|Poisonous Plants- Protect Your Nigerian Dwarf and
Pygmy Goats From Illness or Death
Your Nigerian dwarf or pygmy goats will eat poisonous weeds or plants and it is important to check your
lot or pasture before placing them out to graze. Check the photos below for some of the more common
Locoweeds reduce reproductive performance in male goats and affect almost every aspect of
reproduction in the female. Locoweed ingestion is detrimental to both male and female Nigerian dwarf
and pygmy goats.
Prevention of Poisoning
Prevention of poisoning and birth defects induced by lupines, poison-hemlock and Nicotiana spp. can be
accomplished by using a combination of management techniques. Some of them are coordinating
grazing times, changing time of breeding, reducing plant population through herbicide treatment,
managing grazing to maximize grass coverage, and intermittent grazing. Veratrum belongs to the
Liliaceae family and is a poisonous plant.
Ponderosa pine needles and snakeweeds cause abortions while lupine plants, poison-hemlock, and
Nicotiana glauca cause congenital malformations. See photos below for identification.
Symptoms of Poisoning
Clinical signs of poisoning are most likely caused by neurotoxic cevanine alkaloids present in most
species of Veratrum. Control of Veratrum is relatively easy with herbicides. Keeping sheep and other
livestock species off pastures, containing them during the first trimester of pregnancy is another method.
The recognition that poisonous plants may have a major impact on reproductive performance is relatively
new and not fully realized.
Other plants, trees and weeds to watch out for:
- Bracken Fern cab cause aplastic anemia.
- Bermudagrass, Johnsongrass, Sorghum Forage, Laurel Cherry, Choke Cherry and Black Cherry can cause
- Oleander, Gossypol, Mountain Laurel, Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Leucothea, Lyonia, Japanese Yew, Ergot and
some Fescue can cause cardiovascular dysfunction.
- Tung Oil Tree, Buttercup, Privet, Bladderpod, Rattlebox, Tallow Tree, Nightshades, Death Camas and Pokeweed
can cause gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Aflatoxins, Cocklebur, Crotalaria, Lantana, Moldy Forage and Bluegreen Algae can cause hepatic failure.
- Coffee Senna and Sicklepod are known to cause muscle dysfunction.
- Dallisgrass, Bermudagrass, Carolina Jessamine, Phalaris, Buckeye, Water Hemlock, Poison Hemlock,
Zigadenus spp and White Snakeroot are believed to cause nervous system symptoms.
- Corn Stalks, Sorghum, Millet, Ryegrass, Bermudagrass, Wheat, Amaranthus are known to cause nitrate or nitrite
- Perilla Mint, Sweet Potato, Pasture Forages and Peanut Hay are known to cause pulmonary dysfunction.
- Oak, Amaranthus and Dock can cause kidney failure.