Most goats appreciate eating treats, however finding nutritious choices for them that they love can be difficult. There are a few foods grown from the ground that we love which can likewise be solid treat choices for goats. Watermelon is definitely one of those foods.
Can goats eat watermelon? Goats can eat watermelon and there is a decent possibility that your goats will absolutely love it! They can eat all parts of the watermelon including the flesh, rinds, seeds and even vines.
Watermelon is delectable fruit that can be safely fed as a treat to the majority of our caprine companions in restricted amounts. Is it healthy? Well, let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Is Watermelon Healthy for Goats to Eat?
In addition to being super yummy, watermelon is also pretty healthy as treats go. In fact, it’s made up of over 90% water. This makes it especially great to feed during the hottest days of summer when you want to be sure your goats are getting adequate fluid intake.
Nutritionally, watermelon is pretty good. Here are some fun facts about watermelon nutrition. Watermelon is:
- Low in Sodium
- High in Vitamin A
- High in Vitamin C
- High in Potassium
- Contains Fiber
Having A Balanced Diet is Key
All good things in moderation is pretty much the rule whether we are talking about our own diets or that of our animals. The same is true for goats. While watermelon is an awesome treat, it can’t make up the majority of a goats diet.
Because watermelon tastes so good, it is all too easy for your goats to choose watermelon over their standard forage or hay. I mean, it’s like offering a kid salad or cookies for dinner.
Watermelon is a treat, so you may want to feed it after the goats have had their normal meal. A nice, cold watermelon snack mid-afternoon would be a welcome treat for your goats!
Of course, you could feed it any time. Morning or evening work too. And the watermelon doesn’t have to be cold, it just needs to be fresh.
Can Goats Eat Watermelon Rind?
Goats can eat the watermelon rinds. They tend to prefer the flesh instead, but the rinds are safe for them to consume. Most goats will skip over the green outer layer of the rind, preferring instead to dine on the juicy pink flesh, but both are safe.
Overall, the outer rind of the watermelon is high in potassium and fiber than the flesh. This makes the rind actually more nutritious for the goat than the juicy insides.
Because the rind is pretty thick on many watermelons, you may want to consider chopping the watermelon into bite-sized pieces to make it easier for your goats to chew (but not so small that they choke!)
Preparing Watermelon for Goats to Eat
Wash the Watermelon
If you are going to feed the watermelon rind to your goats, you will want to make sure you wash it first. This will help to remove any toxins or pesticides that may have been used as part of the growing process.
Seeds or No Seeds
Watermelon pieces that contain seeds are alright for goats to eat, but you should limit the amount of seeds if possible.
If, for example, you are feeding your goat leftovers from your own watermelon feast, seeds aren’t the best option for them. If you do have a bunch of seeds, feed those to your chickens instead, but skip the goat pen.
That being said, if you are feeding a whole watermelon, there shouldn’t be enough seeds to pose an issue. Once again, though, when in doubt, carve out the more heavily seeded portions of the watermelon and give that part to any barnyard fowl you may have instead. Both the goats and the birds will come out winners!
Watermelon vines are also safe for goats to eat, again, in moderation. Much like with the rinds, the concern here isn’t the vine itself, but any pesticide or other chemicals that may have been used on the plant. When it comes to feeding your goats watermelon vines, it’s best to limit to only those vines from your own watermelon plants where you can be sure if anything has been sprayed.
Always Be Aware Just In Case
Anytime you introduce any new foods to an animal, you want to be on the lookout to make sure everything is OK. Even though the fruit isn’t toxic, and I’ve personally never heard of a goat having an allergic reaction, good herd management dictates that you watch your animals a little more closely when you have introduced a new food.
Can you feed goats watermelon flavored foods?
The digestive system of goats isn’t designed to accommodate processed foods that humans choose to eat. While there are certainly many processed foods that are safe for goats to eat, they aren’t particularly healthy for them.
If you love watermelon flavored foods, it’s best to keep those in the house and buy whole watermelon for goat treats.
Watermelon Treat Ideas for Your Goats
Chop up watermelon into chunks and feed it straight to your goats. Be sure to use a feeder of some type. You’ll soon find out why I call this watermelon soup! Even though the melon starts out as chunks, the goats will make short work of turning it into a soupy, slobbery mess! Don’t worry though, they’ll look cute doing it!
Watermelon Ice Cubes
During the hot days of summer, you can freeze watermelon chunks and slices for your goats. These will thaw pretty quickly but, while frozen they offer a very cool treat and provide your goats with a sensory experience to explore.
Get creative and make your goats a watermelon mashup. For this, you’ll combine some flaky bran or oats, watermelon, carrots, zucchini, and any other goat safe treat. Mix together and serve! Just remember, moderation is key with any treat!
Things to Remember
Feed Watermelon in Moderation
All goat treats should be fed in moderation. This is especially true the yummier they are. Sweet, delicious treats like watermelon are a favorite with goats. When fed too much, they’ll become full on the treat and avoid their normal forage ration.
Use only Fresh Watermelon
If you wouldn’t eat it, you probably shouldn’t feed it to your goats. Watermelon is best served to your goats fresh. If you have a ton of watermelon, too much to feed to your goats all at once, consider freezing the excess. This will keep it fresh and safe to feed at a later time. Never feed moldy or rotting watermelon.
Wash the Rind
Farmers often protect their crops with pesticides. Even if your watermelon is homegrown, a quick rinse off will remove any dirt or debris. Washing the rind is a quick and easy step to take to help keep your goats safe.
Fun facts about watermelon
Since you have come this far, I thought I’d round out all this information with some fun facts about the watermelon plant itself. Did you know that…
- Watermelons are ready to eat in about 3 months from the time they are planted.
- Watermelons are related to pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers.
- People carve watermelons just like pumpkins. They even have watermelon carving contests.
Goats love to eat and they will eat just about everything. It is always good to stop and check if a particular food is safe before feeding it. Watermelon definitely makes the cut when it comes to foods that are safe for goats. The great thing is, they tend to love it too!
While you can give them the whole melon, your herd of goats will happily munch on fresh leftover watermelon rinds from your kitchen. All in all it is a pretty healthy treat for your goats!