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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was doing some reading last night, and read an article concerning hay for goats. It said that white clover is toxic to goats. Is this true?
 

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I hope it's not because mine eat it out in their pastures. :) It does have a toxin in it though that makes horses drool like a broken water faucet. Never seen it kill one, but nearly all horses on pasture around here are slinging obnoxious amounts of drool, mostly down my back and all over the hoof stand when I'm trimming their feet. The goats do not seem similarly affected.
 

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The article could have been talking about white SWEET clover which is very tall and IS toxic during certain stages/conditions. In general, I think you shouldn't worry!

Chris
 

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I have also read that milkweed is toxic. It's out where my goats browse and they eat it (not in massive amounts, but some) and no ill effects here. They had been eating it before I read that it was toxic, so it kind of surprised me. So I watched them to see if in fact there was any ploppy poop or belly upset or anything. Nope, nothing.
 

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Many of the toxins in plants have no visible effect until a certain level of consumption.
Because they do not get visibly sick does not mean they are not being harmed. We learned this the hard way by using a wooded area for wethers that has some croton plants around the perimeter where there was more sun. It is rated as toxic but it also is of little attraction to most animals that are well fed but you know boys ;) This group of wethers failed to do what our meat crop normally does. They stopped growing and started loosing weight and it was slow but definite. We did not have freezer space for all of them at once so butchered in a cycle that let the last one become fairly awful looking before we killed him for dog food. I could not figure it out but finally saw that the tops of the croton were eaten off and saw the little dope eating some. So I read up on it and as with many toxins those in Croton are slow and subtle acting to interfere with normal nutrition uptake rather than making them 'sick'. Croton causes the interference of protein metabolization and so malnutrition no matter what is being fed.

White clover may take some getting used to - ie- loose stools if it is very fertile but grown in combination with grasses esp fast growing grasses it is not a toxin in our herd. I plant it when ever I see that there seems to be less of it flowering and the goats do not gorge on it. Our combination in summer pasture includes white clover and several types of clover goes into our fall mix. I think reports of toxicity come from excessive nitrogen uptake causing nitrate/nitrite poisoning which can be accomplished with any legume.
Lee
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ahhhh.....I feel much better now. Last year I planted my pasture using a white clover-grass hay mixture, which the guy at TSC said it was good for goats. I just got my fencing all done around the pasture, and I'm getting ready to turn them loose, so I just about went thru the roof when I read that last night about it being toxic, thinking I had gone thru all that work for nothing. The clover is plentyful on half of the acre, but the grass hay and thistles have taken over the other half. Luckily the grass hay heavy side is where I am going to start the goats, as the other half is for my broilers.

Thanks everyone for clearing this up.
 

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I read this conversation with relief. I just bought goats with the intention of have them graze with my horses. My pasture has 50/50 grass and white clover. I went through the ceiling when I heard the goats can't graze this clover! I have spent soooooo much money on fencing and paying labor costs to fence the pasture adequately for the goats!

So I am a bit more relieved to see they can eat it. Introduce it slowly (I'm really unsure how I can manage this) and I'll buy them a bloat block.
 
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