Giving snacks to livestock is exceptionally tricky!
Our animals’ stomachs are sensitive, and it’s hard to tell what types of human foods they can tolerate.
We never want to risk our sheep or other animals by feeding them meat, fruits, or vegetables they shouldn’t have.
On the other hand, there are some snacks we eat with wonderful health benefits!
Ensuring your animals keep a healthy diet doesn’t mean treating them is bad.
Sheep treats for adult sheep are a little different than you’d expect.
A wide variety of vegetables and other natural foods are great options for giving your farm animals a special treat.
But a vegetarian diet isn’t all your animals need.
Some vegetables aren’t good for them!
Even those considered safe should be introduced slowly.
Always watch your animals for signs of an adverse reaction when giving them a new type of feed.
So, let’s look at the content of some of our favorite veggies to give to sheep.
Easy to chew and digest, carrots are a great place to start!
It’s best to give them to your animals in small pieces to ensure they don’t choke on them.
A grated carrot works well here.
But this vegetable’s crunchy texture is part of what makes sheep love it so much!
(Cooked carrots aren’t ideal.)
The stipulation here is: fresh carrots are best.
Even the carrot tops make for a tasty and healthy treat.
Some people will give their herd cooked or canned carrots.
This isn’t always a bad thing.
But sometimes, it means your animals are ingesting more than just the vegetable.
Canned vegetables often contain preservatives or sugars, which aren’t conducive to a healthy animal.
If you don’t want to serve your livestock animals raw carrots, cook them yourself and keep it simple.
The vitamins, antioxidants, and high fiber content in carrots will benefit your sheep by benefiting their digestive systems and taste buds!
When I was young, I used to pick big handfuls of lettuce from my mother’s garden and throw them over the fence to our lambs and chickens.
It was always a big hit!
I didn’t know back then how beneficial lettuce is to ruminants’ health.
For one thing, this vegetable is easy on a sheep’s digestive tract.
Much like carrots, lettuce is high in nutrients.
But it also has high water content, which makes it an especially healthy snack for your farm animals.
Vegetables with high water content are also more likely to decrease your sheep’s appetite, so don’t feed them too much!
Another pro of feeding your sheep lettuce is how inexpensive it is!
Buying mineral blocks and specially formulated treats is a great way to break the bank.
However, treats like lettuce and carrots are much more affordable.
While it isn’t a straight vegetable, beet pulp is a form of vegetable matter. It makes a very healthy treat for your animals with lots of benefits.
It’s a rich source of energy for your sheep and other livestock because of the natural sugar it contains.
Beet pulp also boasts plenty of fiber, which makes it less likely to cause digestive upset than other treats.
Another crunchy veggie your sheep will enjoy is celery.
Just as with carrots, it’s essential to slice the celery into small pieces for your animal’s safety.
But they’ll love munching down on celery stalks.
If you grow this vegetable yourself, be sure to only give your sheep the green part!
They should not have access to the seeds or bulb.
Also, use this only as an occasional treat. While celery is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, it is only a supplement to richer feed.
If your sheep eat too much of it, they could become sick.
This is also another vegetable with high water content, making it a healthy snack to feed only in moderation.
Corn makes great feed for sheep, though it shouldn’t be their main fuel source.
It ranks high among treats for sheep because of its caloric content and digestibility.
Some ruminants have a hard time digesting corn.
But sheep have pretty amazing digestive systems and can eat corn in higher amounts than some animals.
This is an especially good treat if you’re growing it in your garden, as your sheep will happily eat the corn and the husks and stalks.
As with all the other treats on this list, this vegetable must be given in moderation to your happy, healthy sheep.
Related Reading: What sheep eat and how often they need to eat
Broccoli and Cauliflower
These vegetables aren’t ideal snacks for sheep.
But they do make good treats on occasion.
These food items are high in fiber and contain plenty of nutrients.
But they have been known to cause diarrhea and other digestive problems when eaten excessively.
It’s especially important to feed your animals these foods in moderation.
If you have access to some of the other veggies on this list, reach for those first.
Pumpkin and Squash
This might surprise you, but pumpkins are wonderful for your ruminants.
Just as cows enjoy pumpkin, so do sheep.
Pumpkins are high in fiber and vitamin A, which means they’re relatively easy on the digestive tract.
We recommend you take the time to prepare this vegetable properly before feeding it to your animals, though.
Cut it up into easily edible chunks, and make sure you take out the seeds.
This will minimize the risk of your sheep choking, though it isn’t likely they will anyway.
Other types of squash come with benefits and setbacks.
But they always need to be prepared the same way for safety reasons.
Just as with carrots, we recommend you serve these veggies fresh instead of from a can.
Keeping added preservatives and sugars out of your farm animals’ diets is always best!
You also need to remember that all these vegetables are merely treats to give your pet sheep or larger herd every once in a while.
A sheep needs to eat primarily hay with the right balance of fiber and nutrients to maintain good digestive healthy and high energy levels.
Have fun letting your animals test out new foods.
But don’t get carried away!