I know a handful of you will find this question strange because you think goats can eat virtually anything. However, contrary to popular opinion, goats are actually selective when it comes to food.
The mere fact that you see them eating almost anything they find doesn’t translate to them being able to digest it all.
Goats are ruminants, meaning that their digestive system is very sensitive. Even a little change in their diets might lead to stomach upset or other digestive issues.
This is why you should always stick to what goat producers have developed for their goats, feeding them only green pastures and hay in small amounts.
Having said that, let’s get down to answering the question of whether goats can eat grapes.
A similar thing can be said about fruits that have nutritional benefits. Even with this, not every fruit should be eaten by goats. As a goat owner, you ought to be aware of safe and unsafe fruits.
So, what category do grapes fall in?
Grapes are a safe fruit for goats. However, you need to know that there might be some grape varieties or certain conditions under which grapes might not be advisable.
Primarily, you want to keep your goat’s diet balanced and regimented. This is why it’s best if you stick to feeding them hay and pastures. Any changes you introduce into their diet should be brought about gradually and monitored closely.
Other than that, if you’re still keen on feeding your goats grapes – whether fresh or dried – you’ll find them tolerable of this fruit. However, we think it’s best not to feed them grapes excessively.
Goats eating grapes
Yes, goats can eat grapes – as long as they consume them in moderate amounts.
Grapes are full of Vitamin K and Vitamin C which are important to the health of goats. Even though grapes have a lot of nutrients, their sugar level is quite high. This is the major reason why goats shouldn’t consume them in an excessive amount.
Grapes have high levels of sugar which isn’t good for your goat’s digestive system. Moreover, if you feed them too many grapes it’ll cause diarrhea in your goats.
Diarrhea is one of the biggest problems when it comes to animal health. As such, grapes should ideally be given as treats alone.
How safe is it feeding goats grapes?
As long as you give them moderate amounts, it is safe for goats to consume grapes.
As mentioned, grapes are full of nutrients such as Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Vitamin A and some other nutrients.
As well as these, grapes are also fat-free, anti-oxidant rich, and low-calorie food. Due to their high nutrients, grapes are a perfect supplement.
There is a risk of parasites with the consumption of grapes. The most common types of parasites in goats are –
Trichostrongylus – this parasite lives inside the tissues of the lungs, liver, and intestines. This parasite may be transferred from one goat to another by the ingestion of feces
Haemonchus – this parasite is present in the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestine of goats. This parasite causes red blood cells to be destroyed at a faster rate
Coccidia – this infection causes irritation in the intestines and diarrhea. It occurs when there’s an imbalance of intestinal bacteria
Any of these parasites can worsen the symptoms of any issues they are already having due to a lack of nutrients in their diet.
It is important to understand that feeding your goats a lot of grapes can lead to digestive problems. Due to them being ruminants, goats have to eat foods that are simple to digest.
Goats can become bloated with excessive amounts of sugar.
What happens when goats consume excess grapes?
For a comprehensive understanding of this, we should examine a goat’s digestive system. We already know that they’re ruminants – meaning they have four different chambers in their guts.
These chambers have specific bacteria that will ferment the food that goats consume. For regular mammals, their food is broken down by digestive enzymes. However, goats, their food is broken down by fermentation.
The process of fermentation is highly sensitive. When you give excess grapes to your goats, the sugar content of the grapes will hasten the fermentation process and will cause bloating in the goats. Apart from this, the sugar in the grapes can also lead to weight gain.
This fine line doesn’t apply to grapes alone. Allowing your goats to consume any fruit in excess can result in similar results. The advisable and most appropriate way of going about this is to give your goats a moderate amount of grapes as well as their regular diet.
How to feed goats grapes
Goats have diverse nutritional requirements, meaning they have to be incorporated into balanced diets.
Grapes should be given to your goats as a seldom treat or nutrient supplement. Normally, they should only constitute 10% or less of the supplement.
Sometimes, you can put some grapes in the hay that you intend to feed your goats. You can also decide to feed the grapes directly to your goats.
It is however pertinent to remember to feed them other fruits so as to make sure they also get the other nutrients that they need.
Ensure that the grapes are thoroughly cleaned before giving them to the goats. This is because pesticides might have been used in the growing process.
Without washing the grapes, your goats could risk having serious digestive problems.
Can goats consume grape seeds?
Of course, they can. In fact, they enjoy consuming grape seeds. Coupled with the fact that these seeds are rich in protein, your goats will benefit from the high nutrients found in grape seeds.
However, before feeding them these seeds, you have to be sure that they are properly cleaned as well as sterilized. This is because grapes are grown using pesticides and other chemicals.
If not thoroughly washed, these chemicals can cause serious health problems for your animals
Excess amounts will also lead to bloating and weight gain. The inclusion of hay will go a long way in preventing something like this from happening.
Can goats consume grape vines?
Grapevines are part of the grape plant and they won’t cause any harm to the goats if they eat them.
However, they actually prefer to consume the leaves. So, in case you plan on giving some grapes to your goats, ensure that you remove the vines (especially if you feel your goats don’t like them). This will also reduce the chances of bloating.
Can goats consume grape leaves?
When feeding grapes to your goats, it is advisable that you include some of the grape leaves.
However, moderation is also important here as it has been confirmed that goats consuming a lot can lead to problems.
These leaves are actually a great protein source for goats and can help to reduce the probability of bloating.
Health benefits of grapes for goats
- Grapes have a lot of Vitamin C and Vitamin K which are important antioxidants used in connective tissue health.
- The skins and seeds have high antioxidant content that can help to prevent chronic diseases.
- Grapes have zeaxanthin and lutein which are compounds that help to protect eyes against blue light.
- Grapes help to improve the attention and memory spans of goats.
- Grapes have resveratrol, a compound that is anti-inflammatory and can reduce the possibilities of chronic diseases.
By ensuring that your goats get their share of grapes, you are actually giving them the opportunity to lead a healthy life. Just bear in mind not to go overboard with it.
Disadvantages of grapes to goats
- Due to their small size, they can choke little goats. That’s why it’s important to slice them into very tiny pieces.
- A handful of goats are allergic to grapes. They may develop itchiness around the throat and mouth after consuming grapes.
- Just like a lot of fruits, grapes come with fiber. Excess fiber consumption sometimes leads to constipation.
- Your goats can gain extra weight.
- Consuming grapes might also lead to flatulence and indigestion.
In order to help your goats grow and ensure their well-being, it is important for you to understand what they can and cannot eat. While it may be tempting for you to give them all the produce from your garden – including the grapes – doing so could cause serious health problems.
To make things easier for you, the best thing to do is feed them with hay and grass in order to maintain a healthy digestive system. This can also reduce the chances of bloating, which is always a risk when feeding your goat’s grapes.
If you want to give them even more nutrients, ensure that they have sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables without giving too much at once.