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Can Goats Eat Kale?
Goats can indeed eat kale. Goats love kale and kale is good for them!
However, kale should only be fed to them as treats in small quantities. Too much consumption of kale, either in large quantities or frequently, will cause accumulation of oxalates and may potentially cause health problems to the goat.
Kale has lots of essential vitamins and nutrients for goats, which we will explore further in this article.
Nutritional Value of Kale to Goats
Though potentially toxic to goats when given in large amounts, kale can be a good infrequent treat for them. Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables available, and it offers a variety of vitamins and minerals that can benefit your goat’s health.
Vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, potassium, and magnesium are all abundant in kale, as well as antioxidants.
Let’s take a detailed look at these vitamins and minerals.
Kale is a great source of vitamin C. It contains a greater concentration than other vegetables.
It also aids in the absorption of iron and aids in the immunity and prevention of disease.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps your goat’s vision, as well as its immune systems and organs like the lungs and kidneys. Kale is a rich source of this vitamin.
Vitamin A consumption can also assist your goat in reducing the risk of developing eye complications like cataracts.
Vitamin K is a water-soluble vitamin that aids in blood clotting and promotes bone health. Kale is one of the top natural food sources of vitamin K.
Potassium is an important mineral whose major function is to keep the body’s fluid balance in check. It helps reduce blood pressure, maintains muscle mass, and enhances bone density.
Magnesium is a mineral found in plants, and kale is a good source. It helps to enhance your goat’s muscular mobility, boost their energy levels, and reduce their blood pressure by being engaged in hundreds of processes in the body.
Iron is an essential mineral for the transportation of oxygen in red blood cells. Iron is crucial for the operation of your goat’s immune system and general health and can aid with combating fatigue.
Kale is high in antioxidants like beta-carotene, which help to maintain healthy cell structures throughout your goat’s body.
Antioxidants assist to protect and improve heart health and fight the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body that may harm body cells and potentially cause illness.
Will Kale Cause Bloating in Goats?
Kale, among other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli, have raffinose, a sugar that remains undigested until it is fermented by the bacteria in the rumen.
This process produces a lot of gas and too much consumption will definitely make the goat bloat.
However, frequent and appropriate eating of high fiber foods like kale will enable the goat to have a stronger and healthier digestive system, lowering the risk of bloating.
Is Kale Toxic For Goats?
Kale is good for goats but could be harmful because it contains glucosinolates and oxalates, which are potentially toxic to livestock when given in large quantities.
Too much consumption of kale can cause two main health issues.
First, it will cause the goat’s red blood cells to rupture. This will be evident in the goat’s urine, as the urine will turn red. As a result, the health of the goat will generally decline.
Secondly, ingestion of too much kale may pose a risk of suffering from anemia. As a result of the destruction and rupturing of many red blood cells, there will not be enough red blood cells to supply sufficient oxygen to the body tissues.
Other side effects are fatigue and general sluggishness by the goat. Kale is good for the goat, but risking an anemia infection is dangerous for the livestock.
If your goats show any of these symptoms, check their diet to determine if they’ve been eating kale or other plants rich in oxalate. It is advisable to gradually change the goat’s diet and remove the kale from their diet.
Preparing Kale for Goats
Eating raw is probably the goats’ most preferred way to eat vegetables. They specifically do not need any form of preparation but you might consider chopping them into smaller pieces for the goat.
Kale is even considered a great snack to give to dairy goats when milking.
When giving kale to your goats, it is always good to keep it as simple as possible, by giving them plain kale. This will make it easier for the goat to get accustomed to chewing the vegetable and it is also easier to integrate it into the diets.
Lightly Steamed/ Boiled
Lightly steamed kale is good for goats because it is easier to chew.
Other Leafy Greens for Goats
Different goats might have different tastes for feeds, but the majority love vegetables. Leafy cruciferous greens, however, should only be fed to them in small quantities as treats to avoid the potential health risks.
Besides kale, goats also love spinach, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, arugula, romaine, and turnips.
You may also check this article to know if goats can eat lettuce.
Goats can eat kale. Kale is a storehouse of nutrients and is good for your goats. It is, however, important to note that they should only be fed to goats sparingly as treats to avoid the adverse health effects associated with too much consumption.
Kale contains elements that could potentially be toxic to your livestock.
Whenever you see any indications of symptoms that could be associated with anemia, it is good to diversify the goat’s feed and avoid leafy greens. Instead feed them with other fruits and vegetables like melons and cucumber, or banana peels, which are also nutritious.