Can Goats Eat Corn Husks?

Goats are pretty easy animals to take care of once you find the proper routine and diet to follow. 

Part of raising goats includes knowing what foods to avoid and knowing which foods are best to feed them, and this leads goat owners to wonder: can goats eat the leftover corn husks?

Goats can eat corn husks. However, just like most things in life, moderation is key to sustaining healthy goats. It should not make up more than 50% of their grain diet. Corn husk is mainly recommended for pregnant or milking goats and goats raised for consumption more than for pets.

Keep reading on to learn about exactly how many corn cobs to include in your goat’s daily diet.

can goats eat corn husks

How Much Corn Husk Can Goats Eat?

By now, we know goats can eat corn husks in moderation, but how much corn husk is considered okay?

Giving goats corn husks should not make up more than 50% of their diet because too much grain can cause acidosis in a goat.

Acidosis is a carb fermentation disorder that occurs in goats when the pH of the rumen in the goat’s stomach becomes too acidic. 

Goats have a complex ruminant digestive system: a stomach with four separate chambers called the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. 

The rumen is the first chamber of a goat’s stomach and begins to partly digest all food using bacteria in the stomach before transferring it to the second chamber.

Giving goats corn husks is safe; however, the corn cobs should slowly be introduced into their diet, alongside their everyday foods, to prevent any digestion issues. 

They can eat corn husk thanks to goats’ need for grain in their diet, which is what corn itself is considered.

A good rule of thumb to follow if corn husk is added to your goats’ diet is to split the normal grain amount in half and replace it with the corn husk. 

On average, the maximum recommended amount of daily grain feed for an adult goat should be 1 pound daily. 

So if you plan to allow your goats to feed on corn husks, it should be no more than ½ a pound daily, along with ½ pound of standard grain. 

For baby goats, the maximum amount of grain per day should not exceed ½ a pound, including the use of corn husk.

It may not sound yummy to us, but these guys love dry corn stalks. 

The smell of corn makes them excited.

It’s sweet, tasty, and full of nutritional benefits.

If they can even get a kernel of corn, they’ll love it. 

What Does A Proper Diet For Goats Consist Of?

Thanks to their elaborate digestive systems, goats can eat a little bit of everything. 

Just because goats can eat everything, it does not mean they should, so a healthy diet is essential.

Don’t give your goats constant access to corn husks.  

A sustainable diet for goats should consist of various hay/alfalfa, grains, and feeds as needed to ensure the goats are receiving the necessary proteins, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Adult goats need to eat two to four pounds of hay/alfalfa daily, while pregnant goats and those farmed for consumption may require a little more. 

One pound of grain should be enough and can include at most ½ a pound of corn husk.

It is essential your goats also have access to clean drinking water 24/7, as they need to drink water daily, although goats tend to be stubborn about it.

Related: Can a goat drink too much water?

Consider incorporating chaffhaye into their diet, which is pre-maturely cut grass or alfalfa, soaked in molasses and creates healthy bacteria that are excellent for the goat’s ruminant digestive system.

The exact amount a goat should eat daily can vary depending on if the goat is pregnant, used for milking purposes, or used food consumption, as well as depends on how often roaming your goats get.

What Else Can You Do With Corn Husk?

The easiest way to use up any remaining corn husk you may have is to feed it to one of your other animals! 

Other animals good for eating corn husks include horses, chickens, sheep, and cattle, although I suggest researching the exact amount recommended for each animal.

Another way to repurpose corn husk is to use the remaining corn husk in your next soup or stock, wrap it over a piece of fish to steam it, or even make tamales a go, which is meat or dough steamed in the corn husk.

If cooking is not your thing, just take things right back to the garden, and use the leftover corn husks as mulch for your next green thumb adventure. 

Corn cobs will provide the soil with many nutrients and decompose easily in the soil. 

Throw some cob pieces into the mix to add in extra nutrients if you want. 

What Should Goats Not Consume?

Yes, goats can eat corn stalks and husks, but only in moderation due to health risks arising from overconsumption. 

I am sure this makes you wonder what other foods are harmful to your goats. 

There are various foods harmful to these fur mammals, so please avoid all listed and do your research when in doubt. 

However, here is a list of foods goats cannot and should not consume. 

This list is not all-inclusive, so please follow a solid, balanced, natural diet for your goats.

GarlicCitrusCherry TreesBlue-Green AlgaeLilies
OnionsBuckwheatFlax PlantOak LeafRed Root Hay
ChocolateCastor BeanMilkweedKalePotatoes
Coffee Beans (Coffee)NightshadeMilk ThistleElderberryBracken Fern

Just a reminder, this does not include every single toxic item known for goats, but it can work as a good running list.  

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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