Sheep clearing bushes

Do Sheep Eat Blackberry Bushes (Read To Know!)

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While sheep are not picky eaters as they are comfortable feeding on various feedstuff, it doesn’t mean they can eat anything; some things are poisonous. So with that in mind, do sheep eat blackberry bushes?

Sheep eat blackberry bushes, although to a lesser extent compared to goats. Therefore, you will find your sheep eating the blackberry leaves and the soft young canes before feeding on the grains. The plant provides nutritional value to sheep.

However, be careful not to overfeed your sheep because too much of it can cause nutrient deficiencies. Nonetheless, they will happily graze on blackberry bushes.

Do sheep eat blackberry bushes

The Nutritional Value of Blackberries For Sheep

Blackberries, both plant and fruits, are some of the healthiest feeds you can give your sheep. Besides being exceptionally tasty and edible, below are nutritional benefits sheep get from eating them.

Minerals and Vitamins

Blackberries are packed with vitamins C and K and are a great source of Manganese. A cup of blackberries offers 30.2 milligrams of vitamin C.

Vitamin C is essential in connective tissue, blood vessels, and bone formation and an excellent antioxidant for your sheep.

Moreover, Vitamin C helps lower the damage to the immune system of your sheep, resulting from external factors like wet and cold weather. On the other hand, Vitamin K is essential in bone metabolism and blood clotting.

Your sheep will get nearly 29 micrograms of vitamin K by consuming a cup of blackberries. Additionally, 0.9 milligrams of Manganese are found in a cup of blackberries.

Manganese is crucial in creating a healthy immune system and the development of healthy bones.

READ ALSO: Can Sheep Eat Apples?


Blackberries are rich in fiber, a valuable substance for your sheep’s digestion. In addition, it adds to the bulk of the sheep’s digestive system, which aids digestion.

Furthermore, it lubricates the internal organs and boosts the digestibility of food, facilitating complete absorption. So while you should feed your sheep pasture or hay, letting them graze in blackberry bushes will significantly benefit them.


Blackberry leaves are rich in vitamin C, essential oils, and tannins, nutrients that support your sheep’s long-term health and protect against illnesses. Additionally, they offer antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits of Letting Your Sheep Graze On Blackberry Bushes

Besides producing milk, meat, and wool, having sheep on your farm offers everything a farmer will appreciate.

Instead of struggling to kill the unwanted plants in your fields, like blackberry bushes, poison ivy, and kudzu, you can let your sheep devour them.

Letting your sheep graze on blackberry bushes is more economical than using mechanical or chemical control methods to kill the plants. You can even create a business out of this practice by renting your sheep to other farms to eat blackberry bushes and other plants.

In fact, many cities in the United States have livestock rental services. Landowners invest in their livestock to manage invasive vegetation instead of using herbicides.

Besides clearing the vegetation, the animals fertilize the land while frolicking and save you from using potentially harmful chemicals on your land.

Sheep clearing bushes

What To Consider When Feeding Sheep Blackberry Bushes

Letting your sheep feed on blackberry bushes can present certain challenges, so check the pointers below to get the best of this practice.

Fence the area

Letting your sheep roam freely in the field with blackberry bushes is the best way to let them clear the plants. Restricting their movement with a rope is ineffective and can lead to death by strangulation.

Therefore, it’s best to erect a fence around the field for the safety and effectiveness of vegetation clearing. This is especially beneficial if you will not be close by to monitor the sheep.

While modern shepherds rely on movable, lightweight electric fencing, they are not the most ideal because rain can make them short out easily. Furthermore, your sheep can escape from such an enclosure, especially if you leave them unsupervised for an extended period.

It would be better to create a perimeter around the blackberry bushes using wire fencing about 4 feet tall. However, if you decide to use electric fencing, ensure you do so in an area where it won’t cause problems if the sheep escape.

You can use electric fencing to subdivide a bigger area into tiny plots suitable for concentrated grazing. Ensure you fence your sheep out of sensitive parts like waterways for their safety, especially when left unsupervised.

READ ALSO: Can Sheep Eat Watermelon? Watermelon For Sheep


You cannot pen your sheep in an area with blackberry bushes without providing clean water and supplementary food because they cannot just rely on blackberries for their nutritional needs.

Therefore, give your sheep feed in the morning and evening and ensure there are water points in the enclosure for them to drink throughout the day.

The additional calories are especially essential for lactating and pregnant ewes. Moreover, prepare for the unexpected such as attacks from predators and your sheep returning home with injuries and illnesses.

This means that you are ready to provide proper care for your sheep if any of the above eventualities happen.

Introducing blackberries to sheep

Your sheep will easily get used to eating blackberry bushes if you introduce them to the plant when they are young.

Begin with small quantities, monitor how they react to them, then increase the amounts gradually depending on their tolerance.

Blackberry bushes are palatable to sheep, so they shouldn’t struggle to eat them. If you don’t want to leave your sheep in a blackberry garden, you can pluck some, wash the fruits with cool water then let your sheep enjoy them.

Blackberries shouldn’t be your sheep’s meal but a treat you give them occasionally. However, if you want to add them to the sheep’s meal plan, do it twice a week.

A typical sheep diet

Sheep need water, protein, minerals, vitamins, and energy (fat and carbohydrates) to stay healthy. A deficiency in these essential nutrients can cause poor performance or growth, illnesses, and in severe cases, death.

You can tell your sheep are getting a proper diet if they have normal manure, excellent body condition, high reproduction, are alert, and grow rapidly. Your sheep will eat continuously without playing, chewing cud, or resting if they are hungry.

Sheep are ruminant animals meaning they have four stomachs and food ferments and becomes cud in two of the stomach chambers (the reticulum and rumen).

Sheep regurgitate and rechew the cud mixing it with saliva, then re-swallow it, raising nutrient absorption and aiding digestion.

Sheep primarily feed on various kinds of grass like Kikuyu grass and ryegrass, hay, legumes, and plants. However, their diet includes clovers, alfalfa, roughage, dandelions, sunflower seeds, and sometimes grain.

Can You Give Your Sheep Blackberry Juice?

Besides blackberry bushes, you can also give your sheep blackberry juice. The drink is typically a fascinating refreshment human beings enjoy, but your sheep can also have it.

Your sheep can enjoy this special treat once in a while. It offers an easy way for sheep to absorb the essential minerals and vitamins in Blackberry fruits.


While blackberry bushes shouldn’t be your sheep’s primary meal, you can let them enjoy it while providing pasture or hay. However, be cautious of the thorns on the canes of blackberry plants because they can hurt your sheep’s tongues and mouths.


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