Can Goats Eat Cranberries? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

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

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

can goats eat cranberries

What are Cranberries?

Cranberries are tart berries that grow in bogs and marshes. They are most commonly red, but there are also white cranberries. Cranberries can be eaten raw or cooked into jams, jellies, pies, sauces, and juice.

Cranberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and they also contain beneficial dietary fiber, which can help to support a healthy digestive tract.

Are There Different Types of Cranberries?

Yes! Not all cranberries are the same, there are actually three different types: fresh cranberries, canned cranberries (in heavy syrup), and dried cranberries (without sugar).

All three types can be fed to goats and you should buy whichever type is easiest; however, it is recommended that you feed the fresh variety whenever possible.

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Can Goats Eat Cranberries?

Goats can eat cranberries because they are a natural source of water and carbohydrates, which makes them good for maintaining healthy digestion in goats.

There is no reason why goats cannot eat cranberries because they contain many vitamins and minerals that your goat needs to stay healthy.

Are Cranberries Safe for Goats?

Yes! There is nothing in cranberries that could make your goat ill. The only possible concern you may have is if your goat eats too many berries at once or eats the stems of the cranberry plant.

When feeding cranberries to your goats, be sure they are thoroughly chewed before swallowing.

Cranberry stems are not safe for goats to eat because they contain a toxin called emodin. While emodin itself is not poisonous, it can ferment into prussic acid inside the goat’s digestive system and cause bloating and even death. (Prussic acid poisoning happens very rarely but it can affect animals with sensitive stomachs.)

Health Benefits of Cranberries for Goats

fresh cranberries

Cranberries contain beneficial dietary fiber and antioxidants that can help support a healthy digestive tract for your goats. They also offer many vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Vitamin A
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)

Are there any Risks in Feeding Cranberries to Goats?

There are very few risks in feeding cranberries to your goats, but there are some things for you to keep in mind.

Cranberries are not perfectly suited for all types of goats. If your goat is already suffering from diarrhea or another type of digestive upset, cranberry can make the problem even worse.

If you notice that your goat’s manure has become watery or loose after eating cranberries, do not feed them more until you speak with a veterinarian about it because it could be an indication of health problems beyond just the cause of diarrhea.

How to Feed Cranberries to Goats

You should never feed cranberries as the only source of goat’s food because they lack adequate nutrition.

Instead, you can use them as a supplement or as an occasional treat by feeding them with their stems removed. When feeding cranberries to your goats, remember that fresh is best and only remove the stems if they are fresh.

How do Goats Eat Cranberries?

goat eating

Goats do not eat cranberries as humans eat them; they use their front teeth to pull off the skin of the fruit before eating the fleshy part inside.

If you want your goats to enjoy fresh cranberries with minimal preparation, simply place a bunch of fresh cranberries in a large container with no lid or some other opening on top that allows for air circulation.

The container will provide enough space for movement so that your goats can access all the cranberries they want to enjoy.

Leave the container out for your goats to eat at their leisure while more berries will slowly fall to the bottom of the container for them to enjoy later.

Can Goats Eat Fresh Cranberries?

Yes, goats can eat cranberries in any form, but feeding the fresh variety is ideal if it’s available to you. Fresh cranberries are small with tough skins which helps to make them less sweet and easier for your goats to digest.

Canned cranberry sauce may contain added sugar or other ingredients that aren’t healthy for our furry friends, so stick to unpasteurized fresh berries when you can.

The tough skin of fresh cranberries also makes them a great treat for “tooth-breaking” games, such as the popular “coconut game”, which encourages dental health by breaking down your goat’s tooth enamel!

Can Goats Eat Canned Cranberries?

Goats can eat canned cranberries, too, but they may be more difficult for your goats to digest because of the added sugar.

If you only have access to canned cranberries, make sure to remove the skin from your goat’s portion of the dish before feeding it to them.  Cranberry sauce is often made with added ingredients that can contain traces of onion and garlic which are poisonous to goats so be sure it contains only cranberries and a sweetener such as honey or sugar.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Raspberries? 5 Excellent Benefits

Can Goats Eat Dried Cranberries?

Goats can eat dried cranberries, but they don’t offer the same health benefits to your goats that fresh or canned cranberries do.

When choosing dried cranberries for your goat, look for varieties that don’t contain added ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and salt.

Dried cranberries contain just as many vitamins and minerals as their fresh counterparts without offering a wet consistency that could cause digestive discomfort.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Strawberries? 6 Excellent Benefits

Can Goats Eat Cranberry Seeds?

Yes, but watch out when you feed cranberry seeds to your goats. The more seeds that are included with the cranberries, the riskier it is to feed the whole fruit.

If too many of the cranberry seeds are ingested by your goat at once they may become impacted in their digestive tract. A blocked digestive tract can result in death if not treated quickly so please use caution when giving this fruit to your goats.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Raisins? 6 Amazing Benefits

Can Goats Eat Cranberry Leaves?

kid goat eating plant

While cranberry leaves are technically safe for goats to eat, they should never be fed on their own because they are an inadequate source of nutrition for goats.

Goats require a diet with high amounts of nitrogen like alfalfa hay or leafy green vegetables, which cranberry leaves do not contain in sufficient quantities to be beneficial on their own.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Blueberries? 5 Fantastic Benefits

How Often Should I Feed my Goats Cranberries?

Goats can enjoy a serving of cranberries as a treat provided it’s one of the only fruits they have access to each day.

If your goats are fed other fruits daily, you should avoid feeding them cranberries so they don’t develop diarrhea from ingesting too much fructose.

In small amounts, however, cranberries can be enjoyed as a wonderful source of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants that will keep your goats healthy and help to fight off infection and disease.

Can Goats Eat Cranberries – Final Thoughts

While cranberries are a great treat for goats, there are a few things to remember when feeding them. Make sure to clean and dry the berries before giving them to your goats, and only give them in moderation. With a little bit of preparation, you can enjoy watching your goats eat their favorite fruit – cranberries!

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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.