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Can Goats Eat Rice? (with a list of safe varieties)

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When you own a goat, it seems like they will eat everything in sight. But just because they can eat it, doesn’t mean it is healthy for them.

So, when it comes to feeding your goat treats or scraps from the house, you may be wondering: can goats eat ric?

Goats can eat rice. Rice is not poisonous or harmful to goats. But before we go into detail on how and when they can, let us take a look at the nutritional values of rice.

Goat and Bowl of Rice

White rice is known for being an excellent source of:

  • Vitamin E
  • Iron 
  • Calcium
  • Carbohydrates
  • Folate
  • Energy

Rice is, however, notably low in fiber.

Now that we know what nutritional values rice has, let us look at what nutrients goats require.

  • Vitamins- Goats require vitamins for normal growth, good health, and reproduction.
  • Minerals- Goats require minerals in their diet, in small and large quantities. Some of the minerals required are calcium, iron, magnesium, chloride, zinc, and potassium.
  • Proteins- Goats require protein in their diet for the repair of old and building of new tissues. The quantity of protein a goat gets is more important than the quality of the protein.
  • Energy- For good production and reproduction, goats require a lot of energy. This can be sourced from hay, pastures, and grains. A deficiency in energy causes a high mortality rate because the goats become more prone to disease and parasites.
  • Fiber- Enough fiber and foliage in a goat’s diet ensures that it stays in good health and it also optimizes its performance. As the goat chews continuously on fibrous food, it keeps the pulp well salivated and the acids well balanced, which in turn helps in proper digestion.
  • Water- It is very important to keep your goats well hydrated all the time. By doing so, you ensure that the goats will have their food well digested, their body temperatures regulated, their tissues lubricated, and their waste effectively transported out of the body.

Can goats eat raw rice?

There is a common myth about how raw rice is bad for goats and birds. It says that animals should not be fed raw rice because it expands in warm water, and since the stomach has both high temperatures and moisture, the rice can expand and even cause the stomach to explode.

This is simply not the case.

Group of goats in the field

If you have ever soaked or cooked rice at home, you know that it takes a while for the rice grain to absorb water and expand.

If you think about it, digestion begins immediately when the food reaches the stomach, meaning the raw rice will be already start being digested before it gets a chance to start expanding.

So feeding raw rice to your goat is not going to cause their stomach to explode. It isn’t particularly healthy for them to have a lot of raw rice, and it doesn’t taste that great, but in small quantities it is safe.

The only problem might be if it is the only thing you feed, or if you give it in large amounts because the goats need a balanced diet in general. Remember, too, that too much of any treat can be a bad thing for any animal.

Can goats eat cooked rice?

Goats can be fed cooked rice and it is safe for them to do so in limited quantities. Rice contains several vitamins and nutrients that are healthy for goats.

Eating large amounts of rice will have their stomachs full with no room for the other essential foods required to ensure they get a balanced diet. 

You should, however, avoid spicy rice or rice that is too oily as this might upset their stomach.

Here is a thought—make that rice even more interesting and nutritious for your goats by adding chopped up vegetables like carrots, cabbages, kale, spinach, etc! They will love it!

How can you feed rice to goats?

There are several ways you can feed rice to your goats. Below are a few.

Rice Bran

You can use rice bran as a weight gainer for goats that are underweight because of the extra fat and calories in it. This same quality makes it great as a winter food when your goats require extra internal warmth.

Rice bran can be found in animal feed stores near you in the form of pellets or flakes. Find out which works for your goats and they will love you.

Rice cereals or Baked Rice Treats

Goats love treats! They love to nibble on all things sweet. This includes crispy rice cereals and treats. So go ahead and give that herd of yours a treat which will also be an energy boost for them.

A point to note though is while goats love to nibble on treats, you should not feed them treats meant for dogs or cats, as these may contain meat products that are not good for your goats, who are herbivorous.

Do feel free to give them any goat safe fruit or vegetable treats that you may have at hand, though.

Cooked Rice

You can feed your herd a scoop of plain cooked white rice now and then. The secret is to do it in moderation. Give only small amounts as too much of it may interfere with the goats feeding habits and routine.

Rice straw

Some people do feed rice straw to their goats, but it is more so to keep the goats busy chewing cud, other than for any nutritional value, which is close to none.

Which types of rice can goats eat?

Goats can eat all types of rice, be it white, brown, wild, or even sprouted.

Wild rice is very nutritious as its natural qualities have not been tampered with.

Brown rice is also close to as nutritious as wild rice because very little processing is done to it, thus retaining most of its nutritional qualities.

Two brown goat eating

But rice sprouts are the winner here!

Sprouts, or fodder, as they are called when used to feed animals, are very beneficial as they help in digestion of other feeds in your goat’s stomach, and therefore ensure that your goats fully absorb the essential nutrients from their food.

Sprouts are also very nutritious and aid in increasing milk production, and the health of developing babies. So go ahead and sprout some rice for your herd!

From this, you can see that is safe to feed rice to your goats. The only thing to keep in mind is, just as some humans may react differently to different foods, your goats may be the same.

Always keep a close eye on each animal as you introduce any new feed to them to record any potential negative reactions.

Happy herding!

References

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