“Can goats eat tomato plants?” The answer is a resounding no, as tomato plants are heavily toxic for goats. The plants can make your goats sick and they do not give your goats as many nutrients as other foods to your goats.
Instead of letting your goats eat tomatoes, you should give them other safe and healthy foods. Read this article to learn all that you need to know about goats and tomato plants.
- Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants?
- Why Should Goats Not Eat Tomato Plants?
- How Can You Prevent Your Goats From Eating Your Tomato Plants?
- Which Other Plants Should You Prevent Your Goats from Eating?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Can Goats Eat Tomato Plants?
Goats can but should not eat tomato plants. It is in the Solanaceae or nightshade family. Plants in this family are toxic in their leaves, flowers, stems, and other green parts. The only parts of tomato plants that are safe for eating are their ripened fruits.
Even though goats love to eat plants in your garden, you should not feed them with tomatoes. As soon as you have harvested all your tomato fruits, you should dispose of the plant and not feed them to your farm animals.
Why Should Goats Not Eat Tomato Plants?
Goats should not eat tomato plants because the plants are toxic, as they have the chemical solanine in which is a toxin. Tomato plants are also fuzzy and undesirable. You want to keep your goats from tomatoes so that the goats do not destroy the plants.
– Tomato Plants Are Toxic
The toxicity of tomato plants makes them a NO for goats. When goats eat tomato plants, they will get sick a few days later due to the high dose of solanine – a phytotoxin – in the leaves and branches of the tomato plant. Tomatoes and other plants in the nightshade family have this toxin, so farmers are advised not to feed their farm animals with these plants.
Asides from the toxin, tomato plants are fuzzy and covered in hairs. This quality makes them undesirable for goats, their leaves and other parts will not be easily swallowed and digested. It will be as if your goats are eating something made of wool. This will inevitably make them feel ill.
– The Tomato Plants Cannot Give Goats Enough Nutrients
Tomato plants are not rich in the nutrients the goats need when compared to the proper feed of your goats. Goats grow faster when they eat nutrient-rich pellets, grains, hay, and other foods. Instead of feeding your goats with tomato plants, throw the plants away. If you place them on the compost heap make sure the goats do not have access and they are opportunistic feeders and will eat many different things.
– Goats Can Harm Your Tomatoes
You are most probably growing your tomato plants because you want to harvest sweet fruits someday. If you let the goats get too close to the plants, you may never harvest tomato fruits, as tomato plants do not easily recover from stress. Tomato plants are very picky and delicate, so you must protect them from goats and other pests at all costs.
Tomatoes in their vegetative phase (that is the time when they are growing a lot of leaves) need as many leaves as they can get so that they can become mature to produce flowers and then, in the end, fruits. Goats can prevent your tomatoes from becoming mature.
How Can You Prevent Your Goats From Eating Your Tomato Plants?
You can prevent your goats from eating your tomato plants by separating the plants from the goats with a fence, repelling the goats with safe, home made products, always monitoring the goats, and keeping the goat feed far away from your garden.
– Separate Your Animals and Plants With a Fence
If you have an animal farm and a garden for plants, you want to separate them with a fence so that your farm animals cannot enter the farm without your permission. When goats eat tomato plants on your farm, it means that the animals can enter the farm whenever they like, so it is time that you get things under control.
The fence should be 4 – 6 feet high and made of wood or wire mesh. It should not be an electric fence, as electric fences can hurt your farm animals severely. Ensure that the fence reaches the ground so that the kids do not squeeze themselves into the garden.
– Keep Your Goat Feed Far From the Tomatoes
One reason why animals enter gardens is that they can see their feed in the garden. It does not matter if you left the feed there for them or not, they will always try to eat the feed.
If you keep any feed in your garden, remove it and place it far from the garden. If goats can reach their feed in the garden, that means they can start eating tomatoes in your garden when they are done with the feed.
Are there bird feeders in your garden? Are plants producing fruits in the garden? Just make sure that goats cannot see anything that will attract them to the garden.
– Repel the Goats with Homemade Products
With certain products, you can keep your tomato vines and leaves safe. Here are some homemade products that you can use on your tomato leaves to prevent goats from eating them:
- Hot sauce: Spray hot sauce on your tomato leaves so that the leaves will be too hot for goats to eat and swallow. They will walk away if there is hot sauce on the tomato leaves.
- Garlic: Garlic is also hot and undesirable for goats. You can grind garlic and mix it with water. Spray this mixture on the tomato leaves.
- Soap: Goats hate the taste of soap, so you can spray soapy water on the tomato leaves so that the leaves become distasteful for goats.
– Always Monitor the Movement of Your Goats
After seeing your goats eating tomato plants in your garden, do not stop monitoring their movements. You should always know where your goats are. You can do this by restricting their movement so that they can only be at some selected places in your yard at a particular time. As soon as you see the goats entering your garden or trying to eat tomatoes and other plants from your garden, stop them and take them far away from the garden.
– Ensure that the Goats Return to Their Pen in the Evening
If you are training a lot of goats, you need to monitor their movements and ensure that they return home in time. Goats usually return to their sleeping area at around 5 pm. However, some may stay behind. The ones that stay behind can enter your garden when you are no longer watching, so you must count them all.
Do you have baby goats? Ensure that they are with their mother and they have all returned home so that both the goats and your tomatoes can be safe at night.
Which Other Plants Should You Prevent Your Goats from Eating?
Some other plants that you should prevent your goats from eating so that they do not get sick are eggplants, potatoes, elephant ears, tobacco, and English ivy. If you have these plants in your garden, keep them far from the goat. Ensure that you feed your goats with safe feeds.
- Eggplants: Just like tomatoes, eggplants are in the nightshade family. These plants are toxic in their leaves as well as branches. However, your goats can eat the fruits of the plants.
- Elephant ears: Elephant eats have thick leathery leaves that goats cannot easily digest. Well, goats will instinctively avoid elephant ears. However, you must make sure that they do.
- Potatoes: Potatoes are also in the nightshade family. Potato tubers are also unsafe for goats when they are raw. However, your goats can eat cooked potatoes.
- Tobacco: This plant is also in the nightshade family, so it is unsafe for your goats.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What Happens When Your Goats Eat Tomato Plants?
When your goats eat tomato plants, nothing will happen at first. If they are lucky, especially if they did not eat a lot, they can go without any harmful effects. However, eating too much of the plant can lead to gastrointestinal distress. Your goats may start vomiting and have diarrhea.
Eating too many tomato plants can lead to the death of the goat, but this is very unlikely, as goats do not actively eat tomato plants. Most goats will only eat a few leaves and move to the next plant if they eat tomatoes. However, you must never let this happen.
2. What Should You Do if Your Goats Ate Tomato Plants?
If your goats ate tomato plants, you should, first of all, inform your vet so that they can run necessary checks if possible. After that, continue to watch the goats and report any symptoms that you see. You can allow the goat to continue grazing.
If your goat becomes sick some days after eating the plants, be sure to inform the vet again so that they can give you the right medication. If possible, isolate the goat from other farm animals to keep them safe.
3. Can Your Tomatoes Recover From a Goat Attack?
Tomato plants are very delicate plants that even an attack from a little pest such as an insect can kill them. If the goats ate just some leaves, the plant will recover. However, if many goats feed on it, there is a very low chance that the plant will recover.
Well, you can try to fix the plant. You can fix your tomato plants by removing the damaged leaves and branches. Also, keep the plant in a spot where it can get six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Ensure that you properly water the plants. However, remember that tomato plants do not like wet soil.
4. Can Goats Eat the Fruits of Tomatoes?
Goats can eat the fruits of the tomato. The fruits are sweet, nutritious, and filled with water. However, ensure that your goats do not eat unripe tomatoes. Remember that the green parts of tomato plants are toxic and green tomatoes are a part of the plant.
Well, goats love tomato fruits, but you must note that tomato fruits should just be treats to the goats. You need to feed your goats protein-rich foods such as grains, peanuts, hay, and other materials. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals but have few proteins.
5. Can Goats Eat Dead Tomato Plants?
Goats should not eat dead tomato plants. When the tomato fruit is green it still has toxins in, as discussed, but it diminishes over time. The toxin does not lessen in the rest of the plant, however, and it still remains toxic. Don’t feed any scraps to your goats.
It does not matter if you are growing cherry tomatoes or any very nutritious heirloom tomato, you must keep it safe from your goats.
Here’s what you should remember:
- Tomato plants are toxic, so you must prevent your goats from eating them.
- When goats eat tomato leaves, they can get sick after a few days. Remember to call and inform the vet.
- Feeding tomatoes to your goats is only allowed when they are ripe. Do not feed unripe tomatoes to goats.
- While goats enjoy tomato fruits, only give them tomatoes as treats.
- If your goats are sick after eating tomatoes, try to isolate them from the healthy animals on your farm.
Remember to use the tips in this article to keep your goats from eating tomatoes.
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