Walnut trees in pasture. Safe?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Diana/KY, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. Diana/KY

    Diana/KY Well-Known Member

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    Hi, I'd like to fence off more of our land for our goats. The section I've chosen has a stand of walnut trees in it and before I start fencing I need to know if this is safe. I've heard that animals will not eat what's growing under a walnut tree because it tastes bad. My horses never did when they were in with walnut trees. But, with the way goats like to taste everything I'm kind of worried. I looked on several goat sites with lists of poisonous plants and did not find walnuts trees listed, but thought I'd ask here in case someone would know. Thanks for any help. Diane
     
  2. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Goats LOVE black walnut trees, and they eat ours all the time. Won't hurt them a bit. They eat some of the hulls off the nut when they start falling in the fall and they love the foliage. I try to give mine access to as much as I can. :)
     

  3. Wingdo

    Wingdo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi Diana from KY!

    Long time no hear from!

    About the walnut trees:

    I've heard folks on some "horse" boards cry, scream, and holler rape, about black walnut trees in their pastures... "Oh my, that'll kill your horses" faster than lightning!

    My opinion is, yeah, if you have a stupid horse... it probably deserves to die if it's dumb enough to eat the walnuts! I read it, laughed about it, and didn't bother to post because I'd rather keep the peace than get a bunch of know-it-all folks hollering at me! Our horses wouldn't eat a black walnut at gun point!

    As for the goats eating them:

    Well... mine do a bang-up job on the saplings and leave the rest as squirrel bait. Of the 12 acres up on the ridge (where most of our goats are located during the winter) I'd say a good 25% of the trees up there are/were walnuts... at least they were before the goats had their way with them. Over the past five years that number has dwendled a bit, since my goats have probably wiped out dang near every wild walnut sapling on the place! That number is more like 10% (all mature big trees) now, with alot of "new" patches of orchard grass, timothy, and even a good stand of bluegrass on the southern slope! Oh... and not one goat has come to me with so much as a belly-ache!

    I'll probably catch it over this, but ain't that what friends are for...?

    In my opinion, and this is just an opinion mind you, many animals have a way of "self-treating/medicating" for parasites as long as there's a way for them to do it, and they are not starving to death... except for a cow, who'll eat anything because they ain't real bright. A few bittersweet bushes, a couple of black locusts spouts, a walnut tree or twelve, and my animals have not "needed" to be wormed yet (5 years)... and still don't need to be (according to their spring samples). I think some folks get too careful sometimes, especially when an animal has instincts that we can only imagine... that is since us people have discovered the mighty "Doctor," who can cure it all for us, and we can let our "instincts" fall by the wayside.

    Remember, this is just my opinion!
    Wingdo
     
  4. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    I've got loads of black walnuts and hickory, also oaks (acorns), and locust(pods and seeds)all of which the goats eat, nuts, pods, and seeds plus foliage. Ther is plenty of other browse too. My horse also shares the pastures and no one has ever been made ill from it. the only thing I DID see a goat become ill from(a day or so) was I had one buck kid that ate a cone from a cerdar tree. I watched him because I'd never seen a goat eat one before. He was okay, but I'm sure if he'd eatten a lot he wouldn't have been. He was purchased at an auction and not with his mom. Could've been the first cedar he'd seen. Most of the time the does teach their kids what and how much is safe.
     
  5. Diana/KY

    Diana/KY Well-Known Member

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    Thankyou ozark_jewels, fricknfarm and Wingdo for the replies. I feel o.k. now about fencing in that area. Just one more thing... Will the mature Walnut trees be damaged by the goats?
    Wingdo! Long time no talk! I've wondered if you were still around. I have to say, I agree with your opinions about animals and their instincts. The only thing about a goat that I have seen is that they tend to overeat, like many other animals, if the opportunity arises. I lost a doe last fall and the only thing I could tell that could have happened to her is that she ate way to many acorns. We have an old oak tree in the pasture. Usually the goats will eat on the acorns, but the tree never really produced enough to hurt them. This last time there was an abundance of acorns from this tree and my "hog" goat (there's one in every herd) ate them till they made her sick. That's one reason I was kinda worried about the walnuts.
    It's good to see you're still around Wingdo. Thanks again for the help.
     
  6. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

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    ours dindnt bark the walnut trees, they just ate the leafy foliage up to a hight they could no longer reach, mature trees were fine,
    now i did have them bark Elm, and Locust (only the younger trees) and a little bit on the Mallberry.
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Ours have never hurt our large walnut trees. They just eat the leaves they can reach and hulls off the nuts in the fall. They will strip any young trees they can bend so as to reach all the leaves. But large tres should be totally safe. :)
     
  8. Wingdo

    Wingdo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh yes Diana, I'm still around... and, according to my pants, getting bigger around every day!

    I will agree 100% with KSasguy... mine do love a good elm! I think they'd rather eat the elms than anything on the place... as long as they can get their big mouths around it, just write it down as "skinned!"

    Personally, I think a goat does more good than harm in most woods... as long as there's no serious chance of errosion and you stay on top of keeping the hills sown in a deep rooted grass. Although I do hate fescue, it does do a bang up job of keeping the side of the hill on the hill! I mix it with a better grass (timothy, orchard grass, blue grass, etc.) you can have pretty nice spots of graze that the animals can wander through on their way.

    The only thing mine do to a walnut tree is park under one once in a great while... which means a little pee and a ton of fertlizer.

    Wingdo