The adequate provision of feed to livestock is under threat from continuous droughts and exorbitant grain prices. Hence, the increasing demand for readily available feed alternatives. Over the past few years, agricultural research has been focused on finding new unconventional feed resources that can be used to supplement grain feed. The demand for new feed resources has been intensified by the ban placed on some synthetic products used to manage livestock; they are said to leave residues that can be harmful to consumers. As such, the agricultural community is increasingly seeking for healthier means of improving productivity. Bananas are highly famed for their nutritional value thus have been considered as a solution.

Can Goats Eat Bananas?

About 30% to 40% of the total banana production is rejected for failing to meet quality standards and can therefore be made available as livestock feed. Goats can feed on banana wastes such as damaged bananas, banana peels, leaves, young stalks and pseudo stems. Fresh banana fruits may be ensiled with molasses, grass, legumes, rice bran and grain among other feed sources. Goats can eat bananas in order to supplement their feed, absorb nutrients necessary for growth, health and productivity as well as to gain some form of tolerance against oxidative stress hereby minimising the use of synthetic products. Bananas are a rich source of carbohydrates, protein, sugar and vitamins, particularly A, B1, B2, and C along with other nutrients. They also consists of potassium, magnesium, selenium, phosphorus and iron. Minerals present in trace amounts include calcium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium. Goats are commendable browsers; they are able to keep themselves in reasonable condition in spite of hash weather conditions. None the less, if they are to be productive there is need for a well-balanced feed hence the need for these nutrients. That being said, goats can eat bananas provided they only make up part of the feed. It is not advisable to replace grain and hay feed with bananas, instead, they should only be used in limited quantities.  This is because they cannot solely sustain the nutrients requirements of animals. Bananas can be used up to approximately 30%. Slightly higher amounts do not have adverse effects towards health and productivity. Note that in spite of this fact, farmers should strictly follow the recommended limits. Excess use of banana supplements can possibly affect the health of goats and lower productivity.

Banana supplements for milk production

Goods need a sufficient supply of nutrients so as to produce high milk yields. Therefore, goats can feed on bananas in order to acquire energy and proteins as well as other nutrients required for milk production. Goats that feed on bananas produce milk at an early age compared to their counterparts. The milk produced is usually of superior quality and plentiful. This is attributed to the provision of sufficient nutrients including trace elements. A deficiency is trace elements lowers production over time. Pregnant and lactating goats require an increased supply of feed, usually about twice the usual amount in order to produce more milk. Without an adequate supply of sodium, calcium and phosphorous, goats will eventually lose appetite thereby drastically decreasing production. Lactating goats can eat bananas so as to get enough vitamins for milk production. Bananas also include high energy levels which are important in maintaining animal reserves therefore improving on productivity. Note that once the reserves are affected, it is difficult to raise milk production. Farmers should make sure that bananas are mixed with a complimentary feed else they risk the productivity of their harvest.

Bananas supplements for physiological development

Banana supplements are essential in providing goats with energy needed for physiological development. An adequate energy feed allows for faster growth and improved weight gain which translates to increased production. Furthermore, the trace elements available in banana feed acts as antioxidant agents which protect the animals from health issues; as a result, goats are able to grow at a faster rate. Trace elements not only help to maintain and regulate the bodily functions, but they also strengthen the teeth and bones. A lack of trace minerals will lead to a poor appetite, a dull coat, poor growth and reduced fertility. Bananas are also made up of fat which provides animals with up to 3 times as much energy as carbohydrate meals. Therefore, goats can feed on bananas so as to absorb the fat needed for weight gain. Goats that feed on banana tend to grow faster and weigh more than those without a banana induced diet, and so have a higher market value. Bananas are a rich source of protein needed for growth, building up body fat, and for the essential bodily functions. Although the goat protein requirements are provided by its own digestive system, it is not enough for effective productivity. As such, goats can eat bananas as a means to supplement their protein intake.

Banana supplements for health improvement

Health is a big part of animal husbandry. Ill goats have very low productivity and sometimes it can even stop. Hence the importance of maintaining animal health. Goats can feed on bananas in order to keep healthy. Vitamins allow goats to have some form of resistance against diseases. They also help with growth, breathing and digestion of animals. Lack of vitamin A results in eye disorders, skin ailments (flaking and growths) as well as breathing and digestive problems. A poor supply of vitamins in pregnant goats results in a weak off-spring. Trace minerals such as iron found in bananas are important in maintaining health and productivity. Lack of iron causes on anaemia. It can be detected by seeing if the skin and membranes under the eyelids are pale in colour.  Bananas contain minerals that protects animals from oxidation. For this reason, goats can eat bananas so as to be protected against oxidative stress. Oxidation has a negative impact on meat taste, colour and texture. Farmers control oxidation by means of synthetic products. These are however being frowned upon due to their negative effect on consumers; adoption of banana supplements is an effective way to manage this problem.  In order to maintain animal health and make them harder, goats can eat bananas though according to specified amounts. An excess feed does not improve production, instead, it has the opposite effect. Farmers should therefore strictly adhere to the stated recommendations.