Anyone have goats in with bracken fern?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by opus, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Do they go for it or will they bypass it? There is plenty other things to eat. I have not dealt with goats with this trashy weed.
     
  2. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    I have one goat that likes ferns, and one goat that doesn't. So based on my critters you have a 50/50 chance of them eating your bracken fern.
     

  3. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    I cant tell you how much this has helped me. *;o)
     
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I know. :p

    What can I say? Goats are funny contrary critters. One thinks orange peels are icky, the other one can't get enough of them. One day sunflower seeds are great, the next day they won't eat them at all.
     
  5. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    We had upwards of 650 goats, but never bracken fern, which is poisonous. I now am at a place with this fern and I need to find someone that has dealt with this.
     
  6. Dee

    Dee Well-Known Member

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    When I had just one pygmy goat, she died from continuously eating it (didn't know it was there)and I'm assuming it destroyed her liver.

    My other does also ate it but there were more of them and less of the fern. They are fine and I no longer have the fern growing in their pastures.

    Maybe if you pull it up and they eat any little stuff left?
     
  7. elly_may

    elly_may Well-Known Member

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    I would eliminate as much of the weed as you can. For ruminants, bracken fern will cause bruising, excessive bleeding, causing anemia and possibility of death.

    From Purdue University Vet hospital:
    In ruminants: Bleeding disorders (bruising, hemorrhaging, anemia), breathing difficulties, weight loss, death

    However, other toxins in bracken affect ruminants, most notably ptaquiloside, a lactone toxin that affects the bone marrow. The toxin is present in all parts of the plant, but is concentrated in the rhizomes, and is toxic in fresh as well as dried plants. Consumption of bracken results in the depression of bone marrow (and thus red and white blood cell and platelet production), and the plant has a direct or indirect anti-coagulant property. Cattle show signs after grazing bracken for 1 to 2 months, although death may occur within this time frame as well. Affected cattle have an increased temperature, weight loss, and exhibit increased bruising and bleeding. From the excessive bleeding, cattle are anemic, and can die within a week of showing signs. Young cattle may develop swelling in the larynx and have difficulty breathing. Sheep may be poisoned in a similar manner, but are apparently more reluctant to consume bracken.

    For ruminants: Immediately remove cattle from bracken pastures, or fence off the bracken areas to limit access. Do not feed hay or bed animals on straw that contains bracken. A veterinarian can assist with treatment of affected animals, but this may be cost prohibitive. Evacuation of the rumen and intestinal tract is usually not of value, since the poison accumulates in the system for many days, and there may be little or no toxin remaining in the digestive tract to be removed once clinical signs appear. Treatment is concerned with alleviating the clinical signs and providing supportive care. Blood transfusions may be attempted, but the prognosis is poor for clinically affected animals.


    SAFETY IN PREPARED FEEDS: Bracken remains toxic when dry, and is never safe for consumption.

    PREVENTION: Grazing animals should not be allowed access to bracken fern, especially if they have developed a taste for it.

    Here is a link to the whole article:
    http://www.vet.purdue.edu/depts/addl/toxic/plant23.htm

    Keep your goaties healthy - get rid of toxins they may be tempted to ingest.
     
  8. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    I was aware of that part of it. This country is 75% bracken fern, 25% weed and grass, that is, where there are trees. There is no chance to remove it. There is no herbicide that will remove it effectively either.
    We graze cattle and horses in it with no troubles. I am more concerned with whether goats will leave it alone or if they will go right to it, leaving all the other edible things.

    I have not seen anything eat it to this date.

    Thanks for the info though.
     
  9. belinda

    belinda Member

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    If your 'bracken fern' is the same as mine (in Australia - Pteridium esculentum)
    I have kept goats in a yard with bracken without a problem. The goats are not interested in eating it. However, if it grows thick it will prevent/inhibit grass growth, so your goats lose grazing ground.
     
  10. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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  11. starkravenmad2

    starkravenmad2 Active Member

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  12. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Our cows and horses wont touch the stuff, that I have noticed at least.