Can Goats Eat Basil? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

Ever found yourself tending to your flourishing basil garden and wondering, can goats eat basil? The answer is a resounding yes, and it turns out, this aromatic herb is not just a hit in your kitchen but could be a crowd-pleaser in your goat pen too. Most goats not only love the taste but can also benefit from the myriad of health advantages that basil offers.

When I first introduced basil to my herd, I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly they took to it. My goats seemed to enjoy this leafy green as much as I enjoy adding it to my pasta sauces and salads. It was a win-win, providing my goats with essential nutrients while offering an alternative to their regular diet of hay and grains.

Whether you’re a seasoned goat owner or new to the game, incorporating basil into your feeding routine can bring about some delightful changes in your goats’ well-being. So, if you’re sitting on a bumper crop of basil this year, read on to discover why and how this herb can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your goat’s diet.

can goats eat basil

What is Basil?

Basil is an annual culinary herb of the family Ocimum. There are over 40 varieties of basil that can be used in cooking, but sweet or Genovese basil (Ocimum basilicum) produces the best results for goat owners, especially when feeding it to your goats fresh.

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Can Goats Eat Basil?

Goats love basil and all varieties of this flavorful herb. The young leaves and flower buds can be eaten fresh or dried as a seasoning, while the older leaves should be crushed before adding to dishes. Basil is an excellent source of Vitamin K and Vitamin A, but also contains iron, calcium, manganese, and other vitamins and minerals.

Is Basil Safe for Goats?

Before you venture into adding any new food to your goat’s diet, it’s crucial to verify its safety. The good news is that basil is not just safe for goats but also offers several health benefits. Below, we explore the factors you should consider when introducing this herb to your goats, so you can do so with confidence.

ASPCA Guidelines

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), basil is non-toxic to goats. This means you can safely introduce this herb into their meals without worrying about immediate harmful effects. However, like with any dietary change, it’s essential to observe your goats after giving them basil to make sure they tolerate it well.

Preparation and Storage

Always wash fresh basil thoroughly to remove any dirt or bugs, and check the leaves for any signs of damage or decay. Storage is also crucial; basil should be kept in a cool, dry place indoors for up to two weeks. If you choose to dry the basil, ensure it is completely dried to prevent mold growth, which could present a health hazard.

Quantity and Frequency

While basil is safe and nutritious, overfeeding can lead to gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea and bloat. Start with small quantities and gradually increase the amount if your goats react well. It’s advisable to introduce basil as a supplement to their existing diet rather than a primary food source.

Age Considerations

Goats of all ages can consume basil, but if you’re introducing it to kids, remember that their digestive systems are still developing. Therefore, start with smaller amounts and monitor them for any signs of discomfort or digestive distress.

Health Benefits of Basil for Goats

fresh basil

Goats that eat basil will benefit from the following:

  • Vitamin K which is very important for blood clotting.
  • Improved immune system boosting the goat’s resistance to diseases including coccidiosis, parasites, and worms.
  • Reduces flatulence in goats.
  • Clearer eyesight and a healthier coat of hair with an increased sheen.
  • Healthier kidneys and liver function. Basil contains high levels of antioxidants making this herb ideal for long-term health benefits to your goats.

The next time you purchase fresh basil at your local grocery store or farmers market, remember it’s not only delicious but also nutritious for your goats too.

Are there any Risks in Feeding Basil to Goats?

There are no known risks when feeding basil to your goats. Basil is safe for goats, but as with any goat feed, too much of a good thing can cause health issues.

Small amounts of basil are safe for feeding to your goats daily, but you should avoid overfeeding this delicious herb. Basil is a gentle and flavorful addition to your goat’s diet, but it’s important not to overwhelm their system by giving them too much basil all at once.

Overloading Vitamin K from basil can also be harmful as well as cause digestive issues in those with sensitive stomachs. If adding fresh or dried basil to your goat’s diet, start small then slowly increase the amount over time.

How to Prepare Basil for Goats?

There are several ways to prepare Basil for feeding to your goats:

  • Cut and feed fresh basil leaves and stems. Chop the leaves into bite-size pieces before adding them to your goat’s food, especially when introducing new food items.
  • Add crushed dried basil leaves or powder. Add a teaspoon of dried basil at a time until you reach the desired amount in each serving.
  • Mix crushed dried basil with ground feed such as hay or pellets so that it’s easier for your goats to eat. If you mix dry ingredients together first, make sure they’re thoroughly blended before feeding them to your goats all at once.

Can Goats Eat Dried Basil?

dried basil

Certainly, dried basil can be a useful addition to your goat’s diet, particularly when fresh basil isn’t available. To prepare, simply grind the dried leaves into a fine powder using a coffee grinder or food processor. It’s important to exclude the stems and any other hard parts of the plant, as these could cause digestive issues like bloating or an upset stomach in your goats.

While dried basil is convenient and long-lasting, it’s crucial to introduce it to your goats gradually. Start with small amounts mixed into their regular feed and closely monitor for any adverse reactions. Overfeeding dried basil can lead to a range of digestive problems, including diarrhea, gas, and bloating, so moderation is key.

How Often Should I Feed my Goats Basil?

Goat owners should avoid feeding too much basil to their goats all at once. Too much Vitamin K from the herb can cause issues for your goat’s heart rate and blood pressure, so it’s best to start small then slowly increase the amount over time if need be.

A good rule of thumb is to feed your goats around 1-2 teaspoons worth of dried basil per day. This will help make sure they are getting the right amount of minerals in their body without causing any digestive or health problems down the line.

If you are feeding fresh basil, go ahead and provide anywhere between 1-3 cups per day depending on how large your herd is.

Can Kids Eat Basil?

Kids can eat basil just as much as adults can, but they may need to have smaller amounts due to the fact that their digestive systems are still maturing.

If your kids are 1 year old or younger, go ahead and feed them around 1/2 teaspoon worth of dried basil per day until they are older then offer up to 2 teaspoons worth of the herb per day afterward.

What Parts of the Basil Plant Are Safe for Goats?

basil plants

If you’re considering adding basil to your goat’s diet, you may be wondering which parts of the plant are safe for consumption. The good news is that the majority of the basil plant is not only safe but also beneficial for goats, offering a range of nutritional benefits. Let’s break down the specific parts of the basil plant that you can confidently offer to your herd.

Leaves

The leaves of the basil plant are the most commonly consumed part, not just by humans but also by goats. They are rich in essential vitamins like Vitamin K and Vitamin A, as well as various minerals. Both young and mature leaves are safe to eat, although the younger leaves are often more tender and palatable for goats.

Stems

While not as nutrient-dense as the leaves, the stems of the basil plant are also safe for goats to consume. They can be a bit tougher, so they are often better suited for adult goats rather than young kids. If you’re concerned about the toughness, you can chop the stems into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Flower Buds

Basil flower buds are another part of the plant that goats can eat. These buds are often aromatic and carry many of the same nutrients found in the leaves. However, they are less commonly found in culinary uses, so your goats may take some time to get used to them.

Seeds

Basil seeds are generally considered safe for goats, although they are not as commonly fed as the leaves, stems, or flower buds. If you do choose to offer basil seeds to your goats, make sure they are properly dried and free from mold.

What Other Herbs Can Goats Eat Apart from Basil?

fresh rosemary

While basil is a delightful addition to your goat’s diet, it’s not the only herb that they can benefit from. A variety of herbs can be fed to goats for both nutritional benefits and the sheer joy of diversifying their diet. Below, we explore five other popular herbs that are not only goat-approved but also offer unique health advantages.

Cilantro

Cilantro is another herb that goats generally enjoy. It’s safe for them to eat and offers a range of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants that can improve overall health. Just like with basil, start with a small amount and observe your goats for any adverse reactions.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Cilantro? 5 Benefits And Things To Watch

Parsley

Parsley is not only aromatic but also highly nutritious, containing vitamins like K, C, and A. It’s an excellent herb for goats and can help improve their immune system. However, note that parsley can act as a diuretic, so it’s best to feed it in moderation.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Parsley? 6 Awesome Benefits

Lavender

Lavender isn’t just for sachets and calming tea; it’s also a hit with many goats. This herb is known for its calming effects and can be especially beneficial for goats that are stressed or anxious. While lavender is generally safe, too much can be hard on a goat’s digestive system, so it’s best to offer it in limited quantities.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Lavender? The Ultimate Guide To Feeding It To Your Goats

Rosemary

Rosemary is another safe herb that can be fed to goats. It’s rich in antioxidants and can aid in digestion. However, the strong aroma and flavor of rosemary may not be to every goat’s liking, so it may take some time for them to get accustomed to it.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Rosemary? 4 Great Benefits

Oregano

Oregano is a herb that’s well-known for its medicinal qualities, including its antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Goats can eat oregano and benefit from its health-boosting characteristics. Again, moderation is key, especially because oregano is a potent herb that can be strong for a goat’s digestive system.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Oregano? The Ultimate Guide To Feeding Your Goat Herbs

Can Goats Eat Basil – Final Thoughts

Basil is perfectly safe for goats and has a number of health benefits for them. It is safe for goats to eat in any quantity, but keep in mind that many types of basil are spicy.

If you’re not sure what type of herbs your goat is eating it might be best to limit their intake. Finally, remember that even if a pregnant doe gets into some basil she won’t have her kids early. Most people notice that there isn’t a change in the length of gestation, as herbs don’t work like that.

So as long as you feed your goats properly they’ll be fine to enjoy a few sprigs every now and again! Thanks for reading this article about whether or not goats can eat basil.

Jill Taylor Happy Farmyard

Jill Taylor

Jill is a full-time homesteader who enjoys learning about sustainable living and practicing self-reliance. She'll most likely be found tending to her many animals including chickens, ducks, goats, and alpacas. You can find out more about her on LinkedIn.