Goats love treats, and goat owners love to give their hoofed buddies an occasional nibble of something tasty.
Should those tasty nibbles include oranges? Or will that sweet, juicy citrus cause an uncomfortable stomach ache (or worse) for your goats?
Once you get your first goats, all manner of questions about what they can and can’t eat spring to mind. Questions like, ‘Can goats eat oranges?’
You’re keen to give your goats something tasty to eat to encourage them to bond with you, but you don’t want to make them sick.
So, as a responsible goat owner, you scour the interwebs looking for a definitive answer on whether this food or that food is safe for a goat to eat.
Here’s your answer.
Can Goats Eat Oranges?
- Goats can absolutely eat oranges.
- Goats love to eat oranges.
- Oranges are safe for goats to eat.
- Goats can eat orange peels too.
- BUT feed them in moderation!
Let’s take a quick look at the do’s and don’ts of feeding oranges to goats.
This article is part of our Goat Guide Series
Benefits Of Oranges For Goats
The big benefit of feeding oranges to your goats is they get to eat something sweet and juicy. And they’ll love you for that.
As far as nutrition goes, an orange is an optional extra.
Your goats should get their nutritional needs from whichever feed source you’re giving them (pasture, hay, ration).
With humans, the big nutritional benefit of oranges is vitamin C.
But goats make their own vitamin C.
And if they get sick, they make even more.
So don’t think that you NEED to feed them oranges.
Dr. Suzanne Humphries reported that healthy goats make 185 mg of vitamin C per kilo of body weight, per day.
For an average goat, that’s 13 grams of vitamin C per day.
And when they’re sick, they can make 100 grams per day.
Do you think the goats have something to teach us there?
Human health experts say we only need 70-90 mg a day, hmmm…
How Often Can Goats Eat Oranges?
Personally, I wouldn’t give my Pygmy goats more than a couple of oranges each week.
They would probably be fine with a few more, but I don’t want to overtax their digestive system and cause problems.
When goats have a sudden change of diet (and that could include a big helping of oranges) their rumen can become unbalanced, which could result in a potentially deadly condition called bloat.
Play it safe with all dietary extras, and feed in moderation.
Do Goats Like To Eat Orange Peels?
Surprisingly, they do!
While we usually only eat orange peel in the form of candied peel, goats will happily eat plain old orange peel.
When you’ve finished eating an orange, tear the peel into several pieces and feed it to your goats.
It’s a great way to eliminate food waste.
Unless your oranges are organically grown, or harvested from your own unsprayed orchard, you should wash the peel before you feed it to the goats to remove any pesticide residue.
Can Goats Eat Whole Oranges?
Large goats will make short work of a medium orange, but anything larger should be cut into quarters.
For smaller goats, always cut oranges into segments.
If an orange is too big for the goat’s mouth, they won’t be able to chomp down on it to crush it and begin chewing. And they may not be able to spit the orange back out again either.
When you give your goats whole oranges, make sure you you stay with them while they eat, just in case they get an orange stuck and need you to pull it back out for them.
Whichever way you feed oranges to your goats, watch your fingers!
When goats know you’ve got their favorite treats in your hand, they aren’t at all careful about grabbing it from you.
Keep your fingers safe by holding your hand flat and turning it so that the edge of your hand is toward the goat.
Can Goats Eat Orange Pips?
A few orange pips (seeds) are fine for your goats.
If you’re feeding your goats oranges, you don’t need to go through and remove the pips first.
And if you’ve eaten an orange and discarded the pips, you can toss them into your goat’s feed bucket.
Can Baby Goats (Kids) Eat Oranges?
Once they’re fully weaned (no longer feeding from their mother) they can enjoy a small amount of orange.
Introduce it slowly though, so their system has chance to get used to it.
Give them one small segment of a mandarin or clementine, or half a segment of a larger type of orange.
Feed two or three time a week, then you can increase the amount you give them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Oranges fed in moderation, are a sweet, juicy treat that your goats will love. They’re safe for adult goats and for weaned kids. Goats make a good alternative garbage-disposal for orange peels, and for any leftovers you have from juicing.
Thanks for reading: Can Goats Eat Oranges.