries are also about 84% water by mass, meaning that they will help keep goats hydrated on hot days.
Together with their natural sugars, this is a great choice for giving goats a quick energy boost.
Can Goats Eat Blueberries Raw?
Yes, goats may eat blueberries raw and this is the preferred way to serve them. Raw blueberries are easy to eat for goats, and also contain the maximum amount of nutrition.
Can Goats Eat Blueberries Cooked?
Yes. Your goats can have cooked blueberries, but you should keep in mind that that cooking will reduce their nutritional profile somewhat. Many vitamins are degraded by high heat, and even some of the minerals will be lost.
That being said, cooking blueberries might make them more appealing to some goats.
Never Feed Blueberries to Goats that Have Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Since we’re talking about cooking, I have to bring up the fact that you should never feed blueberries to your goats that have been prepared with or as an ingredient in something that they cannot have.
Blueberries are a feature in many delicious desserts and sweet toppings, things like muffins, cakes, pies, ice cream, jellies, jams, and so forth. While they are absolutely delicious, these things are for people, not goats.
Feeding these sweet treats to goats will at best result in substantial weight gain which can entail problems all on its own, but even more worryingly it can lead to other, more severe health issues.
High sugar diets often lead to an outbreak of harmful bacteria in the intestinal tract of goats since these bacteria usually feast on sugar.
Acidosis is another common complication, one with potentially fatal consequences. In short, if you’re going to cook blueberries only give them to your goats plain, not as part of some dessert.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Blueberries
Goat owners are advised to be cautious if they are purchasing blueberries from a grocery store for giving to their goats.
Pretty much all commercial produce (and berries in particular) are heavily treated with pesticides all the way through their growing cycle prior to harvest.
These pesticides, though they are supposed to be nominally safe for consumption, have a nasty habit of accumulating in the tissues of mammals, including goats.
Many such pesticides are linked to major health problems like cancer, organ damage, endocrine system problems, and more.
If you buy blueberries from the grocery store you should wash them thoroughly before serving them to your goats.
Even better, grow your own or buy pesticide-free organic varieties to eliminate the problem entirely.
How Often Can Goats Have Blueberries?
Blueberries are a healthy snack for goats, but there are two sugary to be a genuine supplements to their usual diet of grass or silage.
In this regard, they should be given more like a treat, keeping portions small and only feeding them perhaps once a week.
As healthy as blueberries are, they are quite sugary, and goats don’t need much fruit in the first place.
But so long as you mind the quantity and the timing your goats will be able to enjoy them and get a good boost of nutrition out of them.
Preparing Blueberries for Your Herd
The best way to give blueberries to your herd is simply to scatter them around and allow them to eat them up.
Any wild blueberry bushes can be grazed upon freely by your goats if they have access to them.
Ultimately, you might consider lightly mashing blueberries and mixing the resulting pulp into other dry food in order to make it a little more interesting and palatable for your goats.
Can Baby Goats Have Blueberries, Too?
Yes. Baby goats, or kids, may have blueberries also. However, you must be cautious concerning the quantity as they are even more vulnerable to the negative effects of excess sugar in their diet.
Once your kids have grown up enough that they are eating solid food regularly and easily, you can offer them a couple of blueberries to see how they like it.
You’ll need to take care, though, that they don’t get the same amount as adults do or there could be problems.
Clean Up When Your Goats are Finished with the Blueberries
Also, make it a point to clean up any leftover blueberries after your goats are finished with them.
You probably know that fresh fruit will rot quickly, especially when outside and especially when left in the sun.
If blueberries start to get moldy and your goats come back to nibble on them later, they could get seriously ill.
Just as concerning, the odor of blueberries will easily attract pests, particularly rodents but also insects. Both can make life hell for your goats and hell for you.
Prevent bad outcomes by cleaning up leftover blueberries as soon as your goats are finished with them.
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.