Even though goats are herbivores, they are pretty adventurous and varied eaters, consuming grass, leaves, twigs, vegetables and even fruit.
It is surprising just how many different kinds of fruit goats like to eat, from the everyday to the truly exotic. But how about raspberries? Can goats eat raspberries?
Yes, goats can eat raspberries although they should only eat them in moderation since they are so sugary. Raspberries contain abundant B vitamins, vitamin C, manganese, and iron, and they are a delicious and juicy sweet treat for goats.
If you have any wild raspberry bushes around your property you already know that goats typically love them.
If not, now is a good time to start including them as a periodic treat in your herd’s diet. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding raspberries to goats.
Health Benefits of Raspberries for Goats
Raspberries, like most berries, are highly nutritious. Delicious, yes, but they are also packed with vitamins and minerals that goats need.
Raspberries are flush with many B vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. They also have a little bit of choline, plenty of vitamin C, and vitamins E and K.
Things are just as promising when you look at the mineral load of raspberries also, as they have calcium, iron, magnesium, lots of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
Together, these vitamins and minerals will help goats maintain cellular health, good circulation, a strong and healthy skeleton, and stay properly hydrated.
Speaking of hydration, raspberries average about 86% water by weight, meaning that they can help goats rehydrate on hot days.
Can Goats Eat Raspberries Raw?
Yes, goats can eat raw raspberries and this is probably the best way to serve the raspberries too them. Raw raspberries are easy for goats to eat and also contain the best possible amount of nutrition.
Can Goats Eat Raspberries Cooked?
Goats may eat cooked raspberries, but for your part, there isn’t really a good reason to cook them in the first place.
Cooking raspberries will usually reduce them to a sloppy mess, and it will also degrade the vitamins and minerals present in the berries.
Never Feed Raspberries to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
But since we’re talking about cooking, I must advise you to never feed raspberries to your goats that have been prepared with or used as an ingredient in a harmful food that they shouldn’t have.
You certainly know that raspberries are extremely popular as a central ingredient in many desserts, jams, jellies, candies and so forth.
While undeniably delicious, your goats shouldn’t have any of these things or the ingredients that they are commonly made with, including sugar, salt, oils, butter, bread, eggs, and so forth.
The extra calories in all of these things could lead your goats to gain an unhealthy amount of weight, but far worse outcomes are possible, including inflammation of the digestive tract, sodium poisoning, and dangerous bacterial blooms.
Keep the desserts and other confections just for you and your family, and only let your goats have cooked raspberries if they are plain.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Raspberries
Unfortunately, there is more to concern yourself with if you’re going to feed raspberries to goats, namely the likely presence of pesticides on any grocery store-bought berries.
Sadly, pretty much all of our modern produce is sprayed with pesticide chemicals from planting to harvest, and berries are among the worst offenders when it comes to absorbing these pesticides in their flesh.
Though these pesticides are supposed to be safe, the reality is that they typically build up slowly in mammalian tissue over time when ingested.
The consequences can be devastating, and include things like cancer, metabolic problems, reproductive harm, and brain damage.
That’s pretty serious stuff, so you are advised to purchase organic, certified pesticide-free raspberries if at all possible.
The best possible option is to grow your own, but assuming neither of those outcomes is achievable make it a point to thoroughly wash any store-bought raspberries before giving them to your goats.
How Often Can Goats Have Raspberries?
Raspberries are a healthy treat for goats, but they should never be a primary part of their diet. There are too moist and too sugary, and eating them too often can lead to issues.
Generally, you’re advised to give your goats raspberries once or twice a week in limited quantities as a snack or supplement to their usual diet.
If you do this, goats will definitely benefit from the nutrition that raspberries provide well avoiding any problems associated with excessive consumption of sugary foods.
Preparing Raspberries for Your Herd
It will hardly ever be easier than this when it comes to serving raspberries to your goats. If you allow your goats at a raspberry bush, they’ll take care of picking the berries themselves.
But if you already have picked the raspberries or are getting them from the store, you can either hand feed them to your goats, toss them in their enclosure or place them out in a bowl or tray for them to eat.
Raspberries are so soft and juicy that goats will never struggle to eat them.
Can Baby Goats Have Raspberries, Too?
Yes, baby goats can have raspberries but you’ll want to make sure they are old enough to the point where they are eating solid food all the time before you let them try them.
Kids that are still on milk, or ones that periodically reject solid food shouldn’t have raspberries.
And remember, the same rules apply to kids as to adult goats: only give them infrequently and keep the portion size small. Kids have pretty strict nutritional requirements.
This is because their bodies are growing rapidly, and if they fill up on raspberries they aren’t going to get all the nutrition they need to develop.
Also, it is pretty easy for kids to get an upset stomach or even suffer from diarrhea if they eat too many raspberries. They are sweet, juicy, and pretty rich. But keep the quantity small and you won’t have any issues.
Try to Clean Up after Giving Your Goats Raspberries
One more thing. As annoying as it might be make it a point to clean up any leftover raspberries after your goats are finished with them, assuming they leave any behind.
Raspberries are sweet and fragrant, and will definitely attract unwanted visitors in the form of mice, rats and insects, and possibly even raccoons or possums.
The presence of these critters can spell trouble for your goats and extra work for you, so you can prevent any unwanted incursions, along with the risk of your goats eating an old, moldy berry, by cleaning up after them when they are done.
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.