If you have goats, you already know they can eat all sorts of plant matter, but you have probably come upon an occasion where you’d like to share something you are snacking on with them.
This is usually a bad idea since most animals can’t have people’s food, but every once in a while we are pleasantly surprised. Today’s topic, is popcorn. Can goats eat popcorn?
Yes, goats may eat plain or lightly salted popcorn safely. However, it is definitely considered junk food for goats and is a little more than empty calories devoid of much nutritional value. That being said, goats usually enjoy it and it does not make much of a mess.
And now you know. The next time you are popping up some plain or very lightly salted popcorn you could let your goats indulge a little bit and taste what they’ve been missing without worry.
However, there are still plenty of restrictions when it comes to feeding popcorn to goats so you want to keep reading to find out what they are.
Health Benefits of Popcorn for Goats
Popcorn does not really have any health benefits for goats, or rather, it is that goats cannot really extract what minimal nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals are present in popcorn.
If you are going to feed your goats popcorn, they’re only going to get two things out of it: calories and entertainment.
Goats subsist primarily on plant matter, and that includes a limited amount of grains. Popcorn is a grain, and it will provide them with energy, but no meaningful nutrition.
That being said, like most animals goats do enjoy a varied diet cough and food boredom is a real thing.
Serving your goats a few handfuls of popcorn is a way to give them a crunchy, fun treat that won’t hurt them and won’t fill them up too much.
Can Goats Eat Popcorn Kernels?
Goats might eat popcorn kernels, but they are very hard and difficult to digest, even for goats. You’re advised not to give them any popcorn that has not been popped.
Can Goats Eat Popped Popcorn?
Yes, and this is the preferred way to serve it to them. Popped popcorn is crunchy, fun, easy to eat and easy to digest for goats. It is also quite clean and tidy, a worthy factor when you have to feed a large-ish herd of goats!
Never Feed Popcorn to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
You should have known this one was coming. You should never feed goats any popcorn that has been prepared with seasonings or other ingredients that they cannot have, or that might hurt them.
Things like butter, extra salt, seasoning, spices, cheese, sugar, syrups and the like are all very bad for goats.
At best, extra calories are going to make your goats gain weight, or else fill up and miss out on nutrition that they need from other foods. At worst, it can cause serious digestive upset or worse problems.
Specifically, that means no cheddar popcorn, movie theater butter, caramel corn, kettle corn or any other such sugary, salty fare.
Stick to serving your goats plain popcorn or lightly salted popcorn and you won’t have any issues.
How Often Can Goats Have Popcorn?
So popcorn is basically harmless even if it is just calories for your goats, but that doesn’t mean they can eat it whenever they want or as a regular staple in their diet.
Popcorn should not be a staple. It is a treat, and should be doled out accordingly. Giving each of your goats no more than a handful of popcorn each once a week is probably the most you should do, or else you can toss them a few pieces if you make it more regularly.
Preparing Popcorn for Your Herd
Giving popcorn to your goats is super easy. All you need to do is pop the popcorn, buy whatever means you prefer, and then hand it over to them in any manner that you or they like.
You can pop up some popcorn before scattering it around there and closure, give them a big bucket to share, or even feed it to them out of hand if you like.
Anything goes, and popcorn is so light and airy they’re almost certain to eat it all up, but even if they don’t, it won’t really rot and cause a stink or problems afterward.
Can Baby Goats Have Popcorn, Too?
Yes, baby goats, known as kids, can have popcorn but owners are advised to wait for them to grow up a little bit before allowing them to try some for the first time.
Wait until your kids are around 6 weeks old and consistently, reliably eating solid foods before giving them a nibble or two of popcorn.
As always, only start with a tiny amount and keep an eye on them after they eat to make sure they don’t have a bad reaction or any other problems.
Kids are likely to be quite enthusiastic about popcorn, but you’ll want to sharply limit their intake of it since it will be easy for them to fill up on popcorn and miss out on nutrition that their quickly growing bodies desperately need.
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.