Can Goats Eat Cracked Corn? [SHORT READ]

Cracked corn is preferred by many gardeners, but can goats eat it? There is much controversy about this topic and there doesn’t seem to be a single answer that fits all situations. If cracked corn is the only feed available then goats will do fine on it for several weeks or months without suffering too much nutritional deficiency; however, in most cases we prefer to feed our goats whole grain such as oats which they can utilize better than cracked corn.

Benefits of cracked corn for goats:

Cracked corn is an inexpensive feed for goats. The nutritional value of cracked corn varies depending on the quality of the grain, but it always has a very high starch content which makes it less nutritious than whole grains. This feed is especially useful if you use goat milk as income because it’s much cheaper to buy cracked corn compared to oats or other whole grains which can be used as goat milk supplements. Some people use this feed in combination with rolled barley to make them gain weight faster since this diet is too low in fiber and protein to support optimal health. Cracked corn can also be fed during birthing because its soft texture causes very little damage to udders, but only if the doe doesn’t have any problems at that time.

What are the problems of feeding cracked corn to goats?

The biggest problem with feeding food high in starch content, such as cracked corn, is that it lacks essential nutrients which are needed by growing kids during their first 6 months. Lack of nutrients causes slow weight gain, scours and poor goat health overall if consumed for a long period of time without supplementation with other feeds. Another problem associated with feeding foods high in starch content is that they cause overproduction of insulin which can predispose goats to ketosis or pregnancy toxemia . Feeding too much grain, even if its just cracked corn, will also lead to liver overload because this organ has to process large amount of carbohydrates every day. Cracked corn should always be fed in combination with other feeds, not as the only source of goat feed.

What are healthier alternatives to cracked corn?

A much better choice for feeding goats would be oats, whole grain corn or barley which are high in protein and digestible fiber. They won’t cause overproduction of insulin like grains that contain too much starch, plus all goats need protein to grow stronger bones. However, if you can afford it then I recommend buying quinoa for your goats because it’s even higher in protein content than oats (15% vs 13%) and has all essential amino acids needed by growing kids.

Can pygmy goats eat cracked corn?

Pygmy goats can eat cracked corn, but it shouldn’t be the main source of their diet. If not fed with other feeds then pygmies will suffer from nutritional deficiencies and stomach problems quite fast since they are smaller than most goat breeds and don’t produce enough milk to support optimal growth rate.

Can Nigerian Dwarf goats eat cracked corn?

Nigerian dwarf goats have a much better chance to stay healthy when fed with cracked corn but it will still cause scours and weight loss if not accompanied with other feeds. Cracked corn should be mixed into their diet, not given as the only source of goat feed.

Is there any breed of goats that can eat cracked corn?

Cracked corn can be used as a temporary feed for all types of goats because it doesn’t contain necessary nutrients required by growing kids after they are 6 months old. However, pygmy and Nigerian dwarf goats aren’t able to utilize this feed as good as dairy breeds because they lack the same amount of stomach acid needed to process large amounts of carbohydrate food without causing stomach problems in return.

Can goats eat corn husks and silk?

Goats can eat corn husks and silk just fine, but it will cause digestive problems if not chewed thoroughly enough. In the worst case scenario it could lead to life-threatening ileus. That’s why I recommend feeding goats whole grain corn instead of its husk because they don’t have any nutritional value when used for feeding goats.

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