Goats are herbivores that eat a wide variety of plant matter, including grasses, leaves and even some produce in the form of fruit and veggies.
But not all things, however wholesome they are for us, are safe for animals. Grapes are one good example.
But are grapes harmful to goats? Can goats eat grapes safely?
Yes, goats can eat grapes safely as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Goats tend to love the sweet taste of grapes and will happily eat them. Grapes also contain a good selection of vitamins and minerals including vitamins B1, B2, B6 ,and K, along with iron, manganese, phosphorous and potassium.
But remember that like all fruits, grapes contain lots of sugar. So, while goats may enjoy snacking on the occasional grape, you should not allow them to overdo it.
Too many grapes can lead to trouble for your goats. Keep reading to learn what you need to know.
Health Benefits of Grapes for Goats
Grapes are sweet, juicy and delicious treats for your goats, but happily they are also quite healthy, overall, with a good assortment of vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin B1, thiamine, is important for the health of a goat’s nervous system, while vitamin B2, riboflavin, helps to keep their skin and eyes healthy.
Vitamin B6 meanwhile plays a role in the production of red blood cells, and vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
Grapes also contain minerals including iron, which helps to transport oxygen around the body, manganese, which is good for bone health, phosphorous, which is essential for cell growth and potassium, which is key for maintaining electrolyte balance and fluid levels in the body.
So grapes offer some definite health benefits to goats as part of a healthy and balanced diet. But there are also some potential risks to consider.
Potential Risks of Feeding Grapes to Goats
Grapes are definitely wholesome fare for goats, but as mentioned above you should not let them overindulge.
The biggest potential risk of feeding grapes to goats is that they might eat too many. Giving fruits to goats can be risky, because they contain sugars, and grapes don’t make an exception to this, and though these sugars are natural they can cause problems if consumed in large quantities.
Too many grapes can lead to a condition called enterotoxemia, which is essentially poisoning caused by bacteria in the gut that multiply when there is an overgrowth of sugar in the intestines.
This can cause severe diarrhea, dehydration and even death if not treated quickly. This is not a huge concern so long as you are moderating their intake, just make sure they don’t eat too many.
Can Goats Eat Grapes Raw?
Yes, and they will love them. This is the best way to give grapes to goats, both for convenience and because raw grapes contain more nutrients than cooked or processed grapes.
Can Goats Eat Red Grapes?
Yes, red grapes are safe and nutritious for goats.
Can Goats Eat Green Grapes?
They sure can. Green grapes are just fine for goats.
Can Goats Eat Black Grapes?
Yes. All colors of grape are safe for your goats.
Can Goats Eat Raisins?
Yes, though you must watch the quantity since they are more caloric and sugary than raw grapes by weight.
Can Goats Eat Grape Leaves?
Yes, and this is another part of the plant goats love. They are especially fond of the small, young leaves that are still soft.
Can Goats Eat Grape Vines?
Yes, and though goats are not typically regarded as big vine-eaters, they seem to enjoy the taste and texture of grape vines more than most other kinds.
Keep this in mind if you grow your own grapes; they could wipe out your crop if you let them!
Can Goats Eat Grapes Cooked?
Yes, though there is no real need or reason to cook grapes prior to serving them. Goats will enjoy them just as much raw.
Never Feed Grapes to Goats that Have Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
On the topic of cooking grapes, you should never feed grapes to goats that have been prepared with harmful ingredients such as extra sugar, butter, and other things.
These can be very dangerous, even lethal, to goats and other animals.
Some grape jelly or jam is awfully tasty on a PB&J, but your goats should not be allowed any. The same goes for grapes that have been soaked in alcohol or any other kind of liquor. Steer clear of those, too.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Grapes
Another potential risk to consider is that grapes may contain pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals, depending on how and where they were grown.
Store-bought grape in particular are notorious for being heavily treated with all sorts of pesticides throughout their growing cycle.
These pesticides, though supposed to be safe for people, plants and animals, are often anything but, and long-term ingestion can lead to serious health issues.
The best way to avoid this is to buy organic grapes, or even better, grow your own. If you do neither of these things then be sure to thoroughly wash any grapes before feeding them to your goats.
How Often Can Goats Have Grapes?
Grapes are a healthy treat for goats, but they are just that: a treat. They should not make up a significant part of your goats’ diet, nor should they be given every day.
A good rule of thumb is to give a large goat them no more than 1 cup of whole grapes per day, a couple of times a week at most, and even less for smaller goats.
Preparing Grapes for Your Herd
If you do want to give your goats grapes, the best way is simply to wash them and then let them eat them whole, skin and all.
There is no need to cut them up or remove the seeds first. Just give them a good wash to remove any dirt, pesticides or other chemicals, then let them enjoy.
If you wanted, you could roughly chop up the grapes to make them easier for smaller goats to chew and swallow, but this is rarely necessary.
Can Baby Goats Have Grapes, Too?
Goat kids love grapes just as much as the adults, but you must take care when feeding them. First, kids should be old enough to eat solid foods all the time.
Second, too many grapes can lead to diarrhea and subsequently dehydration, both of which can be very dangerous for young goats.
Start them with just a few grapes per day, and then slowly increase the amount as they get older and can handle more.
But even then, grapes should only ever make up a small part of their diet. Remember, they are treats, not staples!
Clean Up Any Uneaten Grapes after Serving Your Goats
One last thing you should do: Make sure to clean up any uneaten grapes after serving them to your goats.
Grapes that have been lying around in the sun will quickly spoil and can make your goat sick if ingested later. Their fragrance will also attract every kind of pest there is, mammal and insect alike.
If you don’t want sick goats and bug infestations or a mouse invasion, take the time to pickup after giving grapes to your 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.