Blueberries are considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world. All berries are rich in flavonoids and anthocyanins, which is what gives them their rich color and taste. Blueberries provide dietary fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients that will improve health.
But not everything that is healthy for us is the same for sheep, so, can sheep eat blueberries?
Sheep can definitely eat blueberries! Blueberries are a great source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and many of the minerals that sheep need.
Are Blueberries Good For Sheep?
Yes, blueberries are good for sheep. Here are a few reasons why sheep love them so much:
Vitamins and minerals
Blueberries are very high in vitamins and minerals, each berry contains between 25 and 40% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamins A and C. Despite this fact, there is no need to feed blueberries exclusively to sheep as long as they have other high energy pasture or hay-based diets. Sheep can easily digest the berries with no ill effects or signs of toxicity. Many late-season berries contain highly toxic chemicals, which can cause serious problems if livestock eats too many berries at once.
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, and their high levels of Vitamin C can help reduce damage to the sheep’s immune system caused by external factors such as cold and wet weather.
Blueberries have plenty of fiber in the form of cellulose and pectin, the two main components of its cell walls. The sheep’s digestive system gains from this fiber as it gets an increase in bulk which helps with digestion. Fibers also act as a lubricant for these internal organs as well. Fiber is known to improve digestibility of feedstuffs too, allowing for more complete absorption by the animal’s body. Since blueberries are rich in dietary fiber this is definitely a bonus for your sheep! While cellulose acts like lint to some people when they eat bacon, it is actually very good for sheep!
What Fruits Are Good For Sheep?
Generally, adding fruits to their diets is almost always a good idea, the most common, and beneficial, are:
–Figs: Figs are low in moisture and high in fiber, Vitamin C, iron and manganese. They are thus very useful for sheep with nutritional deficiencies or low body weight. Figs also contain phytosterols, which lower cholesterol levels and are beneficial for hair and skin health
-Apples: Apples are high in Vitamin C and a good source of natural sugars. Also they are low in calories and provide a good fibre content (2% in fresh apples). Apples contain pectin which lowers LDL cholesterol levels.
-Plums: Plums are high in Vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids, and contain manganese, copper, potassium and calcium. They are therefore particularly beneficial for sheep fed low quality forages.
-Pears: Pears have been shown to improve growth performance and increase weaning weights in sheep when added to their diets.
–Bananas: Bananas are an important dietary source of some essential trace minerals. They contain a high level of B6 (0.6mg/100g), which is very important for sheep health, and also a good source of potassium, Vitamin C, manganese and iron.
–Peaches: Peaches are extremely valuable as a nutritional supplement for sheep. Peaches are high in potassium, Vitamin C and have an unusually large percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which contribute to a thickening and conditioning effect on wool.
–Strawberries: Strawberries contain phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that are thought to have health benefits for sheep.