Watermelons are a summertime favorite and can be enjoyed by humans and goats alike. They make for a delicious and refreshing snack but you need to know if your goat is able to eat watermelon before serving it.
The sugar content in watermelon is high enough that it could potentially cause an upset stomach in the animal, which could lead to other health issues like diarrhea or even dehydration.
Goats’ digestive systems are quite sensitive, meaning there are foods they shouldn’t eat.
Goats are able to eat watermelons and there’s even a high chance that they will end up loving it. They should be able to eat every part of a watermelon – even the rinds, seeds, and vines.
Before we talk about the health benefits and disadvantages of this fruit, we should understand a goat’s diet first of all.
Even though goats are herbivores, they don’t go about consuming any kind of leaves or plants in their sights. Most of the time, they’re attracted to plants that can guarantee them nutrients.
If you even pay attention, you’ll notice that they usually eat parts of plants that have the most nutrients, while leaving the less nutritious parts. However, hay is their main diet in captivity.
As well as being nutritious, hay can be easily digested by goats. It’s one of the major reasons why it’s so popular.
Since you now know the goat’s dietary patterns, we will now look at the digestive system. Goats are ruminant animals with four-chambered stomachs. This stomach is where specialized bacteria will ferment the food that they have consumed.
Fermentation breaks down the food and also helps the goats to absorb its nutrients. That’s why goats have to consume food that will not be harmful to the bacteria, thereby hindering the process of fermentation.
This is the reason you have to be very cautious about the kind of food your goat consumes. They shouldn’t be fed anything that might cause harm to the bacteria or that may cause interference with the fermentation process.
Is watermelon healthy enough for goats?
Goats belong to a class of animals that require a significant amount of water. That’s the major reason why a lot of dairy farms have access to clean and fresh water.
Watermelon is made up of approximately 90% water, meaning it is suitable for goats. As well as having a lot of water content, it is a healthy fruit with all its nutrients put into consideration.
The watermelon fruit is rich in Potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, antioxidants, fiber, and a host of other nutrients that are beneficial to goats.
So, watermelon is definitely a healthy fruit for goats. It is slightly acidic though but it shouldn’t be a major issue.
What about the seeds? Can goats eat watermelon seeds?
The answer to this question is a yes. In a way, the seeds are a significant part of the fruit because they contain vital nutrients that may help your goat get stronger and healthier. Seeds from crops have been used for centuries to strengthen and boost the immune system of livestock.
Seeds from watermelons are specifically rich in fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
However, you should not feed your goat too many seeds because they may contract a serious illness known as aflatoxin poisoning. Aflatoxins are toxic substances found in certain types of food. These toxins lead to serious illnesses such as liver disease, even cancer in some cases.
Having a balanced diet
It doesn’t matter if we’re referring to the diet of humans or animals. The most important thing to always keep in mind is that moderation is very vital. Goats are not omitted from this.
Even though watermelon is a healthy fruit for goats, it will be dangerous to make it a significant part of their diet.
Due to the delicious taste of watermelon, it will be quite easy for your goat to select the fruit over the regular hay or forage. This is why it is important that you give them watermelon on occasion.
The fruit should be a treat, so it will be better to feed it to your goats after they have eaten their regular meal.
Some of the most important nutrients that your goat requires on a regular basis are fiber, minerals, and vitamins. This is why it’s very vital to be sure that your goats have watermelon as a treat so they can get all the essential nutrients they will need.
There’s no problem with giving goats watermelon because it can also help stimulate their appetite.
Are goats able to consume watermelon rind?
Yes, this is something that goats can easily do. Even though they will prefer consuming only the flesh, the rinds are also safe to eat.
The watermelon’s outer rind actually has higher fiber and potassium than the flesh. This means that the rind of a watermelon is more nutritious to a goat than its fleshy and juicy insides.
Due to the fact that the rind is quite thick, you should consider cutting the watermelon into medium-sized pieces so that it will be easier for the goats to consume the rind. However, don’t make the pieces too small so they don’t choke on them.
You should also ensure that the watermelon you feed your goats is not rotten. Spoiled fruit can lead to a host of health problems, even death in some cases.
Preparing watermelon for your goats
1. Wash the watermelon
Wash the entire watermelon first – especially if you plan to feed the rind to the goats. Washing it will help in removing any pesticides or toxins that might have been employed in growing the fruit.
2. Seeds or not
Watermelons that have seeds are okay to consume by goats. However, you should try to limit the seeds that they consume.
For instance, if you plan to feed your goats your leftover watermelon, it will be better to remove most of the seeds. If you have chickens, you can feed them to them.
With this in mind, if you plan on feeding the goats an entire watermelon, then the seeds shouldn’t pose any big issues.
However, if you have second thoughts, you can remove the parts that are heavily seeded and feed them to chickens or fowls in your barn instead.
3. Watermelon vines
Like we’ve said about rinds, this part of watermelons is also safe for your goats to consume – moderately, of course.
Just like rinds, the problem with vines is the chemicals or pesticides that might have been used to make the fruit grow. To be on the safe side with watermelon vines, it is ideal to limit yourself to the vines from the watermelons you have grown yourself.
That way, you can be sure of anything and everything that has been applied to the watermelon.
Things to keep in mind
1. Give your goats watermelons in moderation
Since watermelons should serve as treats for your goats, they should be served in moderation. The major reason for this is because of how sweet they are.
If you don’t ration their consumption, your goats will prefer to feed on the watermelons alone, meaning they’ll not eat their actual food (hay or forage).
2. Only use fresh watermelons
If you can’t eat it yourself, then it’s advisable that you don’t give it to your goat. This is major because watermelon is best consumed fresh – even by goats.
If you’re stocked on watermelons to give your goats, it will be advisable for you to freeze the extra. This ensures that they stay fresh whenever you want to give them more.
3. Wash the rind
It is quite commonplace for farmers to use pesticides to protect crops. Even if you grow your watermelon yourself, it is still advisable that you wash the watermelons to remove all the dirt.
Goats are not only hardy animals but they’re also pretty versatile when it comes to the things that they can consume. They graze on trees, shrubs, weeds, and flowers in the wild.
This is one of the reasons why they fit so well into many farms. Even with their appetite for sweet treats like watermelons , they are still known to enjoy variety when it comes to their diet.
However, you should try to make sure that you feed them watermelon in moderation and only serve fresh ones. This is because of how sweet the fruit is, which can affect your goat’s overall health if given too much.