Honeysuckle is a fast-growing, semi-evergreen flowering vines are native to eastern United States. Some species are non-invasive while some are invasive. The flowers has sweet nector and popular among the kids.
Can goats eat honeysuckle?
Goats can safely eat honeysuckle. Infact, goats loves eating honeysuckle. Honeysuckle is not a primary food of goats but it work as roughage for them. Since goats are ruminant, they can easily break down the roughage like honeysuckle.
Honeysuckle is a hardy plant and tend to grow in woodland preventing sunlight and moisture reaching to the ground. This can limit the growth of other plants.
Goats can resolve this issue by feeding on the honeysuckle.
Generally, roughage like hay or grass makes the main part of goat’s diet. Hay and grass contain high amount of fibers and low amount of calories which is one of the primary reason why goats eat lot of it.
Goats stomach divided in four chambers and the first chamber has beneficial bacterias that break down the roughage and convers it into something that goat can easily digest. Rest three chambers help goats to digest and absorb the required nutrients from the food.
I prefer providing my goat hay almost 3 to 4 times a day but ocassionally I allow them to feast on vines like honeysuckle.
Nutrional Values of Honeysuckle for Goats
Though goats can eat almost anything, providing them quality forage can help them grow better and stay healthy.
Honeysuckle is a rich source of some potent nutrients like minerals, vitamins, dietary fibers, carbs and anti-oxidants. But its real power for goat comes from the amount protein and total digestible nutrients it provides.
||Crude Protein %|
|Honeysuckle (leaves + buds)||70+||16+|
TDN stands for total digestible nutrients.
Forage that has less than 55% TDN is termed as low quality while the one that has TDN between 55 to 70% is termed good forage for goats. Anything above 70% is termed as concentrated feed.
So, you can see that honeysuckle just got the sweet spot for totally digestible nutrients and a perfect fit for goats and may be the reason why goats naturally loves eating honeysuckle.
Note – If your goats never had a chance to eat honeysuckle and you want to feed them with honeysuckle then begin offering them in small quantity. Once their digestive system gets used to it you can enhance the amount.
Remember, too much of anything can be bad for goats. It can cause bloat in goats if they are not accustomed to eating it.
Is There Anyway Honeysuckle Poisonous to Goats?
Honeysuckel is not poisonous to goats. They can ingest flowers, leaves and plant of honeysuckle without any problem. Berries of honeysuckle have some toxicity when consumed in large quantity but since goats have higher tolerance for toxic material, they can eat the honeysuckle berris in small quantities.
Though toxicity of berries varies as per the species, most species has mildly toxic berries and needs to be consumed in large quantity to show the symptoms of poisoning.
Usually berries grow in pairs and are red in color. Carotenoids in the berries makes them mildly toxic.
Overall, goats love eating honeysuckle but as a goat parent we should remember that anything in excess can cause trouble like bloat and indigestion even when it is good for goats.
How Goats Helping Farmers to Fight Againgst the Invasive Vines?
Every contry has some sort of invasive plants. Usually, invasive plants grow rapidly and needs to be removed by various means.
In last few years, people recognised that goats can be helpful and affordable option to deal with the invasive vines like honeysuckle, bittersweet, multiflora rose and poisen ivy.
Generally, chemicals are used to deal with unwanted plants and vines but using goats can also be an effective way provided that the plant should not be poisonous to goats.
Goats are fastidiuos but continuous eaters and will take over the vines and plants in no time.
Even though they eats the fruits, seeds of plant hardly survive the grinding motion of goats mouth and they get digested in the 4 chambered stomach of goats. This is an added benefits, since seeds get digested in goats digestive system.