So, Can Goats Eat Meat?

Goats have a reputation as being highly varied and enthusiastic eaters. The popular conception is that they can eat absolutely anything, from fruits and vegetables to old tin cans or boot leather with no ill effects.

pygmy goat looking you in the eye
pygmy goat looking you in the eye

Although they might humorously be thought of as nature’s garbage disposal, the reality is far different, and goats have strict nutritional needs. Consider meat, for instance. Can goats actually eat meat?

No, goats cannot eat meat at all. Goats are herbivores, and that means they should ingest only plant matter. Although goats might be able to swallow it, or will eat food with meat as an ingredient, consuming it might make them gravely sick.

It should be obvious, but you never know, especially considering how many varied prepackaged animal feeds are on the market these days.

Goats should not have meat or animal by-products in any fashion. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know on the subject.

Goats are Herbivores, Not Carnivores

Animals fall into one of three categories concerning their dietary requirements. They are either carnivores, herbivores or omnivores. Carnivores eat meat to survive, herbivores eat plant matter and omnivores can eat both.

Goats, as we mentioned, are strictly herbivores. That means they eat nothing but plant matter to survive. They should eat grass, hay, silage, bark, leaves and the occasional fruit or vegetable, and that’s it.

Goats should not have meat. Even if they swallow it, their system is not made to handle it and their stomachs cannot break it down quickly or extract any nutrition from it.

At best, at the very best, meat will take up room in their stomach preventing them from consuming plant matter that might provide them with the nutrition they need. At worst, the meat they eat could make them sick or even kill them.

If you don’t know by now, let me be perfectly clear: never, ever feed meat to your goats or any product containing meat ingredients.

Can Goats Eat Meat Raw?

No, goats cannot eat raw meat. Again, buy some strange chance they might swallow it but they won’t be able to drive any nutrition from it. Worse yet, raw meat may host bacteria that can easily make goats sick, perhaps fatally so.

Also, the presence of parasites in raw meat can spell disaster for goats that eat it. The bottom line is that there is nothing good about raw meat for goats.

Can Goats Eat Meat Cooked?

No. Goats cannot eat cooked meat even though this will likely destroy any harmful bacteria or parasites within. The mere presence of animal tissue in their digestive system can still cause goats harm and make them sick.

Again, they cannot derive any nutritional content from meat, even meat that has been cooked.

Can Goats Eat Animal Food with Meat Ingredients?

No, goats should not eat any animal food or other food containing meat ingredients.

This gets a bit trickier, because many types of animal feed, including dog food and chicken feed, often contain both animal- and plant-based ingredients.

This means that goats might be attracted to such feed because they can detect the presence of their typical sustenance in the food. They might even be able to derive nutrition from it if they eat it.

However, all of the downsides associated with them ingesting meat are still present. The animal based ingredients will not be able to provide them any nutrition and could make them sick.

These foods can also contain bacteria attendant with the meat that carnivorous or omnivorous animals can handle but goats cannot.

Generally, if your goat has a bite or two of such feed you won’t have much to worry about but you should never feed it to them or allow them to eat it.

How Often Can Goats Have Meat before they Suffer Harm?

It is difficult to quantify. A little bit of meat in the form of processed, dry animal feed probably won’t have any ill effects on a goat, or at least any serious ill effects. However, eating wet dog food or intact, raw meat could mean major trouble and quickly.

Baby Goats Should Never Have Meat

Baby goats should never have meat, or feed containing meat, under any circumstances. Aside from their own nutritional requirements, their systems are still developing and cannot cope with meat in any way.

They will be far more vulnerable to bacteria or parasites that are present in meat and any harm that occurs to their stomach or digestive tract as a result of ingesting meat will be more pronounced.

Although baby goats are highly unlikely to eat raw or cooked meat, they will try and eat dry animal feed or pellets containing meat, especially if they’re old enough where they are eating solid food the entire time.

Take care to ensure that this does not happen.

What Should You Do If Your Goats Have Eaten Meat?

If you suspect that your goats have eaten meat or any feed containing meat ingredients, don’t panic. First, try to assess how much they have ingested.

Concerning adult goats, a few nibbles of dry feed that contains both meat and plant ingredients is probably no call whatsoever for alarm.

Goats are pretty hardy and it is unlikely that they will suffer anything worse than indigestion.

However, if, for whatever reason, they have eaten wet dog food, raw meat or something similar you should probably take preemptive action. Call your veterinarian, and follow their advice.

Depending on the age and overall health of the goat they might advise you sit back and watch them to see if their condition deteriorates.

Alternately, the vet might want to come and give the goat a checkup or else have you bring them in.

Alleviating the problems associated with the ingestion of meat mostly revolve around supporting care, although it isn’t out of the question that the vet might pump the goat’s stomach depending on the type of meat that was eaten.

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