I'm very new at raising goats. I got them to clean up weeds, and have a host of weeds growing in my windbreak - but the limbs of the white pine and other pine (evergreen) trees hang so low, that they eat those needles - is this a practice to allow? I have not turned them in there yet, but plan to put up an electric fence to keep them under the trees - great place to eat and be in shade at the same time. Please advise; I know goats eat anything, but how much pine needles can they handle? What they've reached from where they are, the tree is bare.
Some pine needles/sticks/bark won't hurt them at all. My goats relish all pines. Pine does contain phenol and some other slightly toxic components, so obviously you wouldn't want to make pine their entire roughage ration.
Goats will also peel off pine bark and kill the tree. I have a mix of dead, debarked jackpines and chicken-wire-wrapped live white pines in my windbreak.
My goats love pine needles. Kinda like candy lol! We only have 2 evergreens on our property, so they don't get to touch them, but my dad is always clearing brush at his place, so I haul those back with me.
Fresh pine needles have vitamin C which is great but the ingestion of them in goats that are pregnant has been linked to miscarriage. So around here, they are given a fresh treat but not for any of the does carrying.
I have so many weeds in the windbreak, so they'll deffinitely have plenty of variety - but they will get their usual ration of hay in the morning like I always give them - if I don't one little one (these are all my young goats from this past winter)will remind me "something is missing" - she is a real cutie! So thanks everyone for your input - I greatly appreciate this as I sure don't want to lose them because of my ignorance - rest assured, I treat them like they were my kids - each has a name and each gets prime time petting each feeding.... only one does not like to be petted, but he will be a market goat anyway - I want my young nannys to be tame.
there are trees in the south called chinaberries (a junk tree)which have small white berries goats love. however, the berries cause constipation in goats. my goats have learned that eating the berries cause pain so they don't eat them any more. smart goats! tanya
Make sure you don't have Hemlock among your evergreens. One advantage to pine needles is when they burp in your face, their breath will smell good!! I have heard that some evergreen during pregnancy is safe, but not too much. I don't know if this is right or not so hopefully someone like Vicki will chime in and correct me if I am wrong.
I mainly have the white pine and a short needled pine that has a lot of cones... mostly horseweed as they call it here, and no hemlock - thankfully. So, they could be happy campers out there... lots of bark for them to chew on since we had ice storms last winter, there is a lot of downed limbs... know they love them -
I know this is an old thread, but my goat kids (3.5 months old) have all been having a horrible time with throwing cud (short version of story) lately - it lasts for a day, goes away, then comes back and goes away again. My vet, as well as some folks online, mentioned the possibility of pine needles causing it. Someone mentioned something about milk and pine needles not mixing well in a preruminant stomach. Can anyone point me to more info? We now have the kids out in the yard on grass, and are moving all goats out of the area containing pine trees tomorrow. I just want to read more about this for future reference. Thanks!