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Goat Care and Poisonous Plants to Goats

Goats are browsers that will eat just about anything including the shirt off your back. However some common plants are poisonous to goats and can kill them. Learn what types of plants to look out for so you can keep your goats away from these areas of your farm or yard.

Here is a list of common plants belonging to the caprine species that are known to cause death in goats. This list is not complete, and there may be other plants growing on your farm that need identification. If you think your goat has consumed a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian. It is also a good idea to collect a sample of the plant you believe your goat has consumed so your veterinarian can properly identify the risk.

Alkaloid Containing Plants

Aconite Allspice Black Snake Root Bloodroot
Blue Cohosh Boxwood Celandine Common Poppy
Crotalaria Crow Poison Death Camas Dicentra
False Hellebore False Jessamine Fume Wort Hellebore
Hemp Horse Nettle Indian Hemp Indian Poke
Jimson Weed Larkspur Lobelia Lupines
Marijuana Monkshood Moonseed Nightshade
Pink Death Camas Poison Darnel Poison Hemlock Poison Rye Grass
Rattle weed Rock Poppy Senecio Spider Lily
Spotted Cowbane Spotted Water Hemlock Stagger Grass Stagger weed
Sweet Shrub Thorn Apple Varebells Wild Parsnip
Wolfs-Bane Yellow Jessamin    

Cyanogenetic Containing Plants

The following plants are usually deadly to goats when consumed in a damaged or frozen state.

Arrow Grass Black Locust Blue Cohosh Broomcarn
Buckeye Cherry Choke Cherry Corn Cockle
Dogbane Elderberry Hemp Horse Nettle
Indian Hemp Ivy Johnson Grass Kafir
Laurel Leucothoe Lily of the Valley Maleberry
Marijuana Milkweed Milo Nightshade
Oleander Rhododendron Sevenbark Silver
Sneezewood Sorghum Stagger Brush Sudan Grass
Velvet Grass White Snakeroot Wild Black Cherry Wild Hydrangea


Plants That Cause Physical Injury

Some plants, while they are not poisonous, can cause damage to the goat in other ways. For example, thorny or spiky plants can puncture or tear a goat's internal organs. Other plants that are stringy can tangle up inside a goat's intestines, causing intestinal blockages and other difficulties.

Saponin Containing Plants

  • Bagpod
  • Coffee Weed
  • Purple Sesban
  • Rattlebox
  • Soapwort

Photosensitizing Plants

Photosensitization occurs when an animal consumes a plant that contains properties which allow the plant to interact with sunlight. If a goat eats a photosensitizing plant, the goat could become overly susceptible to sunburn or heat stroke.

Common photosensitizing plants include:

  • Buckwheat
  • Goat Weed
  • Klamath Weed
  • Lantana
  • Rape
  • St. John's Wort

Resin Containing Plants

Christmas trees contain resin, and many people feed leftover Christmas trees to goats when Christmas season has ended. This may not be such a good idea, as new research indicates plants containing resin could have delayed effects and be the cause of miscarriage in pregnant goats.