Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Goats Eat

Penny discovers that she likes daisies.

I want to get this note out of the comments and onto the main page of this blog.

Milkweed is poisonous to goats and sheep.

One article I read says that symptoms begin at 2% of body weight.  Assuming that the goats weigh 30  pounds right now, that would be 0.6 pounds of milkweed each.  Another article said 0.2% of body weight, which is much less.

The onesy-twosy leaves that they've been eating haven't come close to that threshold, and I suspect they'd self-limit how much they eat.  But nonetheless - I went around the yard last night while talking on the phone to a new potential Mr and pushed down all the milkweeds I saw.  I'll go back later and pull or dig them out.

I know that some other things on my property are poisonous to goats, the rhododendron and the pieris to start.  I've read some long lists of poisonous plants and have been advised that some of the items on the list aren't actually poisonous, or aren't very poisonous, like english ivy.

But what about bracken fern?  I've got TONs of fern at my place - methinks I need to learn the difference between bracken fern and any other type of fern.  If bracken fern is bad - are other ferns absolutely OK, or are all ferns somewhat bad?

What about stone fruit, like the cherries and apricots about 60 feet from the goat shed?  Apparently some cherries are bad and some are not.  Hm, and Hm again.  This looks like a long-term research project, but worth it.  This is something that I absolutely need to know, and know well.


  1. The first sentence reminds me of an old tv show from the 60s/70s: Please Don't Eat the Daisies. So funny. It should be changed to this: Please Don't Eat the Milkweed.

  2. So funny! I always start singing the old song that starts, "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do."