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Ok, goats are browsers rather than grazers, right? So, that means I can put them in the woods? I don't necessarily need pastureland for them? We have a little flat grassy land, but most of the property is wooded hills and hollows.

How about toxic plants? I understand that oak is not good for goats. Do they have enough sense not to eat it on their own, or do I have to protect them from it? We have a lot of oak, sweet gum, yellow poplar and other hardwoods. I'm pretty sure they won't come up against wild rhododentrons or volunteer azaleas.

Thanks for any opinions.

Regards,
Pat
 

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oak is fine for goats, mine eat it all the time! i know lots of people who put their goats out in a forest and are healthy as can be! I think you are pretty safe.
 

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from what i know of rhododendrun, you need to be POSITIVE it is not in your pasture as only a little bit can be very toxic to goats. this is an evergreen plant, so you should be able to look for it now. look also for bracken fern; this probably dies back in winter.
there are some sites that list plants to watch for; i do not have a link before me, but you can google for it. some sites have only names; some have pictures, as well. i'm sure someone here will tell you of some.
 

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Oak leaves are fine for goats. Acorns, it depends upon the area you are in and your own herd situation. Some say that it will give the goats a little bit of indegestion, others say it will just dry up the does. It is always important to keep baking soda out free choice in case they do eat something that didn't agree with them, that will settle any acidity in their rumen.

rhododentrons and azaleas are very toxic, usually it only takes one bite of a leaf to do harm. Bracken fern from what I've heard can cause polio, mountain laurel I haven't dealt with, and choke cherry is poisonous.

Nightshades are poisonous too, but the only case I've had of nightshade poisoning it was a small kid that was still 'sampling' everything in the forest. He showed symptoms similar to listeriosis, so I gave him pen, B/thiamin, and the homeopathic remedy Belladonna(which is derived from nightshade) and by morning he was back to normal.

All in all, most of the time the goats will take a nibble here and there, but most of the time they know what isn't good for them and what could harm them and they will avoid it. The only time they seem to go after the things that aren't good for them is if their grazing area has nothing left to eat except the bad stuff.

In cases of poisoning, it is always important to give them charcoal, and Milk of Magnesia mixed with olive oil 3-4 times a day. Charcoal will help to counteract the toxins and MOM and olive oil will help to act as a buffer for the rumen to prevent acidity from forming and also to help move the toxins through the body.

Here is a good list of poisonous plants: http://fiascofarm.com/goats/poisonousplants.htm

It says rhubarb leaves but when we first got our goats we have them in an area that had a rhubarb plant in the corner, after they grazed the area over they at the rhubarb with no adverse affects, but that was 12 goats to one medium sized plant, so I can't say how dangerous it is exactly.
 
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