interaction between wisteria + English ivy as goat forage explored further

Asked November 24, 2015, 3:29 PM EST

there was a question posted in 2013 asking about potential toxic effects of goats eating wisteria and english ivy. concern was expressed that toxic interactions may result from metabolites of compounds found in these plants if both are eaten by the same animal 'at the same time'. the query cited (without citations) a ruminant farmer and a university source. this link is where I believe the 'information' was derived:

As a goat herder and goat-scaper (I employ goats to eat invasive plants in parks, gardens and private landholdings) I have not yet tested whether these two plants can or cannot be eaten together. However, I have been asked to employ goats on a site that has both plants and I would like to investigate this before accepting the job.


1 Response

This is the first I have read or seen of this effect so I have done a little research and find very little on the effect of combined plants on animals. Most of the places I have read are related to the article you found. I have not been able to verify this in any way myself. Some of the statements seem strange to me in the article.

First, the gut does not absorb oxygen, the lungs do. Second Bloat is caused by several substances and depends on the type of bloat as to the cause. If the plants combine to create a stable foam in the animal’s rumen than they will bloat and can die, the time frame sounds about correct for untreated bloat. However there are ways to prevent this and ways to treat an animal that has bloat.

I would hate to recommend doing something that could cause problems for your herd so more research is needed to know more about what exactly is happening to cause this. Because all the references I have found tie to the article you sent me, it is difficult to provide a better answer.

Sorry I could not provide any additional information on the subject. I have checked with several sources and they all indicate that they have not seen this outside of the questions I found myself and very limited additional information.