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Can Goats Eat Tomatoes? Reduce Animal Feed Costs

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Goats are curious and explore various food options to determine their preferences. As the owner of two goats, I know what it is like to worry about the goats’ diet, as they are such snooping animals they may eat anything from my garden. On the other hand, with steadily rising feed costs, it is of utmost importance to understand whether we can replace part of the goat’s diet with vegetables such as tomatoes and employ new sustainable and effective strategies for animal nutrition. Therefore, if you are wondering, Can goats eat tomatoes? This article summarizes everything about goats and tomatoes.

Can Goats Eat Tomatoes?

Can Goats Eat Tomatoes? Yes, they can. Goats eat tomatoes in moderation. But only goats can eat ripe tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes (green tomatoes) and the tomato plant can make the goat sick if consumed because they have solanine. Tomatoes are abundant in essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial antioxidants.

can goats eat tomatoes
Can Goats Eat Tomatoes? Yes, goats can eat tomatoes. They are generally safe for goats to consume in moderation.

Tomatoes To Reduce Animal Feed Costs and Improve Milk Quality

According to scientific research, incorporating feed blocks made from discarded tomato and cucumber fruits into the diet of dairy goats could replace 35% of the concentrate. This substitution can potentially reduce the cost of animal feeding, decrease methane production, and result in higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in milk. Importantly, these changes do not compromise nutrient utilization or milk yield.

Similar studies showed that up to 40% of goat diet replacement with grape, pomegranate, olive, and tomato improves milk fatty acid profile without depressing milk production.

So, can goats eat tomatoes? Goats can eat tomatoes, but only ripe tomatoes. Only use tomatoes as a snack for your goats combined with forage or hay.

Can Goats Eat Cherry Tomatoes?

Can Goats Eat Cherry Tomatoes? Yes, goats can eat cherry tomatoes in moderation. Goats can eat any variety of tomatoes as long as they are ripe. As mentioned above, goats should never eat green tomatoes and any part of tomato plants because they are toxic to goats.

Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants?

Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants? No, goats cannot eat tomato plants because they contain a toxic compound called solanine to goats and other animals. Solanine is a toxic chemical compound found in certain nightshade family plants, such as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. It is particularly concentrated in the green parts of these plants, such as the leaves and stems.

Excessive consumption of green tomatoes or tomato plants will cause goats to become sick. It may even cause death if too much is consumed. A scientific study on the toxicity of solanine confirmed that high concentrations can cause acute intoxication, including gastrointestinal and neurological disorders.

If your goat consumes your tomato plant, it will likely suffer from gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, they may exhibit signs of confusion, depression, weakness, dilated pupils, and difficulty breathing.

can goats eat tomato plants
Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants? Goats should not eat tomato plants. Tomato plants, including their leaves and stems, contain a toxic substance called solanine.

How To Protect Tomato Plants from Being Eaten

Goats are curious animals and will try to eat anything within reach. Fortunately, there are several ways to protect your tomato plants from goats. Although ripe tomatoes are safe for goats, you will not keep your goat from eating the green parts of the tomato plants, and you will not keep them from damaging the garden.

Install a sturdy fence around the area where your tomato plants are located. Ensure the fence is high enough and has small enough gaps to prevent goats from accessing the plants. It should be 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 m) high to prevent goats from jumping over it. Do not use an electric fence, as electric fences can severely damage your goats.

Growing tomatoes in a greenhouse is an excellent strategy to protect your plants from being eaten by goats. The controlled environment of a greenhouse provides a barrier that keeps goats out and safeguards your precious tomato crop.

Certain plants and smells often deter goats. Consider planting strong-smelling herbs or flowers around your tomato plants that goats find unappealing, such as lavender, garlic, or cayenne pepper.

Use homemade repellents to protect tomato plants from goats. You can mince garlic and then boil it for a few minutes. Then spray the tomato leaves with that mixture to keep goats away. In addition, this mixture of garlic and water will keep away other pests that attack tomato plants.

Remember, goats can be persistent and resourceful, so a combination of these methods may be necessary for effective protection. Regularly inspect the fencing and plantings to address any potential weaknesses or breaches.

how to protect tomato plants from being eaten
How To Protect Tomato Plants from Being Eaten? Install a sturdy fence around your tomato plants to create a physical barrier and prevent access by goats or other animals.

Final Conclusions

As a gardener, I often encounter questions about what animals can eat in the garden. One such query that frequently arises is: can goats eat tomatoes? After thorough research and personal experience, the answer is clear: goats eat ripe tomatoes. However, it’s important to exercise caution when allowing goats access to your tomato plants.

Suppose you have goats on your property and desire a bountiful tomato harvest. In that case, keeping them separated from your tomato plants is wise. Providing alternative grazing areas and proper supervision will help safeguard your goats and your valuable tomato crop.

In conclusion, while goats can eat tomatoes, managing their access and consumption is essential. You can protect your tomato plants and enjoy a thriving garden by implementing preventive measures and establishing clear boundaries.


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About Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan is an agronomist horticulture founder of The Garden Style Company and The Garden Style Website. He previously worked for Mondelēz International as an Agronomist Engineer specializing in agricultural products management in highly populated areas. In 2000, Henry started working with farmer-producers in agricultural businesses selling wholesale fresh produce and retail plants in Van Buren, Arkansas. Nowadays, Henry lives in California, where he offers expert consulting services for organic vegetable gardening. As a science writer working with his wife, Julia, Henry shares his passion for gardening and farming, trying to reach and teach as many folks as possible.

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