goat care

Asked February 21, 2015, 6:11 PM EST

We use goats for help with brush control on our 2 acres. However, during the last two falls, we have lost two goats to some kind of poisoning. I've seen all the lists of plants that are toxic to goats, but the trick is identifying them on the property. Is there anyone I can call to come out and help me identify what's going on? They had the run of the whole property in the spring and were doing great. It seems there is something that grows in the fall that causes them harm.

Lane County Oregon

1 Response

It sounds as though you might be dealing with a plant that doesn't become toxic until a freeze, or one that is presents itself as being a tasty option in the fall. We don't have a person that can come out and visit, walk through and help identify all the plants for you. You can bring some samples of plants into our Lane County office and ask them to identify the plants, and send those identifications up to me (I'm in the Benton County office), and I can send you the toxicity levels.

For now - being the spring, try to start identification of plants now - mind you that just because a plant is toxic, it doesn't mean the goat will eat it. We do have a great list with visuals on our website to help start the process. http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/weeds-plants-pests has a great section on Poisonous Plants that will be a great help to start off.

Also, if you know this is an issue in the fall, I would suggest choosing a smaller area to confine the goats where you have identified the majority of the plants and reduce the variety they are accessing.

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