Can Goats Eat Cheese: 5 Reasons It’s Not a Good Idea

Growing up on a small farm, I remember the mischievous antics of our resident goats. Whenever they’d break free, which was more often than you’d think, they’d sneak into the kitchen garden and munch on anything they could find. Once, I even caught them nibbling on a discarded piece of cheddar, and it got me wondering, can goats eat cheese? The answer, as it turns out, is not as simple as you might think.

Contrary to popular belief, goats aren’t the garbage disposals of the animal kingdom. They’re actually quite selective about their diet. While they might occasionally taste-test things out of curiosity, cheese should not be a staple in their meals. In fact, feeding cheese to goats can have serious consequences for their health.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the reasons why cheese might not be the best treat for your furry friends, even if they seem eager to give it a try. From digestive issues to potential illnesses, we’ll uncover the myths and present the facts. So, next time your goats eye that block of gouda, you’ll know just what to do.

can goats eat cheese

The Misconception that Goats Can Eat Cheese

One of the most persistent myths about goats is that they will eat anything, including cheese. In fact, goats are very selective eaters and have a highly developed sense of taste. They will only eat plants that they know to be nutritious and safe.

This means that they will generally avoid eating cheese, as it is not part of their natural diet. Cheese is also difficult for goats to digest, and can cause them to become sick.

For these reasons, it is important to avoid feeding goats cheese or any other dairy products. Goats should only be given food that is specifically designed for them, as this will help to ensure their health and wellbeing.

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The Dangers of Giving Goats Cheese as Part of Their Diet

fresh block of cheese

While goats cheese can be a nutritious and delicious part of a human diet, it can be dangerous for goats. There are a few reasons why goats shouldn’t eat cheese.

They can Suffer from Listeriosis

Goats are susceptible to a condition known as listeriosis, which is caused by bacteria that can be found in unpasteurized dairy products. If a goat consumes contaminated cheese, the bacteria can multiply in their digestive tract and cause severe illness.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, and the disease can be fatal if not treated promptly. For this reason, it is important to only give goats cheese that has been pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria.

They can Develop Gastrointestinal Issues

Another reason why goats shouldn’t eat cheese is that it can cause them to develop gastrointestinal issues. Cheese is high in fat and lactose, which can be difficult for goats to digest.

If a goat consumes too much cheese, it can experience stomach pain, bloating, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can even lead to death. For this reason, it is important to only give goats small amounts of cheese as a treat and not make it a part of their regular diet.

Potential Consequences of Goats Eating Cheese

goats eating

Goats are notoriously curious creatures, and they will often eat anything they can get their mouths on. This can be a problem if there’s cheese within their reach, as goats love nothing more than a good nibble of this dairy product.

While eating cheese won’t do goats any serious harm, it can lead to some potential consequences. For example, goats can develop issues with their teeth if they eat too much hard cheese. In addition, goats that consume large amounts of cheese may become obese and suffer from health problems as a result.

Finally, goats that eat cheese may produce less milk, as the calcium in the cheese can interfere with milk production. As such, it’s best to keep cheese out of reach of curious goats.

Can Goats Eat Cottage Cheese?

Goats are inquisitive creatures and will often put their mouths on anything to see if it’s edible. So, the short answer to whether or not goats can eat cottage cheese is yes, they can.

However, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re considering feeding your goat cottage cheese. First, because goats are lactose-intolerant, they may have difficulty digesting cottage cheese. So, it’s best to give them only a small amount at first to see how they react.

Secondly, cottage cheese (like all dairy products) is high in fat and calories, so it should be fed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. And finally, make sure the cottage cheese you’re giving your goat is pasteurized, as unpasteurized dairy can contain harmful bacteria.

How to Properly Feed your Goat a Balanced Diet

goat eating from hand

Goats are browsers, not grazers like cows. This means that they prefer to eat the leaves off of bushes and trees rather than grass. In the wild, goats will often climb trees to get to the tastiest leaves.

However, when domestic goats are kept on a farm, they usually don’t have access to trees. This is why it’s important to provide them with a diet that mimics their natural diet as closely as possible. The best way to do this is by feeding them hay, which is dried grass or other plants.

You can also give them fresh grass, but it should be limited since too much of it can cause digestive problems. In addition to hay and grass, goats also need a source of protein, such as soybean meal or alfalfa pellets.

Finally, goats also need access to fresh water at all times.

What Other Foods Can Goats Eat Apart from Cheese?

milk chocolate bars

Goats, known for their boundless curiosity, often find their way into areas where they might encounter a range of human foods. It’s essential to know which treats are safe to share with your goats and which could potentially harm them. In this section, we’ll explore five common foods that you might consider giving to your goats and discuss whether or not they should be a part of their diet.

Chocolate

Chocolate is a definite no for goats. It contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which can be toxic to many animals, goats included. Ingesting even small amounts can lead to poisoning symptoms such as rapid heart rate, seizures, and even death. Always keep chocolate out of reach of your goats.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Chocolate? 5 Reasons It’s Not A Good Idea

Raisins

While raisins might seem harmless, they are known to be toxic to some animals like dogs. The exact reason for their toxicity isn’t clear, but to ensure your goat’s safety, it’s best to avoid feeding them raisins altogether.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Raisins? Revealing The Facts

Peanut Butter

In moderation, peanut butter can be a treat for goats. It’s high in protein and fats which can be beneficial for them, especially in colder months. However, it should be offered in limited quantities and always make sure it’s free from harmful additives like xylitol, a sweetener toxic to many animals.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Peanut Butter? 5 Amazing Benefits

Meat

Goats are herbivores, which means their diet is plant-based. They lack the enzymes to digest meat properly. Feeding your goats meat can lead to severe digestive issues and is strongly discouraged.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Meat? A Deep Dive Into Their Dietary Habits

Honey

Honey is safe for goats in moderation. It’s a natural sweetener and can be a source of quick energy. Some farmers even use it as a way to introduce medicines or other essential supplements. However, like all treats, it should be given sparingly to avoid upsetting their digestive system or causing an imbalance in their diet.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Honey? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

Can Goats Eat Cheese – Final Thoughts

When it comes to cheese, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid feeding it to goats altogether. Cheese can be difficult for them to digest, and it may even make them sick. So, stick to goat-specific food that is designed to meet their nutritional needs. Your goats will thank you for it!

As you can see, there are a few reasons why goats shouldn’t eat cheese. Cheese can be difficult for them to digest and can cause them to develop gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, cheese can interfere with milk production in goats.

For these reasons, it is best to keep cheese out of reach of curious goats. However, if you do give your goat cheese, make sure it is pasteurized to kill any harmful bacteria.

Finally, remember to provide your goat with a diet that mimics their natural diet as closely as possible by feeding them hay, grass, and a source of protein.

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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 can find out more about her on LinkedIn.