How to Feed Goats Mulberry Tree Leaves
Although many people aren’t aware of it, goats actually prefer to consume "browse" (the leaves and shoots on trees or shrubs) rather than grass. This diet preference makes nonpoisonous tree greenery an ideal forage source for your goats, especially mulberry tree leaves, which are high in crude protein, a food ingredient essential to your goat’s health. Whether you have one beloved goat pet or a herd of 30 commercial meat goats, feeding mulberry tree leaves to your goat is a simple, easy feeding option that you can use to reduce your annual feeding costs.
Locate mulberry trees for your goats. Mulberry trees grow well in the United States; in fact, according to the California Rare Fruit Growers, the white mulberry is actually considered a weed tree in certain areas of the United States. Friends or relatives with mulberry trees on their property should be more than willing to allow you to harvest leaves. If you don’t have access to mulberry trees, consider contacting your local county cooperative extension office to see if there are any 4-H horticulture groups in your area that might be able to help you locate some of the trees.
Harvest mulberry tree leaves for your goats. Use a pair of tree shears to trim off leaf-laden twigs and branches. Try not to shear off any branches that are more than 1 inch in diameter in order to minimize damage to the tree. Collect the branches and take them to your goat pasture or exercise pen.
Give the mulberry tree leaves to your goats. Don’t bother stripping the leaves from the branches, since your goats will enjoy nibbling on the mulberry tree bark as well. Scatter the branches along the inside of your fence line in a long row so all your goats have access to the leaves; goats are notoriously pushy when it comes to eating, so you want to make sure they all get some leaves.
Monitor your goats as they consume the mulberry tree leaves. All the leaves should be gone from the branches by the end of the day. If not, just leave the branches in the pen for another 24 hours to give your goats enough time to finish eating the mulberry leaves.
Remove the mulberry tree branches from your goat pen. The exposed ends of the branches might cause eye injuries if you leave them in the pen for too long. If you have a compost pile, consider adding the branches to your compost; break the branches into smaller pieces before you add them to the pile so they break down more quickly.
- Mulberry trees
- Tree shears