Amber Waves Pygmy Goats

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"About the Poisonous Plants Guide"

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USDA Rural Information Center

By Gary Pfalzbot
  • About the Author

    The GoatWorld Poisonous Plant Guide is collection of plants that are in one way or another, considered poisonous. While our focus is primarily on plants that are harmful to goats, many of the plants listed are often harmful to other animals as well, and have been included for that reason. Before presuming that any plant listed here is poisonous to goats, please carefully read all the information available for that plant.

    Oh no! My goats are eating or have eaten one or more of the plants listed!

    This is one of the most common situations I run into: goats that eat many of the poisonous plants listed. To fully understand this situation, please know that there are basically three levels of toxicity involved -

    • Low Toxicity - your goats may eat these plants for years with no apparent effects.
    • Moderate Toxicity - your goats always appear off; hard time health wise. Unexplained deaths may occur in the herd.
    • High Toxicity - your goats ingest the toxic plant and immediately show a reaction.
    It is important to know the plants that your goats eat and know the level of toxicity of these plants. I must stress the fact that some poisonous plants can be eaten and not display any noticeable effects.

    Your list includes alfalfa and oats! I feed these everyday!

    This is perhaps the second most common question I receive. Without going into a lecture, I can rest your fears and let you know that this deals with goats that are browsing on pastures where these plants grow and how these plants are harvested and cured in their use for feed. Both Alfalfa and Oats have the capability to produce nitrate poisoning but this mostly deals with the growing season of the crop and the way it has been harvested. Also, eating wet alfalfa or oats may cause bloat. When buying feed, NEVER cut costs and take anything but the sweetest smelling hay or oats you can find.

    Please use this guide as a reference and not as the final word on poisonous plants. While I will do my best to provide as accurate information as possible, there are many other poisonous plant lists and databases in addition to the one here at GoatWorld. Research on poisonous plants is an on-going endeavor. I would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has had experiences (good or bad) regarding any plant listed or not listed for that matter.

    -- by Gary Pfalzbot,

  • About the author: Gary Pfalzbot is a Service Connected Disabled Veteran and the web master of GoatWorld as well as some other web sites. He has raised goats over the years, been involved with 4-H (as a young boy) and currently resides in Colorado where he and his wife Pam raise a few breeds of goats and other animals, and primarily author the GoatWorld web site to continue to inform, educate, and promote the industry.

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