Goat Looking at an Empty Can

Goats are well-known for their various dietary preferences. Still, with the proliferation of viral videos online, it’s become commonplace to assume that goats will eat anything in their immediate vicinity, including cans made of tin.

In reality, goats are pickier than you may think about what they consume. Keeping a goat’s diet balanced is essential as they need to be fed a variety of minerals and nutrient-rich foods to stay healthy. Unfortunately, tin cans are not a recommended item on their menu. Want to know more? Keep reading to find out!

What Happens Goats eat Tin Cans?

When tin cans are consumed, their metal can get stuck in the goat’s digestive tract. It can cause a blockage; if left untreated, the metal can cause an infection or even death. Even if the tin can is broken down into tiny pieces, there is a risk of intestinal damage that can be very dangerous.

Additionally, when goats consume tin cans, they usually lap up the contents inside. Tin cans often store food such as tomato sauce and canned fruit. However, these foods contain preservatives, artificial flavoring, and sugar that are not good for the goat’s health.

Why Goats Shouldn’t Eat Tin Cans

Goats, beloved animals of farms and petting zoos, have an adventurous palate and are quite capable of getting into all sorts of mischief. Although their typical diet consists of grass, hay, and other vegetation, there can be moments when a goat tastes something far more forbidden.

For example, a curious goat may attempt to eat a tin can. If you have a goat on your property, it is essential to understand why it should avoid the ingestion of a tin can, as it may have worse consequences than you may imagine.

Metal cans and tins

Sharp Edges

The first thing to consider when steering a goat away from a tin can is that these containers often have sharp edges. The problem with sharp edges is that they can deflect off of flat surfaces and cause damage to internal organs when ingested.

Furthermore, if the edges are pointed enough, they can pierce the walls of your goat’s digestive system, leading to potential bleeding and fatalities.

Unfamiliar Metals

On top of the danger from sharp edges, there is also the danger of the tin can itself. Tin cans are usually made from aluminum, tin, or steel. These metals are not typically parts of a goat’s regular diet and, therefore, can be toxic to the goat.

If a goat ingests a tin can, these metals can cause severe inflammation and gastrointestinal distress.

Tin Cans Can Contain Toxic Substances

Tin cans can also contain potentially harmful substances to which the goat should not be exposed. Ingesting such substances can cause digestive and other health issues in the goat. If not immediately seen, these substances can begin to cause severe damage to the goat over time.

What Can Goats Eat Instead?

Fortunately, goats can eat plenty of nutritious and healthy things instead of tinned food. These include leafy green vegetables, hay, and pellets or grains. Goats also enjoy sweet fruits such as apples and bananas and hard vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

In addition to their diet, goats also need access to plenty of fresh water and shelter to stay healthy. It is imperative when goats need protection from extreme temperatures in hot or cold weather.

What to do If your Goats Eat Tin Cans

Closed metal tin cans

Not every day you run into a situation where your goats have decided to snack on tin cans, but it does happen. The key to this situation is to act quickly and decisively. After spotting your goats chowing down on some tin cans, there are a few things that you should do immediately.

  • First, remove the cans from the goats’ reach so they can’t access them anymore. It means setting fences, closing gates, or whatever other steps you can take to ensure that goats can’t eat tin cans again. Wear gloves when handling the cans, as there may be sharp edges.
  • Secondly, call your veterinarian immediately if you still need to do so. They can check your goats and ensure they haven’t ingested metal shards. If they have, they will need to be treated immediately.
  • If your vet has cleared your goats, you must monitor them for a few days. Please pay attention to any changes in their behavior or appetite, as this could indicate something is wrong. If you notice any of these things, call your vet again.
  • Finally, once you’ve successfully removed the cans from your goats’ environment and your vet has given them a clean bill of health, it’s time to start asking yourself what allowed the goats to access the tin cans in the first place.

Was it a faulty fence? Were they able to reach containers that were left within their reach? Find the problem’s source and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

While goats eating tin cans can make for a scary situation, it is an issue you can resolve. Take the proper steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, and always watch your goats for changes in behavior that may indicate a problem.


Goats are known for their adventurous eating habits but are still selective about their consumption. Tin cans can be a significant health risk to goats, and it is best to keep them away from these containers. By ensuring your goat has access to a balanced diet, plenty of fresh water, and shelter, you can help them stay healthy and happy.

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