Goats & Poison Ivy

Discussion in 'Goats' started by cowboy joe, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. cowboy joe

    cowboy joe Hired Hand

    Sep 13, 2003
    western New York
    The last nubians I had were extremely found of eating poison ivy. I was always careful not to handle them for a least a day or two after I brought them in from that area...that was tough to do considering I couldn't stop fast without having one of them bump into my backside.

    I've heard that goats has a natural enzyme in their coats that neutralizes the orushiol, the irritant in poison ivy which causes the blisters. Has anyone else heard this? Supposely, the goats would be safe to handle after a short period of time without the fear of getting poison ivy. I would wash up really well anyway but a small exposure sure beats having it rubbed all over you.

    I'm asking because I have recently found a very large patch of ivy next to one of the fields. I'm not very found of using chemicals, especially in the quanity needed to remove such a large patch. I'm also not very keen on the idea of removing all the vines by hand if I can avoid it.

    I am currently 'between goats' if you will but am considering getting some in the spring...quiet ones mind you, not nubians! :D I had hoped to use the goats to clear out some fairly large areas of brush, including the areas with the poison ivy. I won't have to worry about milking if I get wethers of unfreshened does during the spring & figure they should be OK if I rotate them in different pastures so they don't eat too much ivy at a time...will they get sick if they eat too much?

    Any advice will be very helpful...there is not a lot of information out there on this topic...besides, experience is always the best teacher. Thanks.
  2. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 4, 2002
    I hadn't heard about them eventually neutralizing the oils. Nice idea if it works. I don't really see how eating it could hurt the goats at all, but I have gotten it from my goats. Since you won't be milking, I'd say go for it, and just wear gloves when you handle them.

  3. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

    May 26, 2004
    dunno about that, my goats eat it too , but most of them get "ivy mouth"
    little blisters on the mouths and etc .
  4. Al. Countryboy

    Al. Countryboy Well-Known Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Over the last four years my nubians have almost done away with the poison ivy on our place. I don't think that they have ever had any problems from eating it. My wife has had to go to the doctor a couple of times from them rubbing up against her though. :( :( I have read where that by drinking the milk that you do build up some resistance when the goats have eaten poison ivy. I don't get it as bad as I did years ago. My wife rarely drink goats milk so that this may reason she still has major problems with poison ivy. :eek: :eek: