Goat rearing is a growing agricultural practise worldwide. This creates an increasing demand for goat feed. Resultantly, goat feed accounts for approximately 60% to 70% of the total production costs. Farmers are therefore actively seeking for alternative feed that is sustainable in terms of both money and animal health. As such, unconventional feed stuff are being reviewed to ease this growing challenge. A great amount of research is directed towards establishing the nutritional value of vegetables and their effects on production and maintenance, particularly whether goats can eat lettuce without experiencing any negative effects. The results recorded are astounding.

Nutritional Value

A variety of research findings have established that goats can feed on lettuce without negatively impacting on health, reproduction as well as production. It has been discovered that lettuce contains nutrients and minerals that are of the essence in the daily sustenance of goats. Prior to providing lettuce supplements to livestock, farmers should understand that there are various types of lettuce and their nutritional composition varies. Darker types of lettuce are generally preferred over other varieties as they are considered to be of superior nutritional value. The common types of lettuce are the iceberg and the romaine. A common misconception is that iceberg lettuce has completely no value nutrition wise. Although it is of low nutritional value in comparison to other leafy vegetables, goats can eat lettuce, particularly iceberg in order to absorb supplementary vitamins A, C and K. Not only is iceberg lettuce rich in vitamins but also in trace minerals including calcium, potassium and folate. Romaine lettuce is the most popular lettuce variety. It is a rich source of minerals, namely; calcium, folate, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium as well as vitamins. Lettuce is generally a low source of carbohydrates and fibre, protein as well as fat. Note that goats can feed on lettuce, provided it is accompanied by a staple feed rich in lacking nutrients.

Physical Development

Feed is of the essence in animal growth and development. Goats usually satisfy their dietary requirements for minerals and vitamins from pasture. This is sometimes not possible thereby creating a need for free supplements and additives. The nutritional value of pasture varies according to type of vegetation as well as seasonal changes among other factors. Some vegetation is naturally low in nutrients required by animals. During the dry season, the nutritional value of forage often deteriorates. Therefore, goats can eat lettuce in order to acquire lacking minerals. Lettuce is a rich source of minerals needed by goats for daily sustenance. As a matter of fact, goats require 16 minerals in order to thrive. Lettuce contains phosphorus which is considered as the most important mineral for growth and development.  Phosphorus deficiency is known to cause decreased dry matter intake, poor growth, unthrifty appearance, osteodystrophy and lameness. Lettuce also contains other minerals including calcium needed for bone, muscle and teeth development. Goats can eat lettuce sinceit provides minerals often lacking in forage diets therefore allowing for timely growth and development which in turn leads to increased productivity.

Milk Production

Goats can eat lettuce as a means to absorb minerals needed for milk production. Lactating goats need more nutrients compared to dry livestock. Their dietary needs can fail to be sufficiently met by forage. Lettuce is a rich source minerals that are of the essence in improved milk quality and production. Studies reveal that goats fed lettuce tend to produce higher milk yields in comparison to those on a strict forage dietary plan. Trace elements are often disregarded as deficiency symptoms are not experienced immediately. They manifest overtime gradually suppressing health and productivity. Consequentially, the total production declines and the same applies to quality.  According to research, goats can survive for several weeks on a mineral deficient diet as their bodies have the ability to draw on reserves. However, animals eventually lose weight as the reserves get exhausted. This results in a chain of health related issues. Production may never recover even after treatment. As such, goats can feed on lettuce as a means to keep heathy allowing for increased milk production. To add on, trace elements paired with vitamins found in lettuce help to prevent lipid oxidation which is said to be among the leading causes of declined quality produce and production.

Health Maintenance

Livestock health is of the utmost importance in agriculture. This is because the success of the entire venture is determined by the health of animals. Ill goats are generally less productive, and in severe cases production may cease. As such, it is every farmer’s mission to ensure that livestock are in great health. Goats can eat lettuce as a means to maintain health. Lettuce contains essential minerals for sustaining immune system integrity, blood synthesis nervous system as well as the repair of damaged tissue. They also help to moderate nerve impulses and neuromuscular transmissions, energy reactions, activating enzymes involved in breaking down protein and metabolising carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids among other functions. In fact, minerals found in lettuce are key components of almost every metabolic process. Dietary plans lacking in minerals lead to a number of health related problems including ill-thrift, poor growth and fertility as well as bone breakages.

Goats can eat lettuce as a preventative measure against lipid oxidation. Oxidation often results in poor quality produce. The meat produced tends to be of inferior texture, taste as well as nutritional value. As a result, it is sold at very low prices. Lettuce contains minerals and vitamins high in antioxidants thereby protecting animals from cell and muscle damage caused by oxidants. Keep in mind that goats can feed on lettuce only as a supplementary feed. Excess feed deprives livestock of nutrients necessary for health sustenance.

Hydration

Ideally, animals should be able to drink water at a time of choosing. This is however not the case in some areas, particularly arid and semi-arid lands with low rainfall patterns. As a solution, goats are offered water according to set schedules. Goats can eat lettuce which contains a high water content in a bid to keep hydrated. Water accounts for about 70% of the animal body. It is essential for nutrient digestion, absorption, waste removal, respiration, regulating mineral balances, eyesight and for joint lubrication.Insufficient water supply results in weak animals that are exposed to different diseases. Consequentially, production declines and so does profitability.