Goats are wonderful creatures. They are among the most beautiful and intelligent animals. Goats are browsers in nature. They eat almost everything whatever they find edible in front of them. Even they eat and can consume some plants which are toxic to other livestock animals. But the question is, can goats eat oleanders? In a ward the answer is NO. Although goats can tolerate some plants which are very harmful for other animals. But oleanders are extraordinarily toxic for goats. Even oleander’s dry leaves as little as 0.005 percent of an animal’s body weight can be extremely harmful. That means, a single nibble can be very dangerous for them, even kill a goat. So avoid oleanders.
Oleanders are used as an ornamental plant and often found in landscaping. They were originated in the Mediterranean. Oleanders are very popular in some areas with low rainfall. And they require little water. Oleanders affects the heart and have the most powerful oleandrin toxin. Most of the animals naturally avoid them and don’t eat. Green oleander leaves taste bitter. Although the leaves are far more tasty when dry or compost. Goats naturally avoid green oleander leaves, but they are most likely to eat when the leaves are dry. So it’s important to keep your goats far from dry or compost oleander leaves.
Goats are ruminants. And in case of goats, poisoning symptoms start within four hours after consuming oleanders. In some cases, the first indication of oleander poisoning is sudden death. Because ‘oleandrin’ toxin in oleander plants cause heart failure. Oleandrin also cause sudden changes in heart rate (sometimes very fast and sometimes very slow). Other symptoms of oleander poisoning include weakness, lethargy, drooling or some signs of colic. And those signs include pawing, teeth grinding and abdominal pain.
You must have to contact with a vet, if you suspect your goats have consumed oleanders. If there are any veterinary hospital in your area that treats livestock, then bring your goat to the hospital as soon as possible. But if your goat has not eaten enough oleander, then it might recover with intense supportive care.
Other Poisonous Plants Like Oleander
There are many plants available which are toxic to goats. So for raising goats, oleanders are not the only plants you must worry about. Cyanogenetic plants contain prussic acid. And it can kill your goat, if the goat consumes enough amount. This type of cyanogenetic plants include horse nettle, rhododendron, lily of the valley, black nightshade, milkweed, cherry and mountain laurel. All those plants are toxic to goats. Consuming some plants containing saponins can cause bloat in goats. This type of plants include coffee weed and soapwort. You can contact with your local or county agricultural extension office to learn more about the toxic plants in your area. And always try to keep your goats far from those plants. And if possible remove these type of plants from your pasture.