There are many categories of domestic animals, where farmers are well informed about the use of raw potatoes in animal nutrition and actively use it.
Is it possible to give goats raw potatoes? Many farmers have come to the conclusion that it is not only possible but necessary, so yes, goats can eat raw potatoes. Goats are first-class consumers and they are very happy to eat raw potatoes. At the same time, according to farmers, not only does milk production increase with the use of potatoes, but it also improves its properties. It becomes tastier and richer, due to the substances contained in potatoes, and the fat content in milk also increases.
Potato tubers are good for goats primarily for their nutritional value. 100 g of raw potato contains:
Raw potatoes contain a lot of dietary fiber, fiber, and starch. These substances are necessary for the beneficial development of microflora in the stomach section, which is called the scar. In it, the fermentation of the eaten food happens.
This product is a source of important vitamins for goats, like groups B and E.
The listed vitamins regulate metabolism and digestion and have a positive effect on the function of internal organs. They are necessary for the reproductive function of goats.
There are also salts in potato tubers with the following elements necessary for a well-functioning metabolism:
In 100 g of raw potatoes are present up to 10-18 g of starch. It breaks down very quickly compared to simple sugars, which has a positive effect on the quantity and quality of milk. The content of water, vitamins, mineral salts, and carbohydrates from the crusts of potatoes makes them healthy food for lactating goats. In its raw form, the vegetable is an excellent forage for healthy milk.
It is especially useful to feed raw tubers in the autumn-winter period after the end of the grazing season. However, despite its benefits, you do not have to feed a domestic goat with just raw and boiled potatoes. This can make it obese and lead to hormonal disruptions.
There is an opinion among goat breeders that potato starch can clog the goat’s milk ducts. This is nothing but a myth. In this regard, raw potatoes are absolutely harmless.
Choose healthy tubers for goat food. They must not show signs of rotting and mechanical damage. If during harvest, violation of the rules of storage or in the second half of winter, the peel on the potatoes turned green, then in this case you need to remember that this is a sure sign of the accumulation of a poisonous compound, solanine.
Potatoes, like all plants in the Solanaceae family, produce poisonous alkaloid solanine to protect themselves against pests. Entering the body in large quantities, this substance leads to the disruption of vital processes and sometimes can be lethal for the animal.
There is especially a lot of solanine in the green parts of the soil, countertops, and fruits – berries that appear instead of flowers. However, in tubers, solanine is contained in minimal and non-hazardous amounts for animals and humans. If you follow a few simple rules when feeding goats with fresh tubers, then this product will not harm them.
To feed domestic goats with potatoes, you need to properly prepare the tubers. During the first 4-5 months after harvest, when stored correctly, the potatoes do not turn green and do not sprout. Before feeding the goats, the tubers should be thoroughly washed. If there are damaged areas or signs of rot, then they are carefully cut with a knife, so that only the healthy areas will remain.
By the end of winter or spring, tubers begin to sprout. Before feeding the animals, all the sprouts are carefully broken, as they contain an increased amount of solanine. If the potatoes turn green, then the peel should be removed, by cutting it with a thick layer to a light pulp for the same reason (a large amount of solanine).
If you give whole raw tubers to goats, then, probably, it is unlikely to be of any interest to them or any other animal because they can suffocate on them. They should be cut right before feeding. It is usually enough to cut the small potatoes into two halves, and the large potatoes into 4-6 parts. Some animals gladly eat potatoes sprinkled with salt and mixed with food.
This process will not take long, as 3-4 medium-sized tubers per day are enough for a goat. It is impossible to chop potatoes for future use, because they get dark, and lose their succulence and nutritional value.
One of the negative aspects to be taken into account when used in animal nutrition is the content of solanine in potatoes, a 0,01% toxic glycoside, which can increase to 0,5% in sun-exposed or cornered potatoes. Avoiding the toxic effect of solanine can be done by breaking the tusks and removing the water in which they boiled.
Potato poisoning occurs due to the excessive consumption of raw potatoes, rotten potatoes, and sprouted potatoes, but also from the use of the water in which they are boiled. The symptoms of intoxication depend on the amount of solanine ingested and are manifested by digestive disorders, local paralysis or posterior train, disorders of breathing and blood circulation, rash or eczema at the base of the tail, on the limbs, around the nipples, and often can be lethal.
In case of intoxication, remove the potatoes from the goats’ diet and replace them with fibrous or concentrated food, administer vomitive and oily purgatives, and stomach washes with solutions containing tannin, while calling for the competent support of the veterinarian.
To feed the goats in winter and spring, in places where the potato is grown in large areas, the best results are obtained by using potatoes of late varieties, whose starch content is over 30%. However, this high starch content makes them sensitive to storage, which requires strict compliance with the conservation technology, being considered optimal at a temperature of 3-5°C in silos or storage spaces.
However, one of the safest ways to feed goats with raw potatoes is to wait until the potatoes sprout a lot. The germs leave all the supposed poison, so the potatoes become completely safe to be offered to goats.
While raw potatoes are healthy, they shouldn’t be the main food for domestic goats. Even though tubers are present in the daily menu of animals, hay and tree branches should always be available in high amounts in their diet.