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Supplementing Goat Rations with Duckweed

March 5, 2012

Can you feed duckweed to goats?

This question was recently asked by a reader. The answer is yes, but not for the reasons you might think. Goats are ruminants which means they have four stomaches, similar to cattle. The first stomach, the rumen is quite good at breaking down the large quantities of protein in tender leafed duckweed and turning it into ammonia. Ammonia is great for the beneficial microbes in the rumen but it also means that duckweed cannot be depended upon as a source of protein for goats in the way that grass is. Nevertheless, feeding fresh or dry duckweed to goats has two distinct benefits.

1.  It can be a source of trace minerals and phosphorus to correct dietary deficiencies.

2. It is a source of ammonia for rumen microbes to enhance effective fermentation of straw or other mature, dry forages.

 Research suggests a small quantity of duckweed could replace the use of multi-nutritional supplements such as molasses-urea block licks, providing the duckweed was grown in nutrient-rich water. More studies need to be done to support this. In the meantime, got duckweed? Share some with your goats as a supplement. Their digestive tract will thank you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2012 1:38 pm

    Glad to help. Keep me posted on your process!


  2. March 5, 2012 12:26 pm

    Perfect! That’s what I was hoping for. I will definitely keep you updated our duckweed growth for our goats and chickens this summer. Now if only this snow would melt!
    Thanks again for this info.


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