• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • jordan barton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Leigh Tate
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Greg Martin
master gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • Jay Angler
gardeners:
  • Nancy Reading
  • Mike Barkley
  • Christopher Shepherd

Will goats avoid 'poisonous' plants (poke weed/berry)

 
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello all!  Finaly moving to some property...  fortunatly coincidedntal owbership and zoning issues have a allowed me to keep 2 goats as well as chickens and pigeons in the city.  My goats currently live off hay and commercial feed and I am looking forward to allowing them to browse more (but'll still feed hay and pellets).   I was walking the soon to be purchased property today and did notice a fair amount of pokeweed.  I understand this is not good for some animals including goats.  If my goats have plenty of other choices (I don't plan on using them to clear land and browse it clean), will they avoid this?  Or are my plans of moving them from their realitively small pen to a few acres or pasture and woods a bad idea because of the poke weed.  The property is mostly hardwood bottom in South Alabama, and I did not see any other plants of great concern.

Thanks in advance!
 
Posts: 45
12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can't speak for goats in particular, but I know for cows and sheep they will avoid poisonous plants so long as they have other food to eat. Sometimes they will nibble a little on a "poisonous" plant, probably for some medicinal benefit. So long as you have decent stock, they should be fine.
 
Posts: 3
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As long as they're well fed I wouldn't be concerned. I allowed mine to graze some bermuda underneath mature pokeweed with drying berries on it for a few weeks just to see. One of the goats did nibble on some berries, but she gave me a funny look the whole time and I never saw her try it again, so no harm done. I would start by feeding them before they're let out to potentially dangerous areas, and just observe their browsing. From what I understand they'll be fine once they've identified that it isn't a particularly edible plant, but it is a learning process for the individual goat.
 
pollinator
Posts: 259
Location: Hamburg, Germany
70
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Of course the down side is that if they're eating everything but the poisonous plants, the poisonous plants will spread.

The more general idea is that animals will eat their preferred foods first, leaving lesser plants to thrive, which is why Polyface Farm and others confine them to a small area at a time, for just long enough that the animals have to eat less preferred plants as well and nothing gets out of balance.  Of course that means they have to keep an eye on the "non-preferred" plants not being poisonous, and I don't know how they handle that.

If you're allowing a much less intensive graze, you wouldn't have to keep as close an eye but you might be selecting for poisonous plants on a slower scale. It's of course your option how you want to control them in that case.
 
Posts: 426
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
93
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If goats get into something they don't like they will spit and sneeze and look generally disgusted, even stamp on it.  Supposedly it is possible to teach them what is bad by demonstrating with the poisonous plant and then letting them sniff it themselves to learn that what you have shown them is undesirable.
 
I'm doing laundry! Look how clean this tiny ad is:
paul's patreon stuff got his videos and podcasts running again!
https://permies.com/t/patreon
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic