How & Why

Can Goats Eat Cherry Tree Leaves?

Can goats eat cherry tree leaves? Goats can eat cherry tree leaves. They are not known to be very harmful to the trees, either. The main issue with keeping goats on the property is providing them with plenty of shade, shelter, and protection from predators.

The goat’s diet should be balanced and varied according to season, age, breed of animal and production demands. A range of forage crops including hay or legume hays can provide the necessary fiber requirements necessary for good gut health. The leaves of cherry trees, usually as a supplement to other diets, can provide a source of roughage for goats. In general, the leaves from non-poisonous cherry trees do not pose a great risk to the health of the goats. When feeding cherry tree leaves to another animal or using it as mulch, be sure that the tree is not toxic and that there are no signs of disease present on them before feeding them to your animals.

In the spring, when new growth is being produced on the cherry trees, check the leaves for signs of a worm infestation. If a worm infestation is discovered in a location where the cherry tree grows, avoid feeding it to goats. Worms will cause bloating or swelling of the stomach followed by diarrhea or constipation in goats that eat them.

Feeding cherry tree leaves at the same time of year that they are in bloom is not a bad idea. Just make sure that more than one animal does not eat the same tree at the same time. Cherry trees produce fruit throughout the year, but more extensively in warmer months.

Follow these steps to prepare cherry tree leaves for feeding goats:

1. Cut up all pieces of leaves to approximately the same size pieces as your goats will eat – smaller pieces will cause waste carry-overs.
“2. Place all cut-up leaves in a container and cover with water if necessary.
“3. Place the container in an area of the property where there is access to light and enough fresh air to keep it from becoming soggy. Let the leaves “wilt,” which means let them sit in the water for 7–14 days. This wilting process is necessary to remove any toxic elements and makes it more palatable to your goats.
“4. Remove leaves from the container and feed to your goats.

Cherry tree leaves also can be fed raw or processed. But make sure any cherry trees on the property are not toxic before feeding cherry tree leaves to your goats.”

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