The real story on Cherry trees?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by StaceyRosado, May 15, 2014.

  1. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    So I know the basics "stay away from all pitted fruit trees= poisonous"

    But I've also heard that they are only poisonous when the leaves are wilted.

    Looking for more info - particularly about wild cherry (no fruit).
  2. Chadwick

    Chadwick New Member

    Jan 23, 2014
    Volant PA
    I am interested as well!

  3. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    I've heard the same... wilted leaves will cause toxic death, fresh leaves in moderation don't seem to have the same effect.
    Choke Cherry tree's are abundant here, and I know my mom has a couple in her pasture with her 2 goats, they stripped the bark from them, ate the leafy branches too with no ill affects
  4. NubianFan

    NubianFan New Member

    Jun 2, 2013
    it depends on the poison levels stored in the trees apparently. I have heard Jill "Goathiker" explain it before. I will let her explain it again because I might get something wrong but the level can vary, so even though a goat may eat them one time and be fine, even wilted leaves, another time could cause death or serious illness. I *think* I remember her saying that anytime the trees are stressed they tend to have more concentration like when there has been a drought. But again, wait for Jill to explain it because I am just stating back what I remember and I may be remembering it wrong.
  5. DMSMBoers

    DMSMBoers New Member

    Dec 22, 2013
    Southwest Missouri
    Ive always heard that when they are wilted. My goats stripped the wild cherry trees here first thing. All are gone but just a few.
  6. StaceyRosado

    StaceyRosado Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Oct 4, 2007
    We have HUGE trees that mom says are cherry. But I don't want to loose them as we won't have any shade. I can keep the goats away when they drop leaves and put wire around them to keep them from eating the bark. But wasn't sure if all that was necessary. Of course we would keep them limbed so they can't reach the leaves (short mini goats )

    Right now they are around them and don't even try to eat the bark but I know once all the green stuff is gone they will start on them if available.

    As of right now there is no plans make their pen to include the cherry trees but they would be in the one pasture.
  7. NubianFan

    NubianFan New Member

    Jun 2, 2013
    Mine have access to a wild cherry in their pen. They have eaten green leaves and bark before with no ill affects. I really think it depends, which isn't a great answer. I guess to be totally safe you would keep them from it, but I didn't know it was a problem til well after they'd been eating this one, so I have chosen to leave it for now.
  8. Trickyroo

    Trickyroo New Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    New York
    Wish Jill would find this thread and give us the lowdown on them.
    I have one tree , not sure what type of cherry it is , gotta ask my husband tomorrow. But the goats have gotten to it on occasion and have eaten some of those flowery pink petals and thank goodness no ill effects. ( yet ) . They get a mouthful maybe but by then I'm ontop of them and shoo them away. I will post what type of tree tomorrow , unless someone knows from my description of the pink flowery petals.
    I always thought that it was the leaves when wilting in the fall that are poisonous too. I would love to know what Jill says about this.
    Thats pretty scary to think that this time my goats had no ill effects but next time it could kill them or the sheep. The sheep BTW haven't had any issues with it either.
  9. Dodgerdoob

    Dodgerdoob New Member

    Feb 11, 2014
    Spencer IN
    Wilted cherry leaves ( think summer thunder storm blows a limb down) give off prussic acid. When something consumes them, the acid converts in their stomach and kills them. There is a very small window of danger but it is wise to check pastures after storms. Green leaves are generally fine, but it is believed that there is a link between cherry leaves, the eastern tent caterpillar and abortions in mares.
  10. Trickyroo

    Trickyroo New Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    New York
    Good to know , thanks Dodgerdoob :)
  11. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Black Cherry is a common, weedy, early-successional tree. The leaves release the distinctive cherry-like aroma of cyanide when crushed. Healthy leaves contain prunasin, which is converted to hydrogen cyanide (HCN) when the leaves are crushed. This highly toxic substance acts as a defense mechanism against herbivores.

    Attached Files:

  12. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Now, this pertains to ALL species of Prunis which includes all cherries, plums, and red maples. Red maples are not the ones with red leaves either. They are all species of Sugar maple, Silver maple, and hybrids of.

    We don't know for sure what mechanism turns the leaves poisonous. The wilted leaves of a broken branch, yes. Also young quick growing trees, sick trees, drought plagued trees, insect infested trees. Stress turns them poisonous.
    The sad thing is that they can be eaten with impunity safely for a long time and then the goat stresses the tree by eating too much. When the leaves turn poisonous 1/4 lb. can kill a full grown cow.
  13. J.O.Y. Farm

    J.O.Y. Farm ~Crazy Goat Lady~

    Jan 10, 2012
    New Hampshire
    What about weeping cherry trees? It doesn't get any fruit on it so not sure if it's considered an actual cherry tree or not...
  14. dezak91

    dezak91 New Member

    Feb 22, 2013
    Since we're on trees, does anyone know if an Australian Box Brush tree is ok for goats? We have Australian Willows which the goats devour. I have looked and looked and can't find anything about them being toxic but I thought I would check here.

    Sent from my iPhone using Goat Forum
  15. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Queensland boxbrush is fine. It is a non-toxic evergreen tree.
  16. nchen7

    nchen7 Goatless goat momma

    Feb 25, 2013
    but, what about stone fruit, with the stone removed (so pitted cherries, peaches, nectarines)? can goats eat those?
  17. dezak91

    dezak91 New Member

    Feb 22, 2013
    Thanks goathiker!

    Sent from my iPhone using Goat Forum
  18. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Absolutely. these are all fine in moderation.
  19. TOU

    TOU Member

    Aug 18, 2013
    Oh my heck!!!

    OH MY HECK!!!

    My whole herd (four 5 year olds, two three year olds & two 60-80 day old kids) have been browsing on these the last few days when we have been walking in a new pasture. They browsed for at least 10-15 minutes on them but they are all green with flowers just a you showed. They ate a few dried leaves last fall too. I was unsure what they were until yesterday when I asked a neighbor...they loved them! I will not let them eat them again & be sure to wipe them out the best I can ASAP as well as watching my goats. I thought they would know better o things like this naturally. Aaaaargh!
  20. Trickyroo

    Trickyroo New Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    New York
    Hope all is well with your goats TOU :hug: Please keep us posted on how they are doing !