Stories abound about beer-guzzling goats, and you may be wondering if your sick goat could benefit from a cold one.
Goats can safely drink beer if they aren’t given more than one or two beers a day. Dark beers contain grains, essential vitamins and minerals, and probiotics to help sick or tired goats replenish their energy.
What are the benefits of feeding beer to goats, and how do you administer it?
Keep reading to find out.
Is It Safe for a Goat to Drink Beer?
Beer is made by fermenting and brewing grains and adding yeast, flavoring, and hops.
Luckily, all these ingredients are safe for goats.
Grains, the main ingredient in beer, comprise around 20% of a goat’s diet.
Some beers use only one type of grain, while others use a combination.
The main types of grains used in beer are barley, wheat, rice, corn, oats, and rye.
Yeast can act as a probiotic, which is great for digestive help, and hops are also used as a digestive agent in traditional Chinese medicine.
If your goat goes off their feed, beer’s extra calories and digestion help could perk them up.
Farmers have been giving dark beer to their ailing goats, sheep, cows, horses, and other farmyard creatures for centuries.
As long as you’re making sure they’re also getting enough clean drinking water; they should be fine.
Beer is not a water replacement.
Like humans, drinking too much alcohol at a young age can hinder development.
Discuss this with your veterinarian before giving beer to a baby or pregnant goat.
Benefits of Beer for Goats
While beer isn’t known for its health benefits, it contains a few minerals and vitamins your goat needs.
This extra boost can restore their energy and help them feel better.
- Vitamin B12 prevents anemia and keeps the blood and nerve cells healthy.
- Iron is essential for red blood cells transporting oxygen and an immune system function.
- Copper helps with forming connective tissues and energy production and metabolism.
- Phosphorous filters waste and repairs tissue and cells.
- Zinc boosts your immune function, is essential for development, and helps heal wounds.
- Magnesium lowers blood pressure, increases energy levels, and improves muscle movement.
If your goat isn’t eating enough, it also needs extra calories.
This varies by beer, but most dark beers pack 125 to 250 calories in a serving, with some in the 300s.
However, keep a close eye on the alcohol content.
A higher ABV typically means a higher calorie count, but your goal here isn’t to get your goat drunk.
Additionally, another one of the benefits for goats is beer helping release gas and ease bowel movements if your goat is struggling with bloating or indigestion.
What Type of Beer for Goats?
Are all beers equal?
Should you feed your goat your favorite cold craft beer?
The answer is no.
Dark beer contains more vitamins than lighter amber types.
This is because they get their dark color from the malt, where most of the vitamins are found.
Guinness stout beer is the most common for medicinal purposes, especially by Irish horse trainers, because of the probiotic yeast.
It also contains a high amount of malted barley.
Other goat owners have reported success with Bock, a German-style of beer with a translation of “billy goat.”
This strong lager is full of malt, making it a good choice for your ailing goat.
There are numerous types of beer at the store.
As long as you go with something dark and full of vitamins, it will help your goat.
You don’t need extra money for a fancy craft beer, as goats are less picky about the flavor.
How to Feed Your Goat Beer
Now you have your Guinness, Bock, or other dark beer in hand, so it’s time to feed it to your goat.
Even though you most likely prefer a cold beer, your beer-drinking goat will thank you for one at room temperature.
This makes it easier for them to drink and digest.
Additionally, let the beer go flat.
The foam makes it harder for your goat to drink it.
Give your goat a full dose of beer in the morning.
If they are still not feeling well later in the afternoon, give them another one.
Their First Drink
Goats who haven’t had a beer before need a proper introduction.
Buy a rubber nipple, like one used to feed baby livestock, and cut the tip a little bigger.
A half-inch circle should be big enough for your goat to drink from.
Either put the nipple on the beer bottle or add the beer to a feeding bottle.
Slowly give your goat a sip, making sure they have enough time to swallow in between.
If your goat feels lethargic, it might not be interested in drinking.
In this case, use a dose syringe or catheter-tip veterinary syringe to administer the beer.
It will have to be flat to use the syringe, as the foam will prevent it from being properly drawn into the syringe.
Goats Who Like Beer
Once your goat has tasted it, they might like it enough to drink it on their own.
In this case, pour the beer into a bowl or pail and let them drink at their own pace.
You may be surprised how quickly they take to it!
Can a Goat Get Drunk?
Yes, a goat can get drunk.
Alcohol works similarly on goats as it does on humans.
As alcohol enters the body, the liver starts breaking it down.
If your goat consumes alcohol faster than the metabolism rate, it will get drunk.
How much beer your goat can drink without getting drunk depends on the alcohol content and the size of your goat.
A larger goat will have a higher tolerance than a smaller one.
If your goat somehow gets into your beer stash, figure out how much they drank.
Two beers are not an immediate cause for concern; they can sleep it off.
However, take them to your vet if they exhibit signs of alcohol poisoning.