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Are elderberry leaves toxic to goats

 
                    
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Location: Central Croatia
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I've read articles where people say elderberries would be great for goat forage and then others say the leaves are toxic.  I'm about to put 10 goats into an area that has many established elderberries, is this ok?  Anyone have experience?
 
Tyler Ludens
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I would definitely make sure they have plenty of other plants to choose from.

http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/goatlist.html
 
Melba Corbett
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Riki wrote:
I've read articles where people say elderberries would be great for goat forage and then others say the leaves are toxic.  I'm about to put 10 goats into an area that has many established elderberries, is this ok?  Anyone have experience?


In an old herbal book I have it states that elderberry leaves grazed by sheep cure them of hoof rot, so it is a medicine plant.  My goats eat some, but I don't let them access a lot.  We like to keep them producing for us instead of the goats.  I make elderberry syrup and jelly.  They've never had a problem with a small amount of leaves, don't know what large amounts would do.  The previous post recommending various forages is a very good idea I think. 
 
Seren Manda
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I know raw elderberries are toxic to humans-- not sure about goats though. Something to keep in mind.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Me and my goats have eaten many many elderberries
 
hannah ransom
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Seren Manda wrote:I know raw elderberries are toxic to humans-- not sure about goats though. Something to keep in mind.


Huh. Really? I've eaten a few raw and was fine. I guess there is just a threshold?
 
Kat deZwart
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Most goats love it and and I've never seen problems with it. I used to pick elderberryleaves in the woods and feed the goats in the communal animalpatch with it. My greatgrandma taught me that.
Elder contains toxic compounds (I believe it's cyanide-ish stuff), but like some many things, there's a world of difference between the natural occuring toxins and isolated chemical toxins. My guess is that the plant contains it's own balancing ingredients.
I've also eaten many raw elderberries, no probs. That said, I wouldn't worry if my goats snack on my elderberry trees, but I wouldn't rely on it as a primairy foodsource... to much of a good thing probably.
 
Melba Corbett
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There is a difference in toxicity levels between Sambucus Nigra, (European varieties), and Sambucus Canadensis (American varieties), and then there is the Sambucus Racemose (red variety of berries). Young plants are apparently more toxic. With goats, it may depend on how much they eat of it. If they have plenty of variety and not overly hungry they tend to not eat as much of a toxic plant. My goats frequently eat elderberry and have never had problems. I knew a lady who juiced the berries, including the unripe ones and got very sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Heating or cooking the berries neutralizes the toxins. Goats can often ingest plants people or other livestock cannot eat, with no problems. Probably best to proceed with caution, maybe try one or two animals first to see if they get sick from it, before turning the whole herd in.

Melba
 
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