When most people think of goats, the first thing that comes to mind is “walking garbage disposal” due to their reputation for eating anything and everything in sight. That may be the impression people have of goats, but it isn’t altogether accurate.
While it may appear that goats eat the most bizarre things – shoes, clothes, books, hair, paper bags, plastic tarps, etc. – what they’re actually doing is nibbling on these items out of curiosity to see if they’re actually edible and tasty.
Like many animals, goats explore with their mouths and eating provides a great opportunity to explore things they’re unfamiliar with.
In reality, goats are often picky eaters and will browse through pastures picking and choosing the plants, weeds, shrubs and tree leaves they want to eat and ignoring the grasses they’re not interested in.
They’ll do the same in a garden, eating the choicest veggies and plants they can find and leaving what they consider inferior foliage behind.
Chances are your goats will not refuse yummy snacks like bread and other goodies if offered, as long as the snacks appeal to them. Goats can eat bread safely in limited amounts as too much bread can cause acidosis.
Goats are herbivorous creatures and pastureland provides them with the best source of food to keep them healthy and fit. When the range isn’t accessible due to winter snow, rainstorms, etc., goats can eat grass or legume hay like clover or alfalfa to fulfill their nutritional needs.
Goats also like eating people food, but that doesn’t mean it’s good or even safe for them to do so. Giving your goat bread snacks from time to time won’t hurt him as long as you don’t go overboard.
Can Goats Eat Bread?
Yes, goats can eat bread as a snack or as a supplement to their normal food, but not as a substitute for hay or as a major part of their diet.
A goat’s main diet should consist of rangeland plants and grasses and hay, as these foods contain the fiber and nutrients your goat needs to stay healthy. This diet can be supplemented, of course, with veggies, fruits, breads and other snacks that are safe and nutritious for your goat to eat.
If you’re going to add bread to your goat’s diet, be selective in the type of bread you feed it, so it can get the most nutritional value possible from this treat.
Almost all types of bread – wheat, white, rye, whole grain, potato bread, sourdough bread and plain bagels – are safe for your goat to eat, but they vary in nutritional value, making some types of bread better choices than others in supplementing your goat’s diet.
Healthwise, whole grain bread is the best choice for a goat snack due to its low-sugar, high-fiber content, followed closely by rye, wheat and sourdough bread in limited quantities. Rye bread has less sugar than wheat bread, but more starch content, which can be dangerous for your goat if it consumes too much.
Potato bread has a high-sugar content, in some instances as much as 5x the sugar of other types of bread, making it a poor snack choice for your goat when it comes to nutritional value. Many goats like bagels, particularly plain homemade bagels, with no added flavorings, spreads or toppings that can aggravate their digestion.
Homemade pumpkin bread and banana bread made with natural ingredients and reduced sugar content are also acceptable snack foods for goats, in limited quantities.
Never give your goats muffins or cakes, especially if they contain chocolate, as these are extremely unhealthy for your ruminant animal.
Should You Feed Goats Bread?
Depending on the bread you choose, your goats can benefit from having bread added to their diet as it contains elements like protein, healthy carbs, fiber, starch, iron and vitamins that can keep your goat healthy.
In moderation, bread can safely be added to your goats’ pastureland, hay and veggie diet. Goats – like sheep, deer and cattle – are categorized as ruminant animals and have an intricate digestive system composed of four stomachs that aid in processing their daily food intake.
Foods containing carbohydrates, starch and fiber, like bread, are beneficial to a goat’s health, growth and development.
Goats can safely consume two to three slices of bread daily – cut into small pieces for easy chewing, swallowing and digestion – on top of their regular dosage of hay and pasture plants and grasses. If you’re just beginning to introduce bread into your goat’s diet, keep track of the type of bread given and monitor your goat to ensure it has no problems digesting the bread before making it a regular part of your goat’s diet.
Large quantities of bread can cause bloating in goats, so make sure you don’t go overboard with this product. In most cases, it is the amount of bread fed, not the bread itself, that poses a risk of negative repercussions to your goat’s health.
Always check any bread you give your goat to make sure it’s fresh and not stale or moldy, as moldy bread can make your goat deathly ill.
Moldy bread along with moldy hay, grains or other food products, may contain fungus or bacteria that can seriously impair your goat’s health. Not all molds are life-threatening, but why risk feeding your animal with food containing mold mycotoxins if you can help it?
Moldy bread and other moldy foodstuffs put your goat at risk of developing digestive, reproductive and neurological problems, or worse case scenario, could lead to your goat’s untimely demise.
Can goats eat bread? Yes, they can – in moderation, it is safe to feed your goat bread without worrying about repercussions to its health. Several slices of bread daily will provide your goats with extra starch and fiber to boost their digestive health, along with pasture plants, hay and veggies. Whole grain breads offer the greatest nutritional value for goats, making them the best snacking option. Your goat may also enjoy eating small quantities of wheat bread, sourdough bread and homemade bagels for variety. Just keep in mind that quantity is just as important as quality when it comes to healthy consumption of bread products.