Can Goats Eat Cabbage?

Goats Eat Cabbage

The increase in demand for animal products has resulted in a huge demand for feed. Consequentially, livestock feed commands high prices that are usually beyond the financial capacity of most farmers. Meeting feed demand in a sustainable manner is therefore a great challenge. In a bid to curb this challenge, most agricultural research has been focused on utilization of unconventional feed stuff such as fruits, vegetables and other food normally considered for human diets. Some of the studies have been aimed at finding out whether goats can eat cabbage. Results indicate that goats can feed on cabbage without experiencing adverse effects on health, reproduction and production.

Nutritional Value

Goats have a superior digestive system and so eat a variety of feed stuff. A common misconception in the agricultural community is the belief that their nutritional needs can be met by solely providing pasture. Research indicates that goats can eat cabbages among other supplementary feeds and additives order to acquire nutrients lacking in their daily rations. Cabbage is a rich source of nutrients and minerals including carbohydrates, protein, vitamin B6, C and K, folate as well as trace elements. These are of the essence in daily sustenance and production. Cabbage is said to have a higher protein value compared to corn silage. It can therefore be used as a replacement for corn silage. However, it should not be provided for prolonged periods of times. Although goats can eat cabbage, it contains compounds that are known to supress intake. According to experts, similar to all feed supplements, cabbage should make up approximately 10% of the overall livestock dietary plan. This is based on the rule of thumb. Note that slight alterations may not have detrimental effects on health. None the less, productivity is most likely to decline. Bloating is often experienced when animals are fed excess cabbage. To add on, goats can feed on cabbage only a supplementary feed. Cabbage cannot be used as staple feed because it is lacking in some nutrients. It is also not easily digestible when compared tonatural goat feed such as hay. It is not advisable to provide livestock with stale cabbage as it may cause health issues.

Physical Development

Goats require a well-balanced diet at all stages of production. Young goats need more nutrients so they can reach their full potential. Mature livestock must be provided with sufficient nutrients to carryout daily bodily functions as well as for weight related purposes. Therefore, both young and mature goats can eat cabbage as a means to supplement their daily feed intake. Cabbage makes an ideal protein supplementary feed for hay. A common practice is to supplement hay with corn. However since cabbage is said to have a slightly higher nutritional value than corn silage, it can be used to replace corn. Farmers should make sure that goat dietary plans are rich in protein for bone and teeth formation. Goats can eat cabbage supplements in order to acquire sufficient energy for growth and development.

Cabbage contains trace elements that are needed for animals to reach full potential in the long run. Effects of trace element deficiencies are experienced overtime and so animals may suffer from health issues that hinder long term development and production.Keep in mind that cabbage supplements must not exceed 10%. Excess feeding leads to health related illnesses that may hinder proper growth and productivity. Another point to note is that cabbage must not be given to goats that are less than 30 days old. Also, make sure that it is introduced after establishing normal dietary plans. It is recommended to introduce cabbage to young goats gradually to avoid digestive issues. Cabbage is low in dry matter so it should be paired with a staple feed that is complimentary.


Health Maintenance

A well planned feeding strategy is one that is centred on the health of livestock. Feed rations should be provided in manner that effectively meets livestock dietary needs. Goats can eat cabbage in a bid to maintain health which in turn enables improved production. Cabbage supplements provide livestock with nutrients needed to boost the immune system thereby protecting them from disease and infection. Also, the trace minerals found in cabbage are necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity. Deficiencies are known to cause a reduced reproductive performance and impaired health. Cabbage is a good source of vitamins that are needed for bone strength and healthy immune system. It also contains crude protein that is necessary for growth, maintenance, reproduction and production. Note that health enhancement is only possible provided that cabbage is not fed in excess.

Goats can feed on cabbage without any compromise on maintenance, reproduction and production, however, this is only true if the recommended guideline are met. As previously stated, cabbage is lacking in a number of minerals and nutrients. Dietary plans containing excess cabbage feed deprive animals of some necessary nutrients needed for health and sustenance. Goats that are given too much cabbage suffer from reduced feed intake which weakens the immune system. A weakened immune system exposes livestock to diseases such as bloat. In addition, goats can eat cabbage if the dietary plan is well-balanced. According experts, a slight imbalance can cause digestive issues.

Cabbage for Lactating Goats

Lactating goats can eat cabbage so as to improve on milk production. Farmers usually use corn silage as supplementary feed for lactating does. Cabbage can be used instead because it contains slightly higher protein levels. It can best be paired with hay to ensure sufficient protein for milk synthesis. Cabbage contains crude protein which is composed of true proteins and inorganic nitrogen salts among other substances. Deficiencies in crude protein causes low milk production and lower protein content in milk. Resultantly, the milk produced is of low quality hence commands a lower market value. Feed with cabbage supplements helps to ensure that livestock protein requirements are met leading to the production of superior quality milk. The downside to usage of cabbage supplements is that they are not sustainable long term. Since they are provided as treats, it is not recommended to provide cabbage for prolonged periods of time. Also, goats can eat cabbage if it is fresh. Stale cabbage causes digestive issues which might lower milk production. To add on, high cabbage consumption is known to give milk an off flavour and smell hence the need to strictly adhere to the 10% ration guideline.