Watercress is one of the underappreciated leafy greens of our kitchens.
It’s tasty, healthy and with great flavor, and yet you just don’t hear it talked about as much as others.
So, while watercress is totally safe for your goats, you shouldn’t be feeding it to them as the main food.
Just an occasional treat, something that will shift up what they’re eating to keep them from getting bored.
Let’s look further into this.
Is watercress good for goats?
Yes, it is, in lots of ways.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, your goat will love watercress, and it will be a great and enjoyable treat for it.
Having a good variety of snacks and treats in their diet does wonders for their overall health, as well as their mood.
So, don’t underestimate this element.
But going beyond that, watercress does have a lot of health benefits for your goat.
For one thing, as a plant, it is a great source of fiber.
Fiber is one of the most important parts of your goat’s diet, and helps to maintain a healthy gut and smooth digestion.
The vitamin content is also really great when it comes to watercress.
They contain large concentrations of vitamin A, C, and K.
Vitamin A is an important nutrient for vision, the division of cells, reproduction, and the immune system.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, and helps to maintain healthy cells throughout the body.
Vitamin K, finally, aids in blood clotting by making various proteins that are required for the process.
Clearly, watercress has great vitamin content.
There is also some amount of mineral content to speak of.
Mostly, watercress contains moderate concentrations of calcium and manganese.
Calcium is important for the strength of muscles and bones, while manganese helps the body to form connective tissues and bones.
It also plays an important role in metabolism.
So, yes, clearly, watercress is extremely good for your goats in a great many different ways.
As ever, though, this comes with important caveats that you need to keep in mind when adding it to their diet.
Is watercress bad for goats?
No, watercress is not bad for goats in itself.
It won’t do them serious harm, and it isn’t poisonous or toxic.
That said, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
As I said, the most important thing is moderation.
You’ve got to carefully regulate how much you give them.
Watercress is relatively complex compared to most of their diet—which should be hay and simple forage.
Watercress is still just a plant, so it’s not as though you are giving them anything too different.
Just remember that watercress is grown with human consumption in mind.
Once or twice a week, at most, is plenty of watercress to give your goats.
Swap it out for other treats during the rest of the week.
This will keep them from getting bored as well as providing the greatest range of beneficial nutrients.
So, no, watercress is not bad for goats.
If eaten in excess, though, it can cause pain, discomfort, and other digestive issues.
Does it need to be prepared, then?
Can goats eat watercress raw?
Yes, goats can eat watercress raw.
This is how most of us eat watercress in most situations, anyway.
The diet you give them should be, as far as possible, the best imitation of what they might eat in the wild.
This means everything they eat should be raw, where possible.
They wouldn’t have access to cooked foods in the wild.
Raw plant matter, in general, is what they prefer anyway.
Watercress is just like something they would forage from a pasture, so there’s no need whatsoever to cook it.
So, yes, goats can and should eat watercress raw.
Cooked watercress isn’t exactly very commonly consumed among people, anyway.
Can goats eat cooked watercress?
Sometimes, the watercress is sautéed.
I would personally avoid feeding this to my goats.
No doubt it will have been cooked in oil or with potentially harmful spices.
There’s no real benefit to giving them cooked watercress, so just let them have it raw.
They will much prefer it this way.
Can goats eat watercress stems?
Yes, goats can eat watercress stems.
They can eat every part of the plant without a problem.
If they couldn’t eat the stems, it’s hard to imagine how they could eat watercress at all.
They aren’t really delicate creatures enough to pull the individual leaves off the stems!
In any case, every part of the watercress plant is totally safe—the leaves, the stems, and even the roots.
None of it is off-limits.
So, yes, watercress is a great treat for your goats that they’re bound to love.
That said, it’s incredibly important that you are very careful of how much they get.
They need an overall very simple diet, and too much of anything even as complex as watercress could be a problem for them.
Once or twice a week, and no more than that—this is plenty for them.
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