Can Goats Eat Basil? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

Can goats eat basil? Yes, most goats love basil and will eat any variety. There are a couple of things to remember when preparing basil and feeding it to your goats.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about feeding basil to your goats.

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?

Goats of all ages can eat basil. According to the ASPCA, Basil is non-toxic for goats and can even help with digestion issues.

When feeding basil to goats, remember the following:

  • Always wash fresh veggies and check for dirt or bugs. Make sure you remove any damaged leaves before feeding them to your goats.
  • Store Basil in a cool dry place indoors for up to two weeks. It can also be frozen or dried. If drying Basil, make sure it is done thoroughly before adding it to your goat’s diet as mold may form on the plant if left damp for too long.
  • Goat owners rave about how their goats love eating fresh basil as much as they do. Be careful though as overfeeding this delicious herb can cause diarrhea and bloat.
  • Never feed your goats wilted or expired herbs of any kind.

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?

kid goat eating plant

Goats love eating fresh basil, but they can also eat dried basil when you are in a pinch. Basil is safe to feed to goats when made into a tea or powder form.

To turn dried basil into powder, use a coffee grinder or food processor to grind the leaves until they are ground fine enough for your goat’s system. Do not blend the whole plant or stems because these will likely cause upset stomachs and bloating in goats.

Once the herb is ground into powder it can be added in small amounts to your goat’s diet. If fed too much at once, this may result in diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and even cardiac arrest in some cases due to an irregular heartbeat.

Can Goats Eat Raw Basil?

Goats love eating fresh basil, but they can also eat it when it is raw. Raw basil can cause a goat’s system to become more alkaline, so it may be wise to only feed them small amounts at first before increasing the amount over time.

Always make sure you offer your goats fresh Basil, not wilted or outdated herbs of any kind as these will bring about digestive issues for your goat causing bloating or diarrhea.

Can Goats Eat Cooked Basil?

When preparing dried basil for feeding to your goats, never use boiling water. Boiling water will destroy all of the vitamins and nutrients in the herb making it useless as food for goats. To prepare dried basil for feeding, simply allow the herb to soak in hot water until it becomes fully rehydrated.

Can Goats Eat Basil Leaves?

Goats will eat fresh basil leaves right from your garden or kitchen counter. They can also enjoy eating dried basil leaves that have been crushed into a fine powder to release the oils and flavor in the leaf for their enjoyment.

Goats can eat the whole leaf, but some goats may find it difficult to chew and swallow bigger pieces of basil. If your goat has trouble eating fresh basil leaves, cut them into bite-sized pieces or strips before offering them to your goat.

If you have an extremely picky eater that refuses to eat basil, try mixing small amounts of the herb with other green feeds such as hay or alfalfa. Add a little bit at a time until you notice your goat starts enjoying their new food choice.

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.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Parsley? 6 Awesome Benefits

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.

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.

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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 find out more about her on LinkedIn.