Goats have an excellent digestive system that allows for the digestion of variety feeds including bushy and weedy plants.  Superior to most ruminants, their nutritional requirements can sufficiently be met by forage dietary plans. However, with the increase in goat production, feed demand has skyrocketed. Now more than ever, livestock maintenance and production is of the essence in ensuring an agricultural venture. This is often achieved through the use of feed supplements and additives. Investigations are therefore being made on whether goats can eat broccoli so as to improve on performance thereby giving farmers a competitive advantage in the agricultural industry. Results indicate that goats can feed on broccoli without negatively impacting on sustenance.

Nutritional Value

Broccoli is a popular vegetable worldwide. It is highly famed for its nutritional benefits to human diets. Studies have revealed that goats can eat broccoli as well so as to acquire nutrients that are essential for improved production.Broccoli is said to be a nutritional powerhouse full of protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. It consists of vitamins A, B9 (Folate), C and K. It is also a rich source of trace minerals including potassium, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and magnesium. As such, goats can feed on broccoli which is rich in nutrients and minerals that are crucial for blood synthesis, hormone structure, normal reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation, and immune system integrity.

An important point to note is that knowledge of nutritional value of the feed stuff versus that of livestock is of the utmost importance when providing new supplements. As such, farmers should keep in mind that broccoli should not be used to replace staple feed. It is lacking in some nutrients therefore cannot solely sustain livestock dietary needs. Also, since excess feed deprives animals of some essential nutrients, their immune system is weakened thereby exposing them to disease and infection. Although goats can eat broccoli, it is recommended to provide dietary plans comprising of approximately 40%. Although slight alterations may not be harmful, it is advisable to strictly adhere to the recommendations as research on the subject matter is still ongoing. That being said, the benefits of broccoli to livestock maintenance and production cannot be overemphasized.

Physical Development

Goats can eat broccoli as a means to improve on growth and overall development. Research conducted on the subject revealed that goats with dietary plans containing broccoli generally have live body weight and daily weight gain that is higher in comparison to those on a strict forage diet. In fact, goats that eat broccoli have been proven to perform better than those given other supplements such as lucerne. In addition, goats can eat broccoli in order to absorb protein needed for teeth, bone and muscle development. Broccoli is a rich source of protein therefore can be used as a protein supplement. Livestock that are deficient in protein among other nutrients are known to experience ill-thrift, poor growth and fertility and bone breakages. Loss of weight is also experienced. For pregnant does, they tend to give birth to small calves. Broccoli is also a rich source of trace minerals which allow for energy metabolism and growth. Furthermore, goats can eat broccoli to acquire sufficient fibre for intake and digestion of nutrients thereby allowing livestock to reach full potential. Broccoli is a source of calcium that helps in bone in teeth formation, blood clotting, and smooth muscle contraction. Lack of calcium causes slow growth and bone fractures. Take care not to provide broccoli too soon in young goat dietary plans. It recommended to first establish normal diets after which it can be gradually introduced.

Milk Production

The quality and quantity of milk produced by livestock is dependent on the national value of feed. As such, goats can eat broccoli because it contains sufficient protein for milk production. The milk produced often contains a higher protein value thereby commanding an increased market value. To add on, broccoli contains antioxidants that protect livestock from cell and muscle damage caused by oxidants. Resultantly, goats are able to maintain improved milk yields. Broccoli is also a rich source of minerals including calcium and phosphorus that help to stimulate feed intake and permit use of metabolized body fat for milk production. Pregnant goats can eat broccoli in order to produce good quality colostrum. New born goats are expected to feed on colostrum within hours after birth so at to boost their immune system. Poor quality colostrum is that which is low in protein; it cannot sustain the dietary needs of new born livestock and so puts them at risk of diseases and in severe cases, this results in death. Broccoli can be used to ensure quality colostrum which is not only important for survival but is valuable to the market therefore allowing for a successful agricultural venture.

Health Maintenance

Goats can eat broccoli without experiencing any health related issues, instead, it helps to enhance livestock health. Broccoli contains vitamin C that helps to support the immune system. It also consists of calcium needed for nerve functions as well as blood clotting. According to research, vitamin A found in broccoli is of the essence in health sustenance, cell growth and reproductive health. The high mineral content in broccoli supports digestion thereby preventing illnesses such as bloat. Also, goats can feed on broccoli because it has a variety of bioactive compounds including kaempferol which is a flavonoid proven to reduce inflammation. The vegetable is a rich source of vitamin K, B9 and calcium which play an important role in maintaining healthy bones. Additionally, research indicates that antioxidants in broccoli help to prevent joint related disorders. Since goats normally feed on shrubs as well as woody and weedy plants, their teeth have to be strong. As such, goats can eat broccoli to absorb vitamins and calcium for dental purposes.

Antioxidant agent

Broccoli is rich in antioxidants. For this reason, goats can eat broccoli as means of preventing occurrence of oxidative stress. Animals suffering from oxidative stress are known to produce poor quality yields. Milk production also declines. The meat often has low nutritional value; it also has poor taste and texture. Broccoli contains measurable amounts of lutein and zeaxanthinincluding kaempferol that inhibit or neutralise cell damage caused by free radicals. The glucoraphanin found in broccoli is converted into a potent antioxidant called sulforaphane during digestion thereby protecting livestock from oxidation and other illnesses. Broccoli can be used as a natural replacement for antibiotics. This is of high value in areas where usage of antibiotics has been banned. Farmers are provided with the opportunity to ensure healthy animals, increase productivity and profitability.