Do Goats Eat Dead Leaves?

Can You Feed Your Goats Dead Leaves?

dead leaves

Goats do, in fact, eat dead leaves. However, because the leaves are dead, they are unlikely to provide your goats with enough nutrients to maintain a balanced diet.

Don’t give dead leaves to your goats if they’re doing well on their regular diet. Only do this if they have specific dietary deficits and aren’t obtaining enough nutrients from their regular diet. Otherwise, you risk overfeeding them because these ‘treats’ have little nutritional value.

I wouldn’t recommend the leaves because they can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea.

The only time you should give your goats dead leaves is if they are sick or not getting enough nutrition, or if they are in an urgent situation and have nothing else to eat. Even then, use caution due to the aforementioned factors.

Are Goats Allowed To Eat Leaves?

Goats can eat leaves with no problems. However, be certain they aren’t from a goat-toxic tree.

Toxic trees include the following:

  • Buckeye (Aesculus)
  • Cherry
  • Plum (Prunus)
  • Dogwood (Cornus)
  • Crab Apple
  • Mountain Ash
  • Red Maple
  • Elderberry

Goats are poisoned by the leaves of this and other trees. If you have a tree in your yard that isn’t listed, don’t feed its leaves to your goats until you know whether it is harmful or not.

If you’re unsure whether a plant is poisonous to goats, see your veterinarian. She’ll be able to inform you whether or not the plant is suitable for your goats.

It’s alright to eat leaves occasionally, but it’s not a good idea to do so all of the time. Hay is preferred by goats over leaves every time! Even so, many people avoid feeding leaves to their goats due to the risk of poisoning.

What Is the Maximum Amount of Leaves My Goat Can Eat?

Depending on the size and age of your goat, the amount of leaves it should consume varies. Consult your veterinarian to determine what is best for you and your goats. If you have a leaf-eater in the household, keep in mind that some leaves are toxic, so keep an eye on them when they’re eating them! Because their diet is likely deficient, they may experience problems if they eat leaves that aren’t good for them.

If leaf-eating goats aren’t consuming a healthy diet, they should be supplemented with minerals and vitamins to make up for the deficiencies. Some leafy greens, such as kale, have their own set of health benefits in addition to other nutrients.

  • Acacia
  • Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
  • Apple
  • Aspen
  • Azalea
  • Bamboo
  • Barley
  • Blackberry
  • Bluegrass
  • Boxelder
  • Buckwheat
  • Buckeye
  • Cattail
  • Cherry
  • Chestnut
  • Clover
  • Crabapple
  • Dogwood

What’s Wrong With My Goat When It Eats Leaves?

Leaf-eating in goats could suggest a mineral or vitamin shortage. If your goat is just eating them, he could be deficient in vitamin A, B12, or D. Vitamin A insufficiency commonly manifests itself in the eyes and causes night blindness. Muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and trouble walking are all symptoms of a vitamin E deficiency. Anemia and a shortage of oxygen to the neurons that feed muscles can be caused by a vitamin B12 deficiency. Calcium deficiency softens bones, weakens cartilage, leads to malformed hooves and teeth, and causes muscle soreness. 

If you find your goat eating leaves and something else on the side, it could be a sign of a dietary issue. Consult your veterinarian about this to ensure that they are healthy enough to be fed more than just leaves. If that’s the case, talk to your goat about getting a good dose of these vitamins.


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