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Can Goats Eat Oats? [Whole Rolled, Steel-Cut or Quick Oats?]

If you’re a farmer or homesteader, you’ve probably got a few goats on your property. (Or have had some!) Goats are versatile creatures often used for milk, meat, or fiber production. But what do goats eat – and can goats eat oats? 

In this post, we shall look at the dietary needs of goats and explore whether they can eat oats. Stay tuned to learn more!

Can Goats Eat Oats?

Yes. Goats can eat oats. And goats love oats! As long as oats are included as part of a versatile, balanced diet, goats can eat oats. Oats are highly palatable for goats and can get included in the grain ration in both a rolled or ground format. To maximize utilization, combine oats with alfalfa in your goat’s feed. 

Oats are a highly nutritious food source that can offer many benefits to goats. They are an excellent source of antioxidants, which can help to protect against diseases and promote overall health. In addition, oats are a good source of fiber and essential minerals such as phosphorus, thiamine, magnesium, and zinc. 

While oats are generally safe for goats, it is vital to feed them in moderation to avoid overeating and gastrointestinal problems. However, oats can provide many nutritional benefits for goats when fed as part of a balanced diet.

rescued goats eating oats for lunch
If our friends ask if goats can eat oats, we can’t help but laugh! Because we know that goats eat just about anything. Take this photo as undeniable proof! You see a herd of rescued goats eagerly snacking on a mixed oat troth. The goats are thankful. And hungry for more! But oats aren’t the only whole grains that goats love. We found an excellent goat nutrition guide from the Oregon State Extension blog listing oats, wheat, corn, barley, molasses, and fishmeal as popular goat meal concentrates.

What Types of Oats Can Goats Eat?

For goats, the best oats to eat are whole rolled, steel-cut or quick oats. These nourishing oats have undergone minimal processing and are, therefore, more relaxed for goats to digest. 

Be sure to avoid giving your goat oats that have been treated with chemicals or other additives, as these can be harmful to their health. When feeding oats to goats, always do so in moderation as they can cause digestive upsets if consumed in large quantities.

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How Do Oats Affect Goat Milk Production?

For lactating goats (does), oats provide an additional energy source. When feeding oats to a lactating doe, you can feed up to two cups daily. Oats can also help to increase milk production. By providing additional energy, the doe can maintain her milk production levels.

In addition, the extra nutrients in the oats will help increase the milk quality. Goats fed oats can produce milk that is higher in fat and protein than goats that do not eat oats. As a result, oats can impact goat milk production significantly.

two young goats eating grain oats for a snack
When studying can goats eat oats – we found another excellent article on the Oklahoma State University Extension blog about goat grain overload! It states that goats rapidly switching from a forage-heavy diet to a concentrate-based diet (like oat concentrates) may encounter digestive trouble – including rumen acidosis. The best way to avoid an upset goat stomach is to take things slow! In other words – slowly introduce concentrates into your goat’s diet! (Also – we always advise consulting with a trusted veterinarian or goat nutritionist if you change your goat’s diet!)

How to Incorporate Oats Into Your Goat’s Diet

Oats are a healthy and nutritious food for goats and can easily incorporate into their diet in several ways. 

One option is to add oats to your goat’s pellet meal, including sweet feed. Oats can also be used in medicated treats or added to baked cookies. 

You can also feed oats to your goats by themselves! We promise. Your hungry goats won’t mind!

hungry goat eating grass on rural farm
When studying which grains goats love the most, we read an excellent market goat feeding guide from the PennState Extension. The article mentions that the most popular grains for goats are oats, corn, barley, and wheat. Goats also love plenty of fresh and organic forage – as evidenced by the lovely photo above of a goat eagerly snacking on grass from its rural farm.

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Can Goats Eat Oats – FAQs

We’ve investigated if it’s safe and healthy for goats to eat oats. The following contains our findings. We hope they help you. And your hungry goats!

Can Goats Eat Oats?

Yes! Goats can safely eat oats! Many goats enjoy them. Oats are a good source of nutrients for goats that can help to keep them healthy and happy. Of course, as with any food, it’s vital to give goats oats in moderation. Too many oats can cause digestive problems.

What Should You Not Feed Goats?

Goats are curious creatures that will eat just about anything, but there are some things that they should not eat, including poisonous plants like rhododendron, azalea, and yew, along with things like meat scraps and dairy. Remember, goats are herbivores!

What Grains Are Bad for Goats?

Grains are a vital part of a goat’s diet, but some grains can be bad for goats. Corn is one of the most common grains fed to goats, but it can be difficult for them to digest. 

Wheat is another grain that gets fed to goats. But it can also be hard for them to digest. Oats and barley are two grains often fed to goats. But barley may also be difficult for goats to digest. Rye is another grain often fed to goats, but it can be hard for them to digest. 

What Is the Best Feed for Goats?

There is no single answer to the question of what is the best feed for goats. Goats are known for their ability to gorge on many plants and other food sources. As such, they can get fed a variety of different things. In general, however, the best feed for goats consists of a balance of hay, pellets, and vegetables.

Hay provides essential nutrients like fiber and protein, while pellets offer concentrated sources of energy and vitamins. Vegetables can help to add variety to the diet and provide additional sources of nutrients. Of course, every goat is different, and some may prefer certain types of food over others.

What Do Oats Do for Goats?

Oats are a type of cereal grain often used as livestock feed. For goats, oats provide a source of easily digestible carbohydrates and fiber. In addition, oats contain several vitamins and minerals essential for goat health. 

Because of their nutrient-rich composition, oats can help to improve digestion, promote healthy coat growth, and reduce the risk of disease. As a result, we believe that goats consuming a diet containing oats are typically healthier – and more productive than those that do not. 

goat snacking on pumpkin foraging in yard
Look at this adorable goat foraging for a snack in the autumn weather! It looks like this friendly goat is fresh out of oats. So – it ran onto the next garden crop it could find. In this case – it’s eating the fall pumpkin harvest! A word of warning to our homesteading friends with goats. If you don’t want your goats to eat your yield? You should lock it behind closed doors! (With goat-proof locks!)

Conclusion

So, can goats eat oats? The answer is yes! Goats can digest oats and other grains quite easily. Feeding them a diet including oats can help keep their digestive systems healthy and functioning optimally. 

Oats are also a good source of fiber, protein, and minerals, which makes them an excellent addition to the diets of both dairy and meat goats.

If you’re looking for nutritious feed for your goats, consider giving them some oats!

Do you have experience feeding oats to your goats? Do they respond well? And – do they enjoy eating oats?

We would love to hear about your experience!

Thanks again for reading.

And – have a great day!

Author

  • Rebekah Pierce started a small farm with her husband in 2016 in upstate New York, near her native Adirondack Mountains. With a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in special education, she has been writing professionally since 2017, but only recently left the world of teaching to pursue writing and farming full time. She now writes full-time in the education, business, finance, and of course, homesteading and farming niches.