When you live your life around animals, especially animals that get to know you, look forward to interacting with you, and have personalities of their own it is only natural that you want to share a little bit of your food with them.
One of the most important foods known to mankind is bread, but there are lots of animals that shouldn’t have it. How about our goats? They eat a lot of vegetables, but can they eat bread?
Yes, goats may eat bread safely but very sparingly. Although it will provide them with a few vitamins and minerals, bread should be nothing more than a treat. Excess consumption will lead to weight gain and may cause health issues like acidosis.
Bread is delicious, but it isn’t something that goats should have, or at least not very often.
If you want to give them a little bit now and then, it isn’t going to hurt them, though, so you can make a special treat of it. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about giving bread to your goats.
Health Benefits of Bread for Goats
Bread is definitely not a healthy meal option for goats, but it will provide them with calories for energy along with some vitamins and minerals, although nothing that they could not be better served by getting from another food.
Most breads contain ample amounts of B vitamins, dietary fiber, magnesium, iron, and selenium, all of which are good for goats.
However, the carbohydrates present in bread can easily lead to weight gain, and the sugars that are abundant in some types can cause gut problems and other issues.
Again, there’s nothing inherently harmful in most breads to goats so long as they aren’t allowed to overindulge.
Can Goats Eat Raw Dough?
No, you should never feed raw dough to your goats. It could make them choke, and cause other gastrointestinal upset, aside from potentially harboring harmful bacteria.
Can Goats Eat All Kinds of Bread?
one of the most common arguments that crops up concerning feeding bread to goats is what kind of bread they can have safely, or at least safer.
White bread, wheat bread, various artisanal breads, ancient grains, and so forth all have their proponents and detractors.
Generally speaking, goats may safely eat any kind of bread so long as it does not contain anything that is inherently harmful to them.
Never Feed Bread to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
There are so many kinds of bread on the market today, and so many recipes, that a comprehensive list is completely outside the bounds of this article. That being said, a little bit of common sense will go a long way here.
You should never feed bread to your goats there’s been prepared with any harmful ingredients that they cannot have.
Things like onions, garlic, excess salt, sugar, and so forth are all bad for goats and can cause significant health problems aside from promoting weight gain, which is problematic enough.
I hope it would go without saying that you don’t need to be feeding any sugary dessert breads to your goats. That means no cakes, no donuts, nothing like that.
I get it, most of us have a sweet tooth but these things are seriously bad for your goats, and even worse, goats are known for developing a sweet tooth of their own.
Stick with plain, basic bread if you are going to treat it to your herd.
How Often Can Goats Have Bread?
As should be apparent by now, bread is not a staple of a goat’s diet. It isn’t even a periodic inclusion on the menu. It is a treat, and that means you should feed it to them very sparingly.
Most of a goat’s diet should be made up of hay, silage, grass, and other such forage, around 75%.
The remaining quarter of their diet is made up of supplemental but wholesome food items, with only a percentage point or two, perhaps being made up of treats.
Bread should only be part of that one or two percentage points so that right there should inform you of how little they should have.
Preparing Bread for Your Herd
The good news about bread is this you have many options when it comes to serving it to your herd.
You can tear off chunks of loaf or sliced bread, crumble it into crumbs, or even toss out a couple of hunks to let your goats tear bites off of it.
Can Baby Goats Have Bread, Too?
Yes, kids may have bread too, but you want to give it to them even more sparingly than you do adults, and cut back the quantity even more when you do.
The trick is that baby goats have generally sensitive constitutions while they are young, with fairly strict nutritional requirements.
Even though they might benefit from supplemental food items, bread really doesn’t fit into this paradigm at all.
While they will certainly enjoy eating the bread, it will take up room in their stomach that could be devoted to more nutritionally complete foods that they definitely need.
Furthermore, you cannot give bread to goats that are so young they are not yet eating solid food.
If they are still suckling on their mother’s or are eating solid food only occasionally or hesitatingly, they are much too young to be getting any such junk food as bread.
Clean Up After Serving Bread to Your Goats
If you are taking care of goats you probably have enough to do already, but you need to make it a point to clean up after them if you are going to serve them bread, especially large hunks of bread.
Any bread that they do not eat will quickly begin to mold and then rot, and that can spell trouble if they decide to come back around and take a few more nibbles later.
Any spoiled food can make your goats sick, and perhaps worse rotting food has a tendency to attract unwanted pests.
Rats, mice, raccoons, possums, and insects can all spell trouble in one way or another. This is definitely one of those times where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Pick up and probably dispose of any uneaten bread after your goats are done with it.
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.