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Toxic Plants

There are many plants that are harmful to goats once consumed, with each plant possible able to give many or different side effects. The best practice for reducing animal poisonings is to assume all garden shrubs are potentially toxic, and research any plants which are present.

Some plants will have a delayed poisoning following consumption, and the plant toxicity may change dependant on whether they are fresh or dried. The following lists should be used as a guide only.

Plants that cause sudden death:

  • Yew
  • Rhododendron
  • Laurel
  • Linseed
  • Foxglove
  • Water dropwort
  • Bracken fern

Plants that cause goitre and stillbirth:

  • Brassica species
  • Linseed
  • Some clovers



Treatments following poison consumption

Please seek advice from your vet for the best treatment for your goats.

The following first-aid treatment was created with advise given from a veterinarian, that was used to save seven of the secretary’s goats which had consumed rhododendrons:


  • Baking soda
  • Paraffin oil
  • Drench gun
  • Bucket.


Dissolve one tablespoon of baking soda in two litres of warm water.

Drench each affected animal with 120mls of the mixture. (If this mixture is not kept down, then re-drench animals after a short period).

Allow an interval of at least 25 minutes, then drench animals with 25mls of pure paraffin oil.


The baking soda neutralises any excess acid which forms in the stomach following consumption of toxic plant material. The paraffin oil is then speeds up the elimination of the offending stomach contents. By the following day animals should be healthy.


Note: It also pays to have some Atropine on hand, which will cover you in the event of any future poisonings.

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