What greens can goats not eat?

Goats are notorious for their insatiable appetites and their love for munching on just about anything in sight. While they’ll happily graze on grass, shrubs, and trees, not all greens are safe for them to eat. As a goat owner, you want to ensure that your furry friends stay healthy and receive the right kind of food. That’s why it’s crucial to know which greens can goats not eat.

Even though goats are generally hardy creatures, there are some common plants that can be toxic to them and cause serious health problems or death. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of goat-friendly plants and explore the ones that should be avoided at all costs.

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We’ll take you on a journey from the most well-known toxic plants that goats should steer clear of, to the less familiar ones that you may have overlooked. Our aim is to provide you with helpful tips on how to protect your goats and keep them healthy.

So if you’re curious about what greens can harm your goats, keep reading. We’ve got all the information you need to ensure your furry friends stay happy and healthy.

What are Toxic Plants to Goats?


While goats are renowned for their ability to eat almost anything, there are some plants that can be dangerous and even lethal for them.

Toxic plants are a major concern for goat owners as they contain toxins that can cause severe health problems or even death. Rhododendrons and azaleas are common toxic plants that goats should avoid at all costs. These ornamental plants contain grayanotoxins which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and even paralysis in goats. Additionally, holly berries contain ilicin which can be poisonous to goats and cause gastrointestinal issues. Yew is incredibly hazardous as the entire plant is poisonous to goats and can cause sudden death due to cardiac arrest. Nightshade plants contain solanine which can cause digestive upset, neurological symptoms, and even death if consumed in large quantities.

As goats are naturally curious animals, they may try to taste anything within their reach. Therefore, it is essential to regularly inspect pastures and remove any dangerous plants to prevent accidental ingestion. If you suspect your goat has ingested a toxic plant, seek veterinary care immediately for treatment options.

Apart from toxic plants, goat owners should also avoid feeding their animals anything that has been sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. Goats are highly sensitive to chemicals, and even small amounts can cause health problems. If you need to use pesticides or herbicides on your property, make sure you keep your goats away from the treated areas.

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In addition to toxic plants and chemicals, some greens can be harmful to goats in large quantities. Alfalfa in excess can cause urinary stones in male goats while too much clover can lead to bloat in goats.

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Avoid Feeding Goats Pesticides and Chemicals

One crucial aspect of goat nutrition is avoiding feeding them greens that have been treated with pesticides or chemicals.

Pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are commonly used on crops to keep pests at bay. However, these substances can have negative effects on the environment and on the animals that consume them. Ingesting these toxins can lead to serious health issues in the long term, such as liver damage and weakened immune systems.

To keep your goats healthy and happy, it is important to only feed them organic greens that have been grown without the use of harmful substances. This means choosing greens that are free from chemicals and pesticides. You can also consider growing your own greens for your goats, using natural methods to keep pests away and ensuring your plants are healthy.

Feeding your goats organic greens not only protects their health but also promotes sustainable farming practices. By avoiding harmful chemicals and pesticides, we are doing our part to protect the environment and promote healthy living for both humans and animals.

Alfalfa and Clover: Too Much of a Good Thing?

However, did you know that too much of these greens can actually be harmful to your goats’ health?

Alfalfa and clover have been known to cause bloating in goats, which can lead to some serious health problems such as twisted stomachs and even death. This is due to the high levels of soluble carbohydrates in these greens, which ferment rapidly in the rumen of a goat, producing gas that can cause the stomach to bloat.

Also Read:  Can Goats Eat Cucumbers?

To prevent bloating in your goats, it’s important to feed them alfalfa and clover in moderation, along with other types of forage such as grass hay or browse. In general, it’s best to limit alfalfa and clover to no more than 50% of your goat’s diet.

It’s also important to note that pregnant or lactating does should not be fed alfalfa or clover at all. These types of greens can increase the risk of pregnancy toxemia, a condition that occurs when the body is unable to metabolize the high levels of carbohydrates present in these greens, leading to a buildup of toxins in the bloodstream.

Other Greens to Avoid Feeding Goats

First and foremost, hemlock is a no-go. This poisonous plant can cause respiratory failure and death in goats. Symptoms of hemlock poisoning include tremors, weakness, and difficulty breathing. So, if you notice any of these symptoms in your goat, seek veterinary care immediately.

Another green to avoid feeding goats is nightshade. This family of plants includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. Nightshade contains solanine, which is toxic to goats and can cause digestive upset, seizures, and even death.

It’s also important to avoid feeding your goats any plants that have been treated with pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals can be toxic to goats and cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory distress.

Did you know that avocado leaves and pits should not be fed to goats? These contain a substance called persin that can cause heart damage and respiratory failure. So make sure to keep those avocados away from your goats.

Lastly, oleander, rhubarb leaves, and yew bushes should also be avoided due to their toxic properties.

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To sum it up, goats may seem like they’ll eat anything, but not all greens are created equal. As a responsible goat owner, it’s vital to know which plants can be toxic and even deadly for your furry friends. From rhododendrons and azaleas to holly berries and yew bushes, there are plenty of plants that should be avoided at all costs.

But it’s not just toxic plants that can pose a threat to your goats’ health. Pesticides and chemicals used on plants can also be dangerous for these sensitive animals. Even small amounts of these substances can cause serious health problems.

While some greens like alfalfa and clover may seem like healthy options, too much of them can lead to bloating and other severe health issues in goats. It’s crucial to provide a balanced diet that includes various types of forage such as grass hay or browse.

In short, keeping your goats healthy means being mindful of what they eat. By avoiding toxic plants and chemicals while providing a well-balanced diet, you can ensure your furry friends thrive on your farm or homestead.

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