Is there any fruit more emblematic of summertime than a perfect, golden peach? I don’t think so. Juicy, deliciously sweet and possessed of an aroma that is hardly describable, peaches really are amazing.
Peaches are enjoyed the world over in one form or another, but that begs the question: can goats eat peaches too?
Yes, goats may eat peaches. Peaches make a sweet, delicious treat for goats, and a reasonably nutritious with vitamins and minerals that will help goats stay healthy. However, peaches are very sugary and can cause goats to gain weight. Also goats should not eat peach pits as they can release cyanide when ingested.
If you have goats you probably already know they can get very enthusiastic about a sweet piece of fruit, and peaches are no different.
A juicy, ripe peach to make a great healthy snack for your goats in hot weather. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about feeding them to your herd.
Health Benefits of Peaches for Goats
Peaches are usually eaten for one reason and one reason only, and that is their sublime, sweet taste.
However, peaches do contain a fair bit of vitamins and minerals, and though they fall well short when compared to other fruit, this does not make them any less healthy or wholesome for goats.
Peaches contain a good spectrum of vitamins, but they don’t contain very many of them.
They have a little bit of vitamin A equivalent, beta-carotene, most of the B vitamins, folate, choline, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K.
The mineral content is similarly diverse, but also lacking in quantity.
Peaches have a little bit of calcium in iron followed by magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Notably they contain virtually no sodium.
Peaches are also 89% water by weight, meaning they can definitely help your goats stay hydrated on hot days and combined with their sugars and other nutrients are a great way to help your goats overcome heat stress.
Can Goats Eat Peaches Raw?
Yes, goats may eat peaches raw and this is the preferred way to serve them. Raw peaches will be incredibly juicy and also contain the maximum amount of nutrition.
Can Goats Eat Peach Pits?
No, goats should not eat peach pits. Aside from being incredibly hard and difficult to chew, even by the standards of goats, the pits contain something that acts as a precursor to cyanide, and will release a cyanide gas in the body as it is digested.
It is unlikely that the amount of gas released from a single pit could harm goats, but stranger things have happened. You are advised to remove the pit from any peaches that you serve to your goats.
Can Goats Eat Peaches Cooked?
Yes, goats may eat cooked peaches. Cooking peaches tends to concentrate their sugars and firm them up a bit, which might be just the thing to entice a goat that doesn’t like raw peaches.
However, as mentioned above cooking will deplete the already meager nutritional profile of peaches, both the vitamins and minerals.
Never Feed Peaches to Goats that Have Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
On the subject of cooking, you should make it a point to never feed peaches to your goats that have been prepared with or used as an ingredient in something that they cannot eat.
Peaches are used in all sorts of desserts, toppings and confections, but your goats shouldn’t eat any of them.
The massive amount of sugar, salt, butter, oil and other harmful ingredients in cakes, pies, jams, jellies and the like are all terribly bad for goats.
If you are lucky, the massive calorie load will cause your goats to gain weight and nothing more.
But chances are they can be facing significant digestive upset in the form of diarrhea, intestinal inflammation or something way worse like an outbreak of bacteria that are able to feed on the abundant sugars they are ingesting.
You might think it is funny to feed your goat some peach pie, but you won’t think it is very funny at all when they are slowly dying in agony.
Save the desserts for yourself and your family, and only feed your goats plain cooked peaches if you’re going to cook them.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Peaches
Another potential concern with serving peaches to goats is the presence of pesticides on grocery store bought produce.
Unfortunately, pretty much every piece of produce, vegetable and fruit alike, sold today at retail has been heavily treated with pesticides.
The residues of these pesticides persist on the fruit at market, and some may even be absorbed into the flesh of the produce in question.
If you’re going to buy peaches from the grocery store with the express purpose of giving them to your goats, try to find organic, pesticide-free certified varieties.
These chemicals have a way of building up in the bodies of mammals over time and can cause devastating harm down the line, including reproductive problems, cancer, hormonal imbalance and worse.
If you cannot find organic varieties or cannot grow your own, make it a point to thoroughly wash any peaches you give to your goats, or peel them entirely and discard the skin.
How Often Can Goats Have Peaches?
Peaches are wholesome, but despite being wholesome they fit squarely in the treat category when it comes to goat nutrition.
A minimal profile of vitamins and minerals combined with lots of sugar means they are the goat equivalent of junk food, or nearly so.
Keep in mind, many goats will readily develop a sweet tooth when you give them sweet things to eat and that can be a hard habit to break.
You can give your goats a small serving of peaches once a week, or perhaps every other week, as a treat or something to help them beat the heat.
Preparing Peaches for Your Herd
The best way to serve at peaches to your herd is to slice them in half and remove the pit before chopping the halves into quarters or individual segments.
Goats shouldn’t have any trouble chewing up and swallowing the soft flesh of a peach, though as mentioned you should never give them the pit.
Can Baby Goats Have Peaches, Too?
Yes, baby goats can have peaches also and typically enjoy them, though you must wait for them to grow up a little bit before allowing them to try them for the first time.
Once a kid is old enough to be eating at solid food all the time without any problems, you can let them take a nibble on a slice of peach.
Also, keep in mind that kids have sensitive digestive tracts compared to adults.
They are growing rapidly and need plenty of nutrition, nutrition they generally won’t get in a peach no matter how tasty they are.
Mind the portions, and only serve peaches to kids as a nice treat every once in awhile.
Make Sure You Clean Up After Giving Peaches to your Goats
There’s one more thing you must do if you plan on giving your goats peaches. As mentioned throughout this article, peaches are incredibly sweet and highly aromatic.
That means if your goats leave any leftovers or bits of the flesh lying around it will rapidly rot and also attract other animals.
If any of your goats come back around later to nibble on a peach that is rotted and spoiling, it could make them sick.
Just because goats have a reputation for eating anything and everything doesn’t mean they can eat spoiled food.
Potentially worse, rats, mice, possums, raccoons and insects will all show up and be prowling around after they get a whiff of peaches, and they can make a problems for your goats and for you.
Let your goats get their fill of the peaches you give them, then promptly clean up the mess and dispose of 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.