If you want goats, you already know that they eat all sorts of plants, and particularly grass and hay. But they also eat a variety of vegetables, though they like some a lot more than others.
How about cabbage? Cabbage is often thought of as one of the healthiest leafy vegetables around and seems like it would be a sure thing for goats. Can goats eat cabbage?
Yes, goats may safely eat cabbage, but only sparingly as a supplement. Cabbage contains a variety of micro-nutrients including B vitamins, folate, vitamin C, K, calcium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
Owners should know that too much cabbage can lead to nutritional imbalance.
Good to know. You’d think that goats would be able to eat all the cabbage they wanted, but this just isn’t the case.
That so, it is still a great supplement to their diet, and can make a great healthy snack for them. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about giving cabbage to your herd.
Health Benefits of Cabbage for Goats
Though cabbage should be fed to goats in moderation, it nonetheless has many health benefits for them.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, and as such contains compounds that have been shown to have cancer-preventing properties.
The vitamins and minerals found in cabbage are also essential for goats’ overall health.
For example, B vitamins are important for goats’ metabolism and nervous system function, while vitamin C is necessary for tissue repair and immunity. Vitamin K is important for blood clotting, and folate is used in the synthesis of DNA.
Calcium is as always important for strong bones and healthy teeth, while iron is necessary for oxygen transport. Phosphorus is involved in cell growth and energy production.
Manganese is an essential trace mineral that plays a role in bone and connective tissue health, as well as metabolism.
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, cabbage also contains fiber and water, both of which are important for goats’ digestive health.
With a nutritional profile like this, you can be sure that it will make a good, healthy treat for you goats.
Can Goats Eat Cabbage Raw?
Yes, and this is the best way to feed it to them though it should be chopped or cut, first. Cooking it can reduce the level of nutrients that are available to goats.
Can Goats Eat Green Cabbage?
Yes, green cabbage is fine for goats.
Can Goats Eat Red Cabbage?
Yep, red cabbage is totally safe for your goats.
Can Goats Eat Cabbage Cooked?
Yes, though you don’t have to cook it. As mentioned previously, cooking cabbage will reduce the level of nutrients available to your goats. If you do choose to cook it, be sure to do so lightly.
On the other hand, cooking can make a sometimes-tough veggie much easier for goats to eat when prepared properly.
So consider your herd’s preferences and their nutritional requirements when making the call on whether or not to cook the cabbage for them.
Never Feed Cabbage to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
You should never feed cooked cabbage to your goats if it has been prepared with other harmful ingredients. Things like butter, oils, spices, salt, sugar, meats and so forth have no place in your herd’s diet.
Not only will these ingredients be unhealthy for your goats, but they can also make the cabbage less palatable for them.
Extra calories from sugar or dairy can lead to weight gain in adults (complete with all the issues that entails) while more serious problems could develop.
Blooms of harmful intestinal bacteria can arise from excess sugar, while hypertension and even salt poisoning can occur as a result of too much sodium. Not good.
If you are unsure about whether or not an ingredient is safe for your goats, be cautious and don’t feed it to them.
It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your beloved goats.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Cabbage
If you don’t grow your own cabbage, and are instead planning on feeding your goats store-bought cabbage, it is important to be aware of the possibility of pesticide residue.
The majority of all commercial crops are heavily treated with pesticide prior to delivery, and cabbage is no different.
These chemicals have a way of building up slowly in mammalian tissue over time with repeated ingestion, and can cause all sorts of health problems.
These pesticides have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, birth defects and more in both humans and animals.
So, if you are going to feed your goats store-bought cabbage, it is important that you purchase organic cabbage that has been certified as pesticide-free.
This will help to ensure the safety of your goats, and give you peace of mind. If this is not possible, wash the non-organic cabbage thoroughly before feeding it to them.
How Often Can Goats Have Cabbage?
It is tough to think of cabbage as a “treat” but that is exactly what it is when it comes to your goats.
Cabbage should not make up the bulk of your goats’ diet by any means, but it can be given to them on occasion as a treat.
A good rule of thumb is to feed your goats no more than 1-2 cups of chopped cabbage per day. This will give them the opportunity to enjoy the taste and benefits of cabbage without overdoing it.
As with any new food, it is always best to introduce cabbage to your goats slowly. Start by giving them a small amount and seeing how they react.
If they seem to enjoy it you can make it a semi-regular supplement to their main menu.
Preparing Cabbage for Your Herd
A whole head of cabbage will be tough for goats to eat effectively, so it is in their best interests for you to chop it up.
This will also make it easier for you to portion out and monitor how much they are eating.
You can chop the cabbage by hand or use a food processor to do the work for you. Just be sure that the pieces are small enough for your goats to eat without difficulty, but not so small that they could choke on them.
Remember: goats only chew with their back teeth, and tend to swallow big bits of food whole, so portion prep accordingly!
Can Baby Goats Have Cabbage, Too?
Yes, but you’ll need to reduce the quantity accordingly, and also keep a close eye on them to ensure it does not upset their digestive tract.
Also, any kids that are going to try cabbage should be old enough that they have switched entirely to solid food and aren’t having any trouble eating it. If they are still on milk, they are too young!
Clean Up after Your Goats are Done with Cabbage
As aggravating as it might be, make it a point to clean up any leftover cabbage when your goats are done with it.
Cabbage that has been sitting out in the sun will start to rot quickly, and can attract all sorts of insect pests and other animals. Plus, it stinks!
It is also important to remove any cabbage that your goats have not eaten. This is because uneaten cabbage will start to sour and spoil, which can cause digestive problems or illness if they decide to come back around and have more later on.
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.