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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This obviously has been triggered by many other posts asking for plant identification or plant toxicity. It has got me wondering. Do goats just eat whatever they come across. Most animals won't eat things that are poison to them, is this not true of goats? I have all kinds of things in my woods, I can't imagine being able to keep a goat from all of the possible toxins. (right now Daffodil is in a pretty contained pasture area but thinking of the future)
I know sometimes an animal will eat a poisonous plant If it is starving.
 

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Ours have been good with not eating poisonous plants.
 

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This weekend I will try to get a video of one of my goats eating around the wild cucumber. They bite it off with other weeds but, it never makes it into their mouth. It's kind of funny really. Some things they will eat and make themselves sick. Here rhodies, horsetail, and Laural trees seem to be what to watch out for.
 

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At our old house, about 1.5 hours North from Portland, the goats would always eat around the bad stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Goathiker, so do you think native plants they understand which is poison and which isn't and it is more likely ornamentals or human introduced things that confuses them? Or do some poisonous plants just taste good enough that they risk it like I do with milk?
 

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For the most part I think that they do know. Horsetail contains Nicotine though, it's addictive. Laural and Rodies, I think there's an allergy thing there as well. Some goats seem to be able to eat a couple leaves and go 'oh that makes my stomach hurt'. Others take one bite and start blowing cud.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I wondered if they self medicate also. When Daffodil was beginning to mend, the first day I let her eat a few green leaves, she nearly knocked me down for this one specific weed. It looked very similar to an herb, very similar to sage in fact. She would have ate all of it if I had let her. It didn't bother her and she sought it out, I really wondered if it had some kind of wild herbal remedy properties to it.
 

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Very interesting NubianFan, I wonder what it was?
Years ago we had some get out & decimate a either a rhodie or azalea bush cant recall.
Anyway this was in the early 80s & the vet merely told us to dump a whole bottle of pepto down each one.
They all survived.

A few months back we were dealing with what I thought was cocci so started all affected kids on Sulphadimethoxine.
Talking to another breeder she asked if we had buttercups.
Sure enough that was the culprit.
 

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It could be. I know the boys will seek out willow while we are hiking loaded. I've also noticed that each goat looks for a different type of browse while on the trail. Last time we were out Bean was eating Huckleberries and Salmonberry while Onyx was eating Sword Fern and Oregon grape.
 

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Oh, I know about those darn buttercups too. They don't seem to bother the adults as much though. I'm in the middle of planting a blackberry thicket (yes, on purpose) to shade them all out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They definitely have their favorites. My old horse Fire that I had for almost twenty years and he was my best horse ever. He loved young tender briar shoots. That was his favorite thing and he was a horse, not a goat. Daffodil loves roses, but doesn't care much for black berry or raspberries briars which I figured she would love. She loves honey suckle but could care less about Virginia creeper. She will eat wild carrot or what I call wild carrot anyway, but she had rather not. I have hazel nut shrubs just young, the bucklings broke out once and nearly ate a whole shrub.
 

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I wondered if they had swollen glands hurting. The berries and the Oregon Grape are all high Vitamin C and the Sword Fern is a natural sore throat remedy... ? Who knows what they instinctively do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That's actually pretty cool. I wish I could hike in your woods. The pics you have posted beautiful it is green in Arkansas but nothing like that!
 

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I live on the Oregon coast too and it is beautiful. The problem is, there are so many scary plants, i feel like we are on a death march every time we go hiking. I am so nervous when we hike, i walk twenty feet ahead of my goats just so i can scan the trail for rhodies and such. I was told by a local feed store owner that wild rhododendron wasnt nearly as toxic as the ornamental stuff. Does anyone know if there is any truth to that?
 

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For the most part I think that they do know. Horsetail contains Nicotine though, it's addictive. Laural and Rodies, I think there's an allergy thing there as well. Some goats seem to be able to eat a couple leaves and go 'oh that makes my stomach hurt'. Others take one bite and start blowing cud.
I guess I better get my goats a nicotine patch, lol . We have horsetail and they love it and have shown no signs of illness. I hope it's ok for them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I don't know for certain but would kind of doubt it. Just ordinary day lilies are edible to humans.
 
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