Goat Treats: Feed them Right

Help Your Goats Live Healthier Lives by Knowing What Treats Are Safe

by Erin Snyder
PHOTO: Goat treat and feed

Goat treats are an essential part of our herd’s diet; however, as delicious as treats may be, they can also be harmful. Learn what healthy treat options will help goats live healthier lives and what treats to avoid in this exclusive guide.

Nutrient-Rich Treats

Goats love a variety of fruits, vegetables, and plants, so it’s relatively easy to find some healthy goat treats. While these treats may not contain the high levels of minerals found in hay or goat feed, they are a safe and fun treat to feed in moderation.


Apples are a delicious and fun treat to feed your goats. This sweet and tasty fruit is a good source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. The minerals found in apples aid in many body functions, including milk production, feed-to-milk efficiency, and overall improved herd health.

Wash apples before feeding to ensure they are free of pesticides and insecticides. Always core apples and cut them into slices to avoid choking.

Feeding Directions: Feed no more than one apple per goat daily.

Also Read: DIY Goat Feed

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Carrots are among the healthiest goat treats to feed your herd. This vegetable powerhouse is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients goats need to stay healthy and keep their immune system in tip-top condition.

Carrots are high in vitamins A, C, E, and K and calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. They are also a good source of fiber, which helps feed and generate the growth of good bacteria in the colon.

Feeding Directions: Cut carrots into bite-size pieces to avoid choking. Like all goat treats, carrots should not exceed ten percent of a goat’s diet.


Like many fresh greens, dandelions are an excellent choice for goat treats. This hardy weed is one of the first plants to pop up in the spring and is considered antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer. Dandelions also help improve digestion, boost the immune system, and cleanse the blood.

Also Read: 5 Key Aspects of Feeding Goats

This nutritious plant contains vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. It is also a good source of calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

Feeding Directions: Both leaves and blooms are edible. Offer dandelions as a special treat throughout the growing season, or allow goats to eat their fill while in pasture. Dandelions are an excellent treat for weaned baby goats.


Goats like fresh greens, so what better way to offer your herd some healthy goat treats than herbs from your garden?  From basil, chervil, dill, fennel, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme, herbs keep a goat’s digestive system running smoothly. They also help to prevent certain types of cancer and are a natural anti-inflammatory.

Herbs contain many vitamins and minerals, boosting the herd’s digestive tract and immune system.

Feeding Directions: Offer fresh herbs free choice daily to keep your herd healthy and thriving. When feeding dried herbs, follow the general rule of ⅛ teaspoon of dried herb per ten pounds of body weight.

Do not feed sage to lactating does, as it is known to reduce lactation.

Other Fruits and Vegetables

Other safe fruits and vegetables include blueberries, celery, grapes, lettuce, strawberries, squash, and seeded watermelon.

Feeding Directions: Cut fruit and vegetables into bite-size pieces to avoid choking. Vegetables and fruit should not exceed ten percent of a goat’s diet.

Treats to Avoid

Even though goats have a reputation for eating everything, some plants and foods are toxic to goats. Always ensure treats and plants are nontoxic before feeding to your herd.

Oak Tree Leaves

Goats enjoy munching on tree leaves; however, not all are safe for consumption. Green oak leaves from black, red, and yellow oaks contain high tannins. The high tannin levels result in kidney and liver damage when consumed in high quantities.

Be sure to keep your herd’s water source free of oak leaves. The tannins in oak leaves may also leach into the water, damaging the organs and leading to death.

Decorative Plants

Many decorative plants, such as perennials, annuals, and ornamental trees and bushes, are toxic to goats. However, just because they are considered toxic doesn’t mean you must remove them from the yard. Planting ornamental and decorative plants out of a goat’s reach will keep your herd safe and your lawn beautiful.

Toxic Weeds

Many weeds are toxic to goats, including Bur Dock, Cocklebur, Crowfoot  Goatweed,  Horse Nettle, Ivy, Jimsonweed, Johnson Grass, Lambs Quarter,  Lily of the Valley, Milkweed,  Mountain Laurel, Mustard, Philodendron, Poison Hemlock, Red Root, and Rhododendron.

Contact your local extension office for a complete list of toxic plants.

Too Many Goat Treats

Even though they may not be toxic, one of the worst mistakes goat owners can make is overfeeding their herd treats (even healthy treats). Overfeeding treats causes many problems, including goats becoming obese, milk production slowing or ceasing entirely, and an imbalanced diet.

Knowing what treats are safe and which ones to avoid will help goats live healthier lives. So, next time you head to the goat barn, grab some nutritious goat treats for a delicious and fun bonding experience with your favorite goat.

This article about goat treats was written for Hobby Farms magazine. Click here to subscribe. 

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