Onions pose several health risks towards goats, so no, goats can not eat onions, and neither should onions be fed to them in any circumstances.
There is a substance, an alkaloid, known as N-Propyl disulfide, in onions that is lethal for goats. It injures hemoglobin and damages the red blood cell membrane, subsequently resulting in severe anemia in goats, which often leads to death.
Also see: Can Goats Eat Kale?
Are Onions Good for Goats?
As discussed earlier, onions are toxic for goats, so they are not suitable for goats in any way. Goats, which are fed onions for a while, face grave consequences in the long run and often die.
According to a study, goats poisoned with onions predominantly suffer from Heinz Body Anemia. A distinct odor of onions can be felt on the breath, feces, and urine of affected goats.
Anything more than that can be dangerous and fatal.
Signs of Onion Poisoning in Goats
There are various signs goats show which are associated with onion poisoning. Let us take a look at them.
1- Respiratory Rate
A significant increase in respiratory rate can be felt if your goat is suffering from onion poisoning.
2- Extreme Weakness
Onion poisoned goats will show extreme weakness and increased recumbency. This happens due to severe anemia.
3- Urine Color
If your goat is suffering from onion poisoning, you will notice dark reddish-brown components in the urine of your goat. Those components you will see are basically hemoglobinuria.
You need a proactive approach, that is, don’t let your goats graze on the onion. If you have grown onion in your garden, you must fence your garden so that goats don’t go in and get poisoned.
However, if your goats have poisoned somehow, the best remedy would be to stop onion feeding immediately. In some severe cases, you may need to do a complete blood transfusion.
Some other remedies are also practiced by farmers like kaolin and hypo, but no remedy ensures effective treatment, so the best thing you can do is not let your goats feed on onions.
What Can Goats Not Eat?
There are several plants and garden treats that goats can not eat.
For instance, the Nightshade family’s plants and vegetables. They are toxic and can result in severe outcomes, even death!
Onions are toxic for goats and shouldn’t be fed to them. Yes, if in small fractions, they are edible for goats. Which means you can feed onions to your goats occasionally but not regularly.
It would be best if you took a proactive approach and fenced your garden so that your goats don’t graze on onions while wandering around.
Being a goat keeper, it is your duty to remain vigilant of your goats’ diet and keep proper know-how of what and what not your goats can eat.