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A couple of months ago my goats ate a few bites of what appeared to be poison hemlock. Since they had no ill effect and I saw where other parts of the plant had been bitten off by other animals (there are horses and a couple of other goats that get turned out there sometimes), I just assumed it must not be poison hemlock after all. And a person at the farm told me it was just wild parsley.
They since ate more bites here and there, and seemed to like it, but lately don't touch it when we walk by (they only have access when I take them out of their pen and walk by it together). Well, just the other day a woman who studied botany said yes indeed it IS hemlock. It has definitely grown quite tall and has purple speckles and streaks on the stems.
I am wondering if it is possible for them to eat more than just a few bites and be ok? Neither one of them has ever been sick (except a cold). If it IS hemlock, it is all over the place there including a garden that hadn't been kept up but which someone recently plowed under.
 

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A couple of sources for further information below ... the two sources are pretty reliable, but their data is very different ... which probably just goes to show that there are a lot of factors influencing toxicity. But the summary point, is that you should remain very careful ... toxicity is dosage dependent. Your goats perhaps have simply not eaten a sufficient amount to reach the point of toxicosis. The Penn reference cites 1% of body weight as a toxic dose, that means a 200 lb goat would need to eat 2 lbs of the plant matter to show symptoms. The Purdue references is less specific but suggests that goats could reach lethal does at half a pound. In any event, don't take chances ... continue to keep the goats away from it, both references are consistent that it has lethal potential with rapid advancement of symptoms.

http://www.vet.purdue.edu/toxic/plant28.htm

http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/projects/poiso ... ppoiso.htm
 
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