Can goats eat okra?
I remember the okra, it was one of the foods I most disliked eating as a child, I was told it was very nutritious as well as quite economical, but its slimy appearance provoked some distrust.
But, having a super nutritious and very economical vegetable seems to be the ideal food for any ruminant animal like goats, right?
Okra is one of the most ancient cultivated plants, it originates from Ethiopia. It is a long green vegetable pod that is grown mostly in the warm and subtropical regions of the world.
The okra pod can be 5 to 15 cm in length and has tiny white seeds in its interior that are surrounded by clear slime. The ready-to-harvest vegetables are harvested by hand and preferably eaten fresh.
To answer the question of whether goats can eat okra, definitely yes, goats can eat okra and could benefit from the large amount of nutrients and minerals contained in this vegetable. But, care must be taken not to feed too much okra to a goat because okra contains small amounts of oxalic acid that could be harmful to the goat in the long run.
In previous research on goat feeding issues I had already written about how susceptible goats are to suffer from bladder stones, precisely the oxalic acid present in some foods consumed continuously could bring this inconvenience.
Another factor to consider is that some hybrid varieties of okra may have been subjected to aerosols, insecticides/pesticides.
Therefore, before feeding them to your goats, be sure to wash the pods thoroughly in water, preferably with bicarbonate and vinegar, in order to remove dirt and insecticide residues.
Is okra bad for Goats?
If an animal consumes okra in a non-excessive amount, there is no risk that it can be toxic, okra contains many properties, the viscosity of okra that I mentioned at the beginning of the topic is actually a healthy vegetable substance called mucilage that facilitates and promotes digestion.
So there is no reason to say that okra can be a bad food for a goat, obviously, you must take into account the possible negative effect of prolonged or excessively feeding of okra to a goat.
The amount of oxalic acid present in okra is small, but if you feed your goat, for example, daily with okra, or inter daily, it is possible that in the long run, this will be detrimental (this is not a written rule, I’m just using logic).
However, if you feed your goat okra, from time to time, there is no danger or contraindication, since usually, the goat will have enough time to discard naturally and gradually the oxalic acid in its system.
You must also take into consideration that okra seeds contain a large amount of gossypol, a pigment that could be toxic to animals if ingested in large quantities.
Okra is composed of carbohydrates, fiber, fats, vitamins and minerals, oxalates, flavonoids, quercetin, rutin, gossypetin, gossypol, phytosterols, anthocyanins.
Of all these elements, consideration should be given to oxalates and gossypol, in relation to excess feeding to goats, these elements could be harmful in the long term.
Toxic effects of gossypol
Monogastric animals (single-stomach animals) were the first in which the toxic effect of diets was demonstrated containing gossypol.
The toxic effects of gossypol occur only with prolonged consumption and through the cumulative process, also depend on the dose ingested.
Tolerance levels to gossypol vary between species. Rabbits, pigs, dogs, rats and humans are more susceptible to gossypol toxicity. The monogastric quickly absorb free gossypol as they cannot detoxify gossypol before it is absorbed.
What amount of oxalates does the okra contain?
The amount of oxalates contained in foods such as okra is very variable depending on various factors and depending on the season, plant variety, ripening, etc. of the plant on which the measurement is made.
But roughly speaking, the okra can be located somewhere in between on a scale of higher to lower oxalate-containing foods.
Oxalic acid disappears for the most part when the cooking water of these vegetables is discarded.
So in case you have wondered if you can feed your goats with cooked okra this is a much safer and more feasible option.
Can goats eat okra stalks?
The okra of is composed of the stem, leaves, flowers, seeds and the “fruit” which is the elongated capsule, the okra capsule is generally the most appreciated as food and everything else dismissed.
But really both the leaves and flowers of okra are edible, and therefore the stem could also be consumed by goats because within the composition of okra there are no toxic elements that can be harmful immediately. Care should be taken not to overfeed the goats.
The root of the okra, although it is very fibrous is also edible, the same goes for the stem, it has a large amount of vegetable fiber.