Can Goats Eat Oranges? 5 Fantastic Benefits

Written By Jill Taylor

Can goats eat oranges? If you’re a goat owner like me, you’ve probably asked yourself this question more than once. After all, we want the best for our hoofed friends, don’t we? The answer is yes, goats can eat oranges, but as with any treat, there are guidelines to follow for feeding them safely.

Growing up on a farm, I’ve always had a deep connection with animals, especially goats. Their curious nature and quirky personalities make them fascinating companions. My goats would nibble on anything they could get their mouths on, but it got me wondering about the nutritional value and safety of what they were eating – specifically, oranges, a common household fruit.

In this article, we delve into the essentials of feeding oranges to goats. Discover the benefits, potential risks, and best practices for safely incorporating this vitamin-rich fruit into your goat’s diet. Continue reading for key insights on responsible feeding.

can goats eat oranges

The benefits of eating oranges for goats

Oranges are not only a delicious and nutritious snack for humans, but they can also be a great treat for goats. Here are some reasons you should consider feeding oranges to your goat friends:

  • Source of Vitamin C: Essential for iron absorption, wound healing, and a strong immune system.
  • Improves Digestion: Fiber in oranges aids in gut health and helps manage weight.
  • Hydration: High water content helps meet goats’ hydration needs, crucial in hot weather and for pregnant or nursing goats.
  • Essential Minerals: Provides potassium for nerve and muscle function, magnesium for metabolism, and calcium for bone health.
  • Heat Stress Relief: Helps goats stay cool in summer with water and electrolytes, and Vitamin C boosts illness resistance.


Things to watch out for when feeding oranges to goats

fresh peeled orange

While oranges (and other citrus fruits) can be a healthy treat for goats, there are some things you need to watch out for. Here are a few things to remember the next time you’re tempted to feed your goat an orange:

  • Moderation is Key: Introduce oranges slowly; start with a few slices daily and gradually increase to avoid digestive issues.
  • Avoid Orange Peel: Contains limonene, which can be toxic in large amounts and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and breathing difficulties.
  • Limit Consumption: Restrict intake to no more than 1/4 pound per day for adult goats and 1/8 pound for kids to prevent stomach upset and other health issues.

How often should goats eat oranges?

While goats enjoy eating various fruits and vegetables, you should give oranges in moderation due to their high sugar content. A good rule of thumb is to offer one or two small oranges per day for every four goats. Any more than that can cause stomach upset and lead to obesity.

In addition, oranges should always be introduced slowly into a goat’s diet to avoid digestive problems. When fed in moderation, however, oranges can be a healthy and delicious treat for goats of all ages.

How to prepare oranges for feeding to goats

goat sticking out tongue

If you’re looking for a nutritious treat to give your goats, oranges are a great option. But before you feed them to your goats, there are a few things you should know. Read on to learn how to prepare oranges for feeding to goats:

  1. Wash Thoroughly: Remove pesticides and chemicals by washing the oranges. Peel them first, then rinse in a colander with cold water to eliminate dirt and debris.
  2. Cut into Pieces: Post-washing, slice the oranges into small, manageable pieces to facilitate easy eating and prevent choking. Options include wedges or bite-sized chunks.
  3. Remove Seeds: Ensure all seeds are removed from the cut pieces to avoid harm to the goats. Use a citrus reamer or fork to twist out the seeds effectively.

Can baby goats eat oranges?

Yes, baby goats can eat oranges. Oranges are a good source of vitamins A and C for goats. However, they should only be given in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Too much citrus fruit can cause stomach upset in goats.

Baby goats also need access to fresh water and hay. Hay is essential for their digestive health, and it provides them with the fiber they need to prevent digestive problems. If you’re thinking of feeding your baby goat an orange, do so slowly at first.

Specific Types of Oranges and Goats

Varieties of Oranges for Goats

Different types of oranges offer varying tastes and nutritional benefits, which can be appealing to goats. Here’s a look at some common varieties:

  • Navel Oranges: Known for their sweet flavor, navel oranges are seedless, making them a convenient choice for feeding goats. They are rich in vitamins and fiber.
  • Valencia Oranges: These are juicy and are ideal for juicing. Valencia oranges can be a refreshing treat for goats, especially in warmer climates.
  • Mandarin Oranges: Smaller and sweeter, mandarins are easier for goats to eat. Their thin peel is also edible for goats but should be given in moderation.
  • Blood Oranges: Unique for their deep red flesh, blood oranges are rich in antioxidants. They can be an occasional treat for goats, offering a different taste and nutritional profile.
  • Tangerines: These are similar to mandarins but have a slightly tart flavor. Tangerines are easy for goats to eat and digest.

Goat Breeds and Their Preference for Oranges

Different goat breeds may have varying preferences and tolerances for oranges:

  • Dairy Goats (e.g., Nubian, Alpine): Dairy goats are generally curious and may show interest in oranges. The vitamin C in oranges can be beneficial for their health, but moderation is key to avoid digestive issues.
  • Meat Goats (e.g., Boer, Kiko): Meat goats, known for their robust nature, might enjoy oranges as a part of a diverse diet. However, their primary diet should still be forage-based.
  • Pygmy Goats: Due to their smaller size, Pygmy goats should be given oranges in smaller quantities. Their playful nature might make them more inclined to experiment with different orange varieties.
  • Angora Goats: While primarily raised for their fiber, Angora goats can also consume oranges. The fruit can be a good source of vitamins for them, but as with other breeds, it should only be a small part of their diet.
  • Fainting Goats (Myotonic Goats): Known for their unique muscle condition, fainting goats can have oranges as a treat. Care should be taken to ensure that the treat does not startle them, given their condition.

What Parts of the Orange and Orange Tree Are Safe for Goats?

orange tree

When it comes to feeding oranges to goats, you might also wonder about other parts of the orange tree, like the leaves or even the wood. Understanding which parts are safe and beneficial can provide more options for treating and nourishing your goats.

Orange Flesh

The flesh of the orange is undoubtedly safe and can be a nutritious treat for goats. It’s a great source of Vitamin C and fiber. Always remember to remove the seeds before feeding the fruit to your goats, as seeds can be a choking hazard or cause digestive discomfort.

Orange Peel

While the orange peel is technically edible and even contains some nutrients, it’s best to approach with caution. The peel has a higher concentration of oils and limonene, which can be harsh on a goat’s digestive system. If you do choose to feed your goats the peel, make sure it is free from pesticides and offer it in small, infrequent amounts.

Orange Leaves and Branches

Leaves and young branches from the orange tree can also be safe for goats to consume and may even be a favorite. They contain some nutrients and are a good source of fiber. However, be mindful that excessive consumption can lead to digestive issues, just like any other food.

Orange Flowers

The blossoms from an orange tree are generally safe for goats and can be a sweet-smelling treat. However, the flowers are high in sugars, so they should only be offered sparingly.

Orange Wood

While it’s not a common practice to feed goats the wood of an orange tree, it is generally considered safe. The wood could provide a source of roughage and is sometimes used for chewing, which can help keep a goat’s teeth healthy. However, the nutritional benefits are negligible compared to other parts of the tree.

What Other Fruits Can Goats Eat Apart From Oranges?

fresh whole pears

Oranges aren’t the only fruit that can add variety and nutrition to your goat’s diet. Just like us, goats appreciate a diverse menu, and several other fruits are not only safe but beneficial for them when offered in moderation. However, each fruit has its own set of benefits and considerations. Let’s explore some popular fruits that your goats might enjoy, apart from oranges.


Yes, goats can eat apples, and they usually love them! Apples are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain plenty of fiber. Just remember to remove the seeds and the core, as apple seeds contain small amounts of cyanide that can be harmful to goats in large quantities.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Apples? 6 Fantastic Benefits


Grapes are another goat-friendly fruit that is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. However, grapes are high in sugar, so they should be given sparingly as a treat. Also, be aware that raisins, which are dried grapes, are not recommended due to their higher concentration of sugar and potential for mold growth.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Grapes? 5 Awesome Benefits


Goats can safely eat bananas, peel and all! Bananas are rich in potassium and other essential nutrients, making them a healthy treat for goats. But, similar to grapes, bananas are quite sugary, so they should be fed in moderation to prevent obesity and digestive issues.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Bananas? 5 Fantastic Benefits


Pears are another safe and nutritious fruit option for goats. They provide a good amount of vitamins and fiber. Like with apples, be sure to remove the seeds before feeding pears to your goats, as they too can contain trace amounts of cyanide.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Pears? 5 Excellent Benefits


While it might surprise you, goats can also eat lemons. However, most goats aren’t too fond of the tart flavor. If you do decide to offer lemons, remove the seeds and give them in small quantities to test your goat’s reaction. The citric acid can act as a natural de-wormer but should be offered sparingly due to its strong acidity, which could upset a goat’s stomach.

Read More: Can Goats Eat Lemons? 5 Surprising Benefits

Can goats eat oranges – final thoughts

So, can goats eat oranges? You bet your hooves they can! From the vitamin-packed flesh of the orange to the leafy branches of the orange tree, there’s a citrusy smorgasbord that’s safe and beneficial for your goat to munch on. Just remember the golden rules: moderation is key, seeds are a no-go, and when in doubt, fresh is best. Your goats can enjoy the tangy goodness of oranges while reaping a variety of health benefits, from improved digestion to staying hydrated.

But the orange fun doesn’t have to stop there! Feel free to expand your goat’s fruity horizons with apples, grapes, bananas, pears, and even the occasional lemon. As always, introduce new treats gradually and keep an eye out for any tummy troubles. With this newfound knowledge, you’re ready to add a zest of orange excitement to your goat’s diet.

Related Articles: