Allow goats to eat pine needles, boughs, etc?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by jad44, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. jad44

    jad44 Well-Known Member

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    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.

    thanks !
     
  2. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    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. :)
     

  3. Scrounger

    Scrounger Well-Known Member

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    Thankfully, goats DO eat pine and Cedar trees. They grow like weeds here. SOMETHING needs to kill them.....

    I have photos of mine resting IN the trees about 2 feet off the ground. They have "cleaned up" several of the cedars I have in the barn yard.
     
  4. QoTL

    QoTL Thinking up a great tag

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    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.
     
  5. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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    Goats can be picky sometimes, too. :)

    Allow only a moderate amount of anything new. For example, don't change them 100% from hay to pine needles all at once. Making a change gradually can prevent digestive distress.
     
  6. kerrinatoz

    kerrinatoz Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  7. jad44

    jad44 Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  8. mulemama

    mulemama Active Member

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    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
     
  9. BlueHeronFarm

    BlueHeronFarm Well-Known Member

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    Yew - which is an evergeen - is very toxic to goats. I would try to ID what you have before feeding.

    Our goats love when we give them a trimmed branch off of our big cedar tree. Just cut some today...lucky girls.
     
  10. fishhead

    fishhead Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My goats love nasty old pitchy jackpines but only in the fall and winter. They'll eat the other pines and some cedar but prefer the jacks. They turn their noses up at all of them now in summer.
     
  11. crazygoatgal

    crazygoatgal Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  12. jad44

    jad44 Well-Known Member

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    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 -
     
  13. deafgoatlady

    deafgoatlady Well-Known Member

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    Actually ceder or pines is good for the goats becuz it is naturally dewomer.
     
  14. barelahh

    barelahh Well-Known Member

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    If you raise goats for meat, the meat will taste like turpentine if they eat pine. :)
     
  15. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Do you have personal experience with that happening? I know folks who feed pine/fir/evergreen to their goats and NO complaints about funky food flavor in the final products.
     
  16. CaliannG

    CaliannG She who waits.... Supporter

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    Pine and cedar browse also will lower parasite loads. Not so much that you should quit worming or anything, but they do have a positive effect on worm loads. :)
     
  17. LittleRedHen

    LittleRedHen Well-Known Member Supporter

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    if I could keep my goats OUT of my large pine trees they would be allowed to free range. Hubby wasn't happy when goats in the past ate the bark off his trees and devoured a lot of his limbs
     
  18. harvestmoonfarm

    harvestmoonfarm Louisa, VA

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    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!