Can Goats Eat Walnuts? Simple Answer & Feeding Tips

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

There are some sites that proclaim that walnuts are toxic to goats. This is not true, although there are toxic properties contained in walnuts. These toxic properties would have to be extracted from the walnuts and given to the goats in their single form for them to be toxic.

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

can goats eat walnuts

What are Walnuts?

Walnuts are the edible, roundish part of a tree that appears similar to an acorn. Walnuts grow in clusters at the base of trees and can be found all over the world.

Some common varieties of walnuts are the black walnut, Persian or English walnut, and the heartnut.

Both the green husk and the brown shell contain a strong toxin in their outer shells. Most goats will readily devour any type of nut and simply discard these outer shells when they eat the nuts whole. This does not pose any risk for your goats.

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Can Goats Eat Walnuts?

Yes, however, there are some risks involved in feeding walnuts to your goats. The main risk is the possibility of toxicity.

The toxin within walnuts is juglone. This toxic property can cause abortion or other health concerns if ingested by pregnant does.

This toxin would have to be extracted to cause any adverse reactions, so it is safe for your goats to eat whole walnuts and walnut leaves.

Health Benefits of Walnuts for Goats

There are many health benefits for your goats if you feed them walnuts.

A source of protein, dietary fiber, good fats, and vitamins including B Vitamins makes this food an excellent nutritional supplement to your goat’s diet.

Walnuts also yield the highest antioxidant value on the ORAC scale, which measures natural plant-sourced anti-oxidants. This means that eating walnuts will help fight infections and diseases within your herd more than any other nut or fruit.

Are there any Risks in Feeding Walnuts to Goats?

Yes, although there are very few risks associated with feeding walnuts to your goats.

The main concern is the possibility of toxicity. Juglone contained in walnuts can cause toxicity if your pregnant does eat too much of it or it is processed incorrectly.

If you do choose to feed your herd whole nuts, make sure they are not eating any green husk or brown shell caught between the nutmeat and outer shell as this can also be toxic to a goat’s immune system.

How to Prepare Walnuts for Goats?


Walnuts can be fed to your herd in a variety of different ways.

You can feed them whole walnuts, crushed or whole with the shell on, or even processed into butter.

Crushing the nuts will make it easier for smaller goats to eat as long as there are no green husk pieces caught between the meat and outer shell.

Whole shelled walnuts may pose a choking hazard for younger goats so give those only to older does or bucks.

If you choose to process whole shelled walnuts, simply dry roast them in a hot pan over medium heat until they turn slightly brown and can easily be cracked by hand.

Let cool and then crack open the shells before feeding your goats the walnuts.

Can Goats Eat Cooked Walnuts?

Yes, goats can eat cooked walnuts in the same way they would eat them in their natural state.

Cooked walnuts are just as nutritious, safe to eat raw or cooked, and provide the same health benefits.

Make sure to cook them over medium heat so they do not burn and become toxic to goats.

If you choose to feed your herd walnut butter, there is no risk of toxicity as long as it does not contain any green husk pieces caught in the butter.

Can Goats Eat Raw Walnuts?

Yes, goats can eat raw walnuts.

They are just as healthy when eaten in their natural state without being cooked or processed into butter.

Feeding your herd whole-shelled and unprocessed walnuts is safe and nutritious for all types of goats to eat.

What about Walnut Leaves and Walnut Tree Bark?

Goats can eat walnut leaves and bark.

Walnut trees grow in both warm and cold climates, so your goats will most likely be able to munch on the leaves of a walnut tree if they find one while out on pasture.

Wilted leaves have a higher concentration of juglone, so leaves fresh off the tree are an ideal treat for your goats.

As for the bark, this is fine for your goats to munch on, although they may not be very keen on it.

How Often Should I Feed my Goats Walnuts?

goats eating

There is no limit to the number of times a day you can feed walnuts to your goats.

Walnuts are very nutritious and safe for goats to eat, so they do not pose any sort of toxicity risk if fed too often.

In fact, it is beneficial to feed your goats walnuts every day as a source of protein and other nutrients that will help them stay healthy and thrive.

Can Goats Eat Any Type of Walnut?

Yes, any type of walnut – English, black, white – can be fed to your goats safely without risking toxicity or digestive upsets.

All types provide nutrition in different ways as well as health benefits such as improved cardiovascular function and lower cholesterol.

Can Baby Goats Eat Walnuts?

Yes, baby goats can eat walnuts.

As with adult goats, you will need to check for green husk pieces caught in the nutmeat or outer shell before feeding whole shelled nuts to young does and bucks.

Walnuts are safe for young kids regardless of how they are processed – whole shelled, crushed, or in butter form – as long as they do not contain any green husk.

Can Goats Eat Walnuts – Final Thoughts

Feeding walnuts to your goats is a great way to give them some extra protein and minerals. Walnuts are also a good source of healthy fats for your goats. Just be sure to hull the nuts before feeding them to your goats, as there are sharp edges on the shells that can cause injury.

And always keep an eye on your goats when they’re eating any new food, just in case they have an adverse reaction. Thanks for reading!

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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.