Feeding your goats a healthy, balanced diet requires extensive research and care.
If you’re a new goat owner or simply looking for ways to enhance your goat’s diet, consider adding beet pulp into their feeding schedule.
Beet pulp is a great feed supplement in a goat’s diet because it’s an excellent source of fiber and calcium. It can’t replace hay or grains, but it can help round out the nutrient profile of your goat’s food. Beet pulp is available in two forms: pellets and shreds.
Read on to learn about the nutrients in beet pulp, potential additives, the forms available for purchase, and how they compare to other options.
Can Goats Eat Beet Pulp?
Beet pulp is a byproduct of extracting sugar from sugar beets.
This byproduct is then dried, processed into shreds or pellets, and packaged for animal food.
Because it’s a byproduct, it’s relatively cheap and can ease the financial burden of feeding your animals.
Goats, horses, sheep, and cattle can eat beet pulp.
Since it’s considered a forage food, it’s a supplement to a healthy, balanced diet. It is not a complete diet by itself.
Nutrition of Beet Pulp
Beet pulp is full of nutrients and other valuable energy for your goat. However, you must consider the full nutritional content and your goat’s health before using it as supplemental feed.
Beet pulp contains high levels of easily digestible fiber and is low in sugar. While this is good for every goat, other nutritional properties of beet pulp are great for nursing dairy goats. It’s high in calcium and full of calories, extra energy, and fiber.
Before feeding it to your goat, consider their body weight.
If they need extra weight, it’s a good way to help your goat add pounds.
An overweight goat shouldn’t have beet pulp added to its existing diet.
Beet pulp contains a higher amount of calcium than phosphorous, which can cause urinary calculi in wethers (male goats castrated before puberty).
This painful condition should be considered before feeding your wether beet pulp.
More information on the components of beet pulp is in the table below.
|Starch +Ethanol Soluble Carbohydrates
Molasses in Beet Pulp
To add sweetness and encourage consumption, many brands of beet pulp will add molasses.
Some goats will refuse to eat pulp without the added flavor.
However, high amounts of sugar aren’t good for goats and can cause issues.
If your goat eats too much molasses, and therefore sugar, over an extended period, it can mess with the pH level in a goat’s rumen, leading to rumen acidosis and depletion of B vitamins.
In addition to sugar, molasses also contains iron.
Too much iron in a goat’s system can impair their copper level, especially if they already have a copper deficiency.
Because of all these reasons, you don’t want to feed your goats too much molasses.
Look for brands of beet pulp with lower amounts of molasses or ones without any added.
If your goat refuses to eat pulp without any molasses, add a small amount yourself to get the right amount for your furry friend.
Beet Pulp Shreds Vs. Beet Pulp Pellets
There are two forms of this food supplement available: shredded and pellets.
Shreds are thin strips, and they’re approximately 0.5″ inches to 0.75″ inches long.
Pellets are compact, hard, and sometimes large.
Both are good supplements for your goat’s feed.
We’ll cover the differences between shredded and pellet pulp below.
Consider what is best for your goat and situation.
If anything, put out both forms at feeding time and see which one your goat likes best.
Some people prefer the shredded version because it’s easier to chew and swallow compared to compact pellets.
This dehydrated product is available both with or without molasses.
Shreds might be the way to go if you’re concerned about the sugar content in your goat’s diet.
When considering shredded or pellet beet pulp, decide how much storage space you currently have or can realistically have.
Shredded pulp is not as compact as the pellet version, so it requires larger storage space.
To make pellets, shreds are compressed together.
A small amount of molasses is used to bind the pellet together.
It’s a small amount, though, so it doesn’t affect the caloric content of the food.
Since pellets are hard, they are typically soaked in water before being fed to animals like horses, but this isn’t necessary for goats.
Some animal owners are concerned about the possibility of choking on non-soaked pellets, but goats can easily eat without choking.
If you decide to soak your pellets, mix one part pulp with two parts water and let soak for 30 minutes in hot water or one hour in cold water.
Water should be available to your goat if you feed them dry food.
When factoring in the initial cost and how long it lasts, pellets are cheaper than the shredded form.
They are also easier to store because of their compact size.
Beet Pulp vs. Other Feed Options
Other food and grain mix options to add to your goat’s diet.
When considering new additional forages, check the total amount of nutrients, minerals, fats, proteins, and sugars in everything you feed your goat.
Three of the most common options fed to goats are alfalfa, oats, and barley.
- Alfalfa pellets contain high levels of protein and vitamins, but the digestible fiber in alfalfa isn’t as high.
- Oats also contain higher protein levels, but sugar beet pulp is a better calcium and fiber source.
- Barley has high levels of fat and fiber, but it doesn’t have as much protein as the other animal feed options.
All of these work in combination with each other.
Consider your goat’s body condition and tailor a balanced, well-rounded diet for them.
You might find your lactating doe does best with beet pulp, while your wether prefers oats.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?