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Poultry and Livestock: Oak leaves & Goats - question

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dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2008
12:25 PM

Post #4845523

Is it true that oak leaves are toxic to goats?
I read in one place feeding oak leaves to your goats give them sweeter milk... then later I read that it's toxic to goats and can actually cause death.

Does anyone have the facts on this one?
Dove
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

April 22, 2008
12:43 PM

Post #4845595

Dove,

I'm new to goats and my very first will be here May 6th. I went looking for that kind of informations and found a few good pages on the subject of plants that were or might be poisonous to goats.

http://www.sweetlix.com/user_files/File/articles/Goat_016.pdf
http://fiascofarm.com/goats/poisonousplants.htm (this one has oak leaves as edible but warns not to overdo it)
http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/goatlist.html (this one from Cornell University says they are poisonous but does not warn against Black Walnuts which other list say are bad!)

I'm afraid the information out there is mixed. If you've got other options I wouldn't give it to them. For some plants it seems that the fresh leaves are okay but dried or wilted ones have become poisonous.

MollyD
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2008
2:23 PM

Post #4846160

Molly,
eeps!
Black Walnut too? I don't have any goats ... yet.
I'm learning and preparing myself.
I know goats will browse, graze and nibble on just about anything. There are so many oak and maple trees on our property (and all over our area) I don't see how you can keep them totally out of the stuff.

Thanks for the links,
Dove
Catscan
Lodi
United States

April 22, 2008
2:33 PM

Post #4846228

Hi dovey. I don't think you need to worry too much. Most animals won't eat common potentially toxic plants like oaks and walnuts unless you mix it in their feed. They might take a bit or two, but that is not enough to do any damage. Some plants like Oleander can be extremely dangerous--my vet's horse died from nibbling on that. But it is an exotic. You might talkto local growers/farmers and see if they have any conerns--or speak to your local Agricultural Extension agent. There should be one for livestock. A lot of edible plants contain some toxic chemicals, but you have to eat an awful lot to get even a stomach ache.
truest
Johnson City, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 22, 2008
3:47 PM

Post #4846738

My goats browse heavily on green growing oak
leaves. All of our properties around here have goats
in oak studded fields, and you can see the browse
line where the goats eat up as far as they can. They
also leave the dead leaves alone. If a goat is starving
and eats the wilted dead, it may be toxic, as if a horse
eats wilted fallen plum leaves it will kill it. In plum, as
an example, the toxins formed inhibit the blood from
carrying oxygen, causing brain cell death first. I would
not worry about them having access to oak at all- I am
actually thankful for it when the summers fry all the green
grass- it gives them more green to go for.
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

April 22, 2008
3:49 PM

Post #4846749

truest seems to be the same for Cherrys. The owner of CJ Hill Farm told us the standing cherries were no problem but any that had fallen were toxic.

MollyD
truest
Johnson City, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 22, 2008
3:55 PM

Post #4846811

That's good to know, then. Seems a lot of stuff
turns into something ugly when it's 'fried'. I can see
a young inexperienced animal accidently getting
a bit if dead leaves while grazing or browsing, or trying
new things for the first time. If they live, hopefully
they won't do that again.
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2008
4:33 PM

Post #4846997

Cat
Having lived in California where they used Oleander everywhere I know it's extremely toxic to humans and animals.
I appreciate the goat common sense reassurance, my aunt & uncle raised goats and although I didn't experience the daily ins-an-outs it didn't seem as if they were a real troublesome animal.

Cheers
Dove
dovey
Columbus, OH
(Zone 5b)

April 22, 2008
4:42 PM

Post #4847039

Hi Truest,
So it's more the dry leaves you should be careful of. Good to know.

Just trying to gather all the knowledge I can before we take the leap.
truest
Johnson City, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 22, 2008
5:05 PM

Post #4847170

I wouldn't even worry about being careful about the
dried oak leaves. My oaks push off their dead leaves
all at the same time, right before they pollenate and
grow new- the goats just naturally leave them alone, and
they are on the ground everywhere. So, not to worry
about your goats and oaks..
One thing about goats and fences- they love to rub on
fences for a scratch, and they will warp and bend it so
bad that it becomes a non-fence. We have 2x3 inch goat
wire fences, and we string one strand of barbed wire
along the bottom about mid shoulder high and this keeps
them from caving in the fences. Other than providing
a good chow and salt-mineral block, they are really
care free animals to raise. They like to have things to get
up on so they can oversee the world, and though I haven't
had to use it yet, the vet supplies sell a lice rinse you can
pour on with a bucket, or sponge on. Hope this helps.
neofarmer
Poulsbo, WA

April 22, 2008
5:22 PM

Post #4847266

Hello, this is my first post here. I have been lurking here
for some time and find the information very valuable.
I have three Pygmy goats, and the doe is due next month.
Here in the Pacific Northwest there are tons of wild
rhododendrums which are extremely toxic to goats,
either fresh or dead and unfortunately they will eat them.
Just one nibble on a leaf and they will die.
Most fruit tree leaves are also toxic, especially when dry.
There aren't many oak trees here, so can't help with that one.
The plant list at fiasco farms is excellent, so when in doubt,
limited access would be advisable, IMHO. Good luck!
MollyD1953
Columbia, TN
(Zone 7b)

April 22, 2008
7:45 PM

Post #4847841

Thanks neofarmer! I've got a few rhodies but black walnuts kill them so I don't have many of them or azaleas. I will keep my girls away from the few I have.

truest we're building a large rock mound for our goats. We placed it in the middle of their area so they can't use it to jump over the fence from. At the very bottom we placed concrete rubble that they will never come in touch with. Next has been smaller stones and dirt. Now will come larger rocks and a few boulders with more dirt in between to keep their legs from slipping through. They should get lots of exercise with it. We're making the final height around 5' with a spread of 15 to 20'

MollyD
truest
Johnson City, TX
(Zone 8b)

April 24, 2008
9:30 PM

Post #4859066

That sounds great, Molly. The high places make
them feel safe, give them a vue, and frankly they
like all the climbing places.

Helllo, neofarmer and welcome to DG! Hope you
make some nice friends, there are plenty to choose
from. Personally, I like them all--- :o)

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