Poisonous Plants for Goats

We had a scare the other day, our goats got out and into a small amount of Hosta!  Googling the topic can lead to total panic since many people are of the opinion that Hosta is poisonous to Goats!  I prefer a little deeper research followed by a flesh & blood expert opinion.  Here is what I found.  Hosta IS very poisonous for dogs, cats and horses.  Interestingly supposedly deer can eat them?  No mention of goats anywhere…  Much more calm I still wanted to be sure so I turned to a Flesh and Blood expert, our local farm Veterinarian.  You guessed it, he looked into it and told me he couldn’t find any case studies to suggest Hosta is poisonous to Goats.  Of course given no solid answer he gave me the common sense advise of not worrying about is unless she ate a significant amount, and even then to keep an eye on her for any unusual behavior or bodily functions.

Ahh, a sigh of relief!  But what about other poisonous plants?  I don’t want to go through this every time they get into something.  So I’ve complied this list for our reference that I thought I would share.  But if you think your goat has consumed a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian.  Google doesn’t know everything!  Remember collect a sample of the plant you believe your goat has consumed so your veterinarian can properly identify the risk.

Some common plants are poisonous to goats and can kill them.  Here is a list of common plants that are known to cause death in goats. This list is not complete but it is a good start.

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.