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Hey - I've been continuing to take our pack-goat-in-training out on the trail to practice hiking. He does well (even after his traumatic fall off the trail and getting swept down the creek in the spring), but I'm worried about his tendency to munch anything and everything along the way. I'm especially concerned about his fondness for rhododendron, which we have a lot of along the trails here in W. Oregon. He loves grabbing and eating rhody leaves along the way and, according to books, they are poisonous. So far, he doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects, so I'm wondering if I should stop trying to monitor him to keep him from eating them. What do you all do? It's really hard to try to watch everything that he grabs to eat along the way!
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Rhodies will make him very sick if he eats enough of em. At least the kind you would plant around your house. It doesnt take to much and they start to puking all over the place. The farm we worked on had 8 rhodies out front and each time the goats got out and ate em down, they would get terribly sick. Nothing as gross smelling as goat puke.
 

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I would be very careful about the Rhodies, not worth the risk, really. You can use a goat/sheep muzzle for him in areas that have lots of those plants. They hate wearing them, but it's better than a dead goat. When I first started hiking with mine two summers ago, I was very paranoid about poisonous plants and my inability to identify them all, and probably made the goats wear the muzzles too often. Now I've relaxed a lot after realizing it usually takes more than a bite or two to poison them, but Rhodies (Azaleas of any kind, Mountain Laurel or anything with green waxy azalea-type leaves) I just don't take a chance on.
 

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My daughter lost a dog to a rattle snake a couple years ago just right up Neff's canyon. The place is crawling with hikers and snakes. It's a wonder more people don't get hurt.
 
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