I have often wondered if pine cones are suitable food for animals. During Christmas, pine cones are one of the most common decorative items.
Then again, these cones are not entirely inedible. If you remove the scales, you can access the seeds that various animals and birds can consume.
I have a friend who owns a farm where he breeds several animals; among them, he has quite a few goats, and here is what I learned about goats eating pine cones.
Goats do eat pine cones because they’re not picky eaters and although pine cones have a tough outer covering, goats can easily bite into them, but rather than cracking them open to only access the seeds, goats will eat the entire pine cone, including the scales.
Can goats eat coulter pine cones?
The coulter pine cone is edible for goats. It is natural to feel concerned if you find your pet goat chewing on one of the giant pine cones.
The coulter pine tree is one of the most common conifer trees in the US, and goats have been eating the cones of this tree for ages!
Hence, you need not be worried if you see that your goat is trying to chew on the cones of the coulter pine.
It is just that your pet goat might have a tough time managing the brown cone, given its massive size.
Can a kid eat a pine cone?
Baby goats or kids shouldn’t eat pine cones because of the outer scaly layer since their digestive system hasn’t developed to the point where it can process this type of fodder without health issues arising.
Kids can be given fruits and vegetables to help them build strong bones and robust immune systems. However, you should avoid giving them pine cones.
Dry and hard pine cones can be difficult for the baby goats to chew, and you will find that the kid does not take to these easily.
Moreover, green cones are hard to come by; hence, you should avoid giving baby goats pine cones.
Baby goats are an essential part of livestock and if you are wondering about the food you need to give them, you should listen to what your local veterinarian suggests.
Are pine cones safe for goats?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Goats are among the few animals that can eat brown cones without adverse effects.
Goats are voracious eaters, and they will eat almost anything. If you give pine cones to goats, you will find that they will eat this whole.
Goats have strong jaws, and they can break fresh pine cones easily. However, goats tend to avoid hard and dry pine cones since they can hurt their jawbone.
Unlike other creatures like squirrels and chipmunks, goats do not try to break open the cones to only access the seeds. Instead, they will eat the cones whole along with the scales.
Are pine cones beneficial to goats?
Pine cones are pretty healthy for goats and pine nuts themselves contain protein, fiber, phosphorus, and iron. All of which are needed to build a robust immune system.
Pine cones also have magnesium and calcium, which are necessary to build strong bones and teeth.
In addition, the zinc in pine nuts has been found to have a great impact on hoof health in goats.
Thus, pine cones contain vitamins and minerals necessary for goats. If you want your pet goat to be healthy, you can include pine cones in its diet.
Do goats living in the wild eat pine cones?
Yes, wild goats eat pine cones. Goats are not particular about the food they eat. They will eat grass, leaves, and even the bark of trees.
It has been observed that goats can easily bite into pine cones even though they have a tough outer covering.
The pine cones are also quite nutritious for the goats. Hence, in the wild, pine cones are a welcome change for the goats from the regular food they eat.
The pine cones and needles are consumed by wild goats voraciously as this is a major source of nutrition for the animal, especially when food is scarce.
Are there any particular species of pine cones that are harmful to goats?
Although goats can digest most species of pine cones, you shouldn’t give them cones from exotic conifer trees.
Sometimes these cones can have minerals or chemicals that can be mildly toxic to the goats.
If your pet goat inadvertently consumes the cone of an exotic pine tree, you need not worry because the cone’s toxicity will not have a lasting effect on your pet.
A goat’s digestive system is sufficiently strong to remove these chemicals from its system.
However, if you see that your pet goat is not recovering from the effects of the pine cone, you will need to take it to the veterinarian.
Are there any precautions that you need to take when you give a goat pine cone used for Christmas?
Yes, there are certain precautions that you need to take before you give your pet goat a pine cone you have used as a Christmas decoration.
For example, if you have spray painted the pine cone, you cannot use it as goat fodder because the paint chemicals can prove dangerous for the goat.
Similarly, if the cone has become extremely hard and dry, you should dispose of it instead of giving it to your goat.
Hard and dry cones can damage the teeth and hurt the jawbone of your pet goat.
Should goats be taken to graze in pine forests?
If you are thinking of free-range animals, grazing is essential.
You can take your goats to graze in pine forests without worry because the pine cones and needles on the forest floor will be a nutritious diet for your animals.
Hence, taking the goats from your farm to graze in the pine forests is always a good idea.
Can goats which are a part of livestock eat pine needles?
Pine needles are pretty healthy for goats and can benefit their overall health.
Similarly, it can help goats with digestive disorders and provide roughage.
However, it would be best if you only remembered to limit the amount and make it a part of its fodder.
When you give pine needles to your livestock goat you need to ensure that these are extracted properly from the branches and are mixed with the fodder that you give regularly.
Want to learn more about what animals eat pine cones? Check out our article covering the topic.