Goats don’t need too many vegetables in their diet, but they definitely need some in order to get all of the nutrition their bodies require.
However, some vegetables that you and I eat on a regular basis with no downsides might have drawbacks or even potential dangers for goods.
These are things that owners will need to be aware of before supplementing the diet of their herd. How about spinach? Can goats eat spinach?
Yes, goats may eat spinach safely but only in moderation. Spinach is highly nutritious with an excellent profile of vitamins and minerals, but it also has oxalates which can block the absorption of calcium and iron in the stomach, potentially leading to health problems. Feeding spinach to goats sparingly or cooking it thoroughly will mitigate this problem.
Interesting. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense leafy vegetables out there, and one that seems like it would be a sure thing for goats.
Unfortunately, due to the potential complications opposed by oxalates present in spinach, it is relegated to a periodic supplemental food or even a treat.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about feeding spinach to goats.
Health Benefits of Spinach for Goats
Spinach is a spectacularly healthy vegetable option, one with a dense and comprehensive profile of vitamins and minerals, along with a good amount of protein.
Spinach contains lots of vitamin A and beta carotene, necessary for good nervous system health and eyesight.
It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and folate, all of which are vital for cellular health and repair, and the production of DNA.
Vitamin C is present in quantity, how are they good amount of vitamin E and a tremendous amount of vitamin K.
The mineral profile of spinach is similarly impressive, with calcium, iron and magnesium all being present in great amounts.
Manganese is the most standout mineral that spinach contains, but you’ll also find phosphorus, potassium, zinc and a little bit of sodium.
This nutritional profile alone is reason enough to supplement the diet of your goats with spinach, but it is also 91% Water by mass, meaning it is a great snack that you can give them on a hot day.
Not only will it give them plenty of good nutrition, but it can also help them beat the heat.
Caution: Excess Spinach Consumption May be Harmful for Goats
Spinach is extremely nutritious, no doubt about it, and this nutrition will definitely benefit your goats but it isn’t without its drawbacks.
Spinach, along with some other vegetables, contains quite high levels of oxalates. Oxalates are compounds which inhibit or even block the absorption of iron and calcium in the digestive tract.
The limited amounts of oxalates don’t really cause any harm large doses or repeated consumption can completely prevent the body from taking up and then utilizing calcium and iron in necessary roles.
This, as you might imagine, can spell disaster and it is for this reason that you only want to feed spinach to goats periodically as a supplement.
Can Goats Eat Spinach Raw?
Yes, goats can eat spinach raw and this is generally the best way to serve it to.
It will maximize the nutrition of the spinach, and we’re all spinach is definitely easy enough for goats to eat, but the oxalates and spinach that could potentially cause problem will also be present in abundance, so keep an eye on the quantity.
Can Goats Eat Spinach Cooked?
Yes, goats will eat cooked spinach, and this is another viable way to serve it to them. However, it is something of a trade-off compared to serving it to them raw.
The nutritional value of spinach, both the minerals and the vitamins, will be degraded somewhat by cooking, but in return you might make the spinach more appealing to picky eaters and you’ll also reduce the overall level of oxalates depending on how it is prepared.
See the next section for more details.
Cooking Spinach Can Reduce Oxalate Content
If you read the preceding sections, you know that the oxalates present in spinach can potentially cause problems for goats.
However, it is possible to reduce the quantity of oxalates present in the spinach significantly by properly cooking it.
Boiling the spinach before removing it and giving it a quick soak in fresh water drastically reduces the overall amount of oxalates present in the vegetable.
Yes, the nutritional value will be reduced accordingly as detailed elsewhere, but this might be a small trade-off to reduce the risks of these harmful compounds.
Never Feed Spinach to Goats that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
Something else you should keep in mind if you were planning on cooking spinach prior to giving it to your goats.
You must never feed spinach to goats that has been prepared with harmful ingredients or itself used as an ingredient in something harmful that they cannot have.
Butter, salt, sugar, oils, spices, seasonings, bacon and so forth are all no-go for your goats.
At best, these extra ingredients will add a lot of calories to spinach and can cause your goats to gain weight, but more likely, and far worse will be severe digestive system issues, to include diarrhea, inflammation of the intestinal tract or worse.
If you were going to give cooked spinach to your goats it should only be plain, with no extra ingredients.
Beware of Pesticide on Grocery-Bought Spinach
Also, if you are buying spinach from the grocery store as opposed to growing it yourself, be wary of the likely presence of pesticide on it.
Sadly, pretty much all of our modern produce is grown with pesticide applications throughout the entirety of the growing cycle.
These pesticides persist through washing prior to packaging and sending to market, and when ingested will tend to accumulate in the tissues of mammals over time.
These pesticides have been linked with all sorts of terrible health problems, including reproductive defects, cancers, endocrine system problems and much more.
The best thing you can do is to buy organic, certified pesticide-free varieties from the store, or else make sure you thoroughly wash any spinach prior to serving it to your goats.
How Often Can Goats Have Spinach?
Spinach is definitely a healthy option for goats, but we can place it in the treat category because they need to eat it sparing, not even as a regular supplement to their usual foods.
Giving your goats spinach once or twice a week is more than enough, and depending on the size of the goat they probably don’t need any more than a loose cup of the raw leaves.
Preparing Spinach for Your Herd
Giving spinach to your goats is quite simple, depending on how you plan on preparing it. Raw spinach can be scattered around, mixed in with other food or left whole for them to pick at.
If you are cooking speech, particularly if you are boiling it or steaming it, try mixing it in with other food to bulk it up a little bit, or else you can give it to them in small bowls or on trays.
Can Baby Goats Have Spinach, Too?
Yes, baby goats can have spinach but you’ll need to be cautious when it comes to the quantity and also wait for them to grow up big enough so they are subsisting entirely on solid food.
Keep in mind that kids have strict nutritional requirements, and they are also more vulnerable to the oxalates found in spinach than adults are.
This can be a potentially dangerous one to punch for kids, because it won’t take as many oxalates for negative effects to be felt, and the deprivation of calcium and iron can be even more harmful for them.
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.