Strawberries are one of the most treasured and delectable fruits that are commonly available. Delicately sweet, a little tart, and highly aromatic, it is no wonder that they are enjoyed the world over.
Goats can eat all sorts of fruits and it might seem totally natural that goats could also enjoy strawberries, but is it true? Can goats eat strawberries safely?
Yes, goats can eat strawberries safely, including wild and mock strawberries, so long as they only get them occasionally. Although nutritious, goats don’t seem to care for the taste of strawberries that much, and too many can give them indigestion or cause other problems thanks to their acidity and sugar content.
Interesting. It would seem at first glance that strawberries are a sure thing when it comes to feeding them to your goats, but believe it or not, they are not a typical food item for them.
Don’t worry, you can still give strawberries to your goats occasionally as a treat, but you’ll want to know what all the considerations are. Keep reading to learn more.
Health Benefits of Strawberries for Goats
Strawberries are sweet, juicy, and generally nutritious for goats with a good complement of vitamins and minerals that can help round out their diet when fed to them sparingly.
Strawberries are notable for having a good variety of vitamins, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and folate. Vitamins contain tons of vitamin C along with a little bit of vitamin E and vitamin K. They also contain a little bit of choline.
Strawberries also contain a surprising amount of minerals, including a good amount of iron and magnesium, plenty of manganese, phosphorus, potassium, and a little bit of zinc and calcium.
All of the above are important for good cellular health, bone health, electrolyte balance and maintenance of fluid levels, the creation of DNA, and more.
Also notable is that strawberries are 91% water by weight, meaning they are a great hydrating snack during hot weather.
Can Goats Eat Strawberries Raw?
Yes, and this is the very best way to serve them to your goats. Goats will not struggle to chew or swallow strawberries as they are, and serving them raw helps maintain maximum nutritional value.
Keep in mind that more goats than you might be thinking don’t seem to care for the taste of strawberries very much. If your goats don’t like strawberries, there is no need to force them to eat them.
Can Goats Eat Wild Strawberries?
Yes, they can. If you have any wild strawberries growing on your property your goats can eat them without issue.
Can Goats Eat Mock Strawberries?
They sure can. These tiny, low-growing cousins to the strawberries we know, also known as “backyard” or “Indian” strawberries are totally safe for your goats, and they have probably eaten many of them already when grazing on grass.
Can Goats Eat Strawberry Leaves
Yes. The leaves of strawberries are totally safe for goats, and they are just as likely to eat the leaves as they are the rest of the fruit.
Can Goats Eat Strawberries Cooked?
They sure can. Goats can safely eat cooked strawberries, and this might be a good way to encourage reluctant goats to try them since it often helps to concentrate sugars and tame the natural tartness of strawberries.
But as mentioned above, cooking will deplete the nutritional value of strawberries somewhat by destroying certain vitamins and displacing minerals. It’s a trade-off.
Never Feed Strawberries to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Since we are talking about cooking strawberries for serving to goats, now is as good a time as any to remind readers that they must never serve strawberries to goats that have been prepared with or used as an ingredient in something that they cannot eat.
Strawberries are typically used as a foundational ingredient in many sugary desserts or toppings, namely jams, preserves, cakes, pies, and so forth. While these desserts are delicious, no doubt about it, you should never give them to your goats.
The massive calorie levels and extraordinary amounts of sugar are going to be terrible for the health of your goats.
At best, it could be facing significant weight gain but at worst more serious health problems, including hypertension, fungal or bacterial blooms in the intestinal tract, and more.
If you are going to cook strawberries for your goats you need to stick to plain, unadulterated strawberries and nothing else.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-bought Strawberries
Unfortunately, there is more to worry about concerning strawberries than overconsumption, at least if you are buying grocery store-bought berries for your herd.
Pretty much all produce, but strawberries in particular, are absolutely bombarded with pesticides throughout their growing cycle prior to harvest.
Although this is intended to keep the berries in good shape so they can make it to market, there’s plenty to worry about concerning long-term health effects after repeated ingestion of these chemicals, in both humans and animals.
If you’re buying strawberries from the grocery store for feeding your goats I highly recommend you purchase organic varieties.
If you are buying the standard kind, wash them very thoroughly prior to serving, but you should know that strawberries, more than any other common fruit, absorb a higher amount of these pesticides directly into their flesh.
How Often Can Goats Have Strawberries?
Strawberries are wholesome, but as mentioned they are not the usual fare for goats and they are strictly relegated to the status of an occasional treat.
You should only give your goats a few strawberries each about once a week, twice at the most, but no more. Assuming they do take a liking to them, it will be easy for them to overindulge in them and get sick.
Preparing Strawberries for Your Herd
You really don’t have to do anything when giving strawberries to your goats. Unless you were dealing with the largest strawberries or the smallest goats, they will easily be able to chew and swallow the fruit.
If you want to be on the safe side, you can quarter or have strawberries to reduce their size.
Can Baby Goats Have Strawberries, Too?
Yes, baby goats may have strawberries but they are even less likely than adults to eat them.
Additionally, you should keep the quantity even smaller since kids have stringent nutritional requirements that must be met, and strawberries are not even close to being nutritionally complete for them.
Also keep in mind, that you should not give strawberries to kids for the first time until they are old enough to be eating entirely solid food.
If they are still living on milk, or milk and eating occasional solid food, they are too young to try strawberries.
Make Sure to Clean Up After Feeding Strawberries to Goats
The last thing you need to know about giving your goats strawberries is that you must clean up after them when they are finished with them.
Any leftover berries or large chunks will quickly spoil when left out, and if your goats come back around later to nibble on them these rotting berries might make them sick. Goats tend to be pretty picky about the quality of their food, but not always!
Worse, strawberries are highly fragrant and that means their odor will attract pests, rodents, other mammals, and insects.
You don’t want any hanging around on your farm or homestead, and in the case of insects, they can actually be directly harmful to your goats.
Don’t risk it, and clean up after your goats are finished with the berries.
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.