Can goats eat carrots? It’s a common myth that goats can and will eat everything. We hear tales of them eating cardboard boxes, laundry on the clothes line, and even plastic (all true by the way)! So it’s no real surprise that new goat owners, and people still in the information gathering stage have serious questions about what goats can and can’t eat.
You want your goats to be safe, and you don’t want to waste time and money buying and preparing food that they won’t eat, or that could hurt them.
Asking questions is always the smart move. And when it comes to animal care, there is no such thing as a silly question.
So, can goats eat carrots? Yes they can!
Should goats eat carrots? In moderation, carrots are perfectly fine for your goats to eat.
There are some do’s and don’ts that you need to know about to keep your goats healthy when you’re adding carrots to their diet, and I’ll cover them for you now.
Can Goats Eat Carrots?
Yes, they can. Carrots are a great addition to your goat’s diet, and goats love to eat them because they’re sweet and crunchy.
Don’t give them too many to eat though. Feed them as treats.
The majority of your goat’s diet should be made up of the forage that they eat out on your pasture.
Remember, goats only have room for a certain amount of food. If they get filled up on carrots (which don’t provide everything a goat needs) they won’t have room for the food they really need.
Are Carrots Good For Goats?
Yes, they’re a nutritious vegetable with plenty of vitamins and minerals.
Goats don’t need to eat carrots though, and their regular forage should provide them with all of the nutrients they need, but a few extra vitamins, packed in a sweet, tasty treat won’t do them any harm. Carrots are 86% carbohydrate (dry matter) 5% fat, and 9% protein.
The extra vitamins and minerals your goats will get from carrots include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Can Goats Be Allergic To Carrots?
Some goats can develop allergies to carrots. Whenever you try out a new food with your goats. Only give a small amount of carrot, then watch to see how they’re doing. If your goats remain happy and active, then they don’t have any allergies to the carrots.
Allergy symptoms to watch out for include:
Itching around and inside their mouths. You’ll notice them lowering their heads and rubbing their mouths against their front legs, or licking their lips with their tongue to try and alleviate the itch.
Belly ache. If a goat has belly ache, it will usually go off and stand on its own, away from the rest of your goats. And goats that feel unwell, don’t rush up when you appear with more food.
Loose stools or diarrhea. In goats this is known as scours. It’s not really feasible to go and walk your goat pasture looking for a pile of mushy poop, but you can tell if their poop is healthy by taking a look at their behinds.
A goat’s rear-end should be clean. If you see poop stains around their back passage, or coating the backs of their legs, then they’ve got the runs. Give a couple of doses of Kaolin Pectin which is labelled for animal use to help clear it up. You can find Kaolin Pectin at Tractor Supply, Amazon, Feed Stores, Pharmacies, and from your vet.
How Many Carrots Can Goats Eat Each Week?
There isn’t an exact figure for this. Ask a hundred goat owners, and you’ll get a hundred different answers.
The type of goat you have will factor in to how many they can safely eat. A large meat-breed goat or large dairy goat can eat more than a Dwarf Nigerian goat, for example.
I’ve kept pygmy goats for twelve years, they aren’t the smallest goats, or the largest, and the mischievous kids that came to my homestead when they were 6 months old are still going strong today, 12 years later.
They have had zero health issues over all of that time and they will happily eat roughly one carrot each per day.
Sometimes they get more. At the end of the growing season, when I’m pulling up an entire beds of carrots, I’ll frequently find small, stubby ones, that didn’t grow very well. Over the next few days, my goats will get a bigger serving of carrots than normal.
Can You feed Goats Entire Carrots?
You can, if you’re going to stand with your goats and feed them out of your hand. But you need to be familiar with your goats to do this, so you don’t get your fingers chomped.
Goats don’t have upper front teeth, so they can’t take a bite of a carrot. What they’ll do, is take the carrot at the side of their mouth, and grab it with their back teeth. Then, they’ll chomp down hard to break a piece off.
There are two things to keep in mind if you want to feed a carrot to your goat this way.
- One. Keep your fingers out of the way. Hold the carrot like you would grip the handlebar of a bike.
- Two. Only extend a small amount of the carrot at a time for your goat to break off. You don’t want your goat to choke on a piece of carrot that’s too big for them to maneuver in their mouth.
Can Goats Eat Cooked Carrots?
Sure. While there’s no need to cook carrots for your goats, if you’ve got some left over in the pan, you can take them out to your goats.
The carrots must be plain though. If they’ve come from your plates as leftovers and they’ve been in contact with spicy food, gravy or sauces, don’t feed them to your goats.
Can Goats Eat Carrot Leaves Or Carrot Greens?
Absolutely. Goats are browsers and those carrot leaves growing above ground are exactly the type of food they come across naturally while they graze.
We tend to think of carrots as a cultivated vegetable, rather than a plant that grows wild, but our familiar, orange carrots were domesticated from their wild cousins.
You might know the wild carrot by its more familiar name of Queen Anne’s Lace.
Out on pasture, wild carrot grows readily, and herds of roaming goats find it as they move across hillsides and through valleys.
As a homesteader, you’ll no doubt have carrots growing in your vegetable garden for a good 3 or 4 months of the year.
When you go out to harvest your carrots for lunch or dinner, twist the green leafy tops off, and run them down to your goats, so they get to eat them while they’re nice and fresh. If you wait until they’ve wilted, your goats will probably ignore them, and then all of that tasty nutrition will have gone to waste.
One word of caution though. If you’ve used pesticides on your carrots, don’t feed the greens to your goats.
Can Baby Goats (Kids) Eat Carrots?
You can give small amounts of chopped carrots to baby goats/kid goats, once they’re weaned, or close to weaning.
Chop the carrot into very small pieces, and feed a few pieces at a time. Just as we introduce new foods to our own babies, or to our pups and kittens, we should introduce new foods to young goats slowly.
This way, their system isn’t overwhelmed trying to digest something it’s never encountered before.
Chop some carrot into small dice or run it through a grater, to make it easy for the little ones to eat, and to make sure there’s no choking risk.
What’s The Best Way To Start Feeding Carrots To My Goats?
As with any new food, introduce carrots to your goat’s diet slowly.
It’s important to go slowly, because you don’t want to upset your goat’s digestive system.
New foods, fed in large amounts, can cause an imbalance in your goat’s rumen, resulting in bloat. And bloat can sometimes have a fatal outcome.
Feed your goats a few pieces of chopped carrot two or three times a week for a couple of weeks.
By this time, their system will have adjusted to the new food, and the necessary bacteria to break it down will be sufficiently present in their gut.
Can Goats Eat Moldy Carrots?
No. Never feed your goats moldy carrots, or moldy anything.
Moldy food can kill a goat.
And in all honesty, if you held out a moldy carrot, your goat would probably sniff at the carrot and refuse it.
Goats have a very good sense of what’s good for them and what isn’t.
But if you had chopped up a moldy carrot and mixed it in with other veggies and some grain, they might not notice the problem, and could mistakenly wolf the whole lot down.
If you’ve got some carrots in the kitchen, and they’re turning moldy, throw them on your compost pile where they can’t do any harm.
Feeding your goats a sensible amount of carrots and carrot leaves, makes an enjoyable and healthy addition to their diet.
Make sure you introduce new foods slowly, in small amounts.
Chop carrots to avoid any risk of choking, and don’t feed moldy carrots to your goats.
If feeding carrots causes an allergic reaction, it will pass as long as you don’t feed them any more carrots. If your goat gets diarrhea after eating carrots, you can give Kaolin Pectin to clear it up.