Goats and pine trees

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I'm full of questions today.My husband just came in with a load of freshly cut pine limbs. I'm pretty sure I'm not suppose to give these to pregnant does, but what about to bucks and lactating does. thanks again.

-- sherry mullins (chickadee259@yahoo.com), February 26, 2001


Sherri,Pine needles are full of vitamin C and goats seem to tolerate them well.as evidenced by the pine trees around my place.That being said pine needles have been associated with abortion in pregnant does.I would suspect it would make the milk of lactating does taste like turpentine if eating garlic is any indicator of milk excretion.I'm sure you know goats are fully capable of getting too much of a good thing.

-- greg (gsmith@tricountyi.net), February 26, 2001.

I agree with Greg. We don't have pine, but we do have lots of fir and the girls are very greedy with fresh fir needles, but we only give them sparingly. They are rich, just like grain, and should be given in very small quantities as a treat. If in doubt, don't give at all to the pregnant does.

-- Skip Walton (sundaycreek@gnrac.net), February 26, 2001.

Sherry there is nothing in pine that will cause abortion. We live in the piney woods but our goats are used to eating pines. Pine needles are very high in acid and will cause rumen upset in your does, bucks, or kids if you feed them to much of this. A little of anything new like this is fine, but just like you wouldn't change overnight to a new grain mix, you also wouldn't change their roughage this quickly either. Bread, tree trimmings, snacks of any kind are great, but added slowly. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), February 26, 2001.

Vicki,So the eating pine needles will cause abortion is a wives tale?I have often suspected as much but then almost all the goat primers mention it and it becomes one of those things where you don't want to take the chance and find out.Hmmmm.I've been standing on my head every morning to keep the tigers away.Must be working because there are no tigers in the living room!.........grin.....

-- greg (gsmith@tricountyi.net), February 27, 2001.

I ditto Vicki. Our goats eat pine all the time; they love it. Maybe another wive's tale, but I've also heard the turpentine they contain helps with intestinal worms. It has been my experience that the goats eat it when the need it and lay off when they don't...it is always there for them (20 acres of white/red pine) and there haven't ever been any abortions. Like anything new and different, they'll hog it.

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), February 27, 2001.

Greg, excellent post! In our area the wives tail goes its acorns. Now very honestly though I have never really stood and watched my goats eating acrons off the ground, there certainly is a trillion of them around. I would assume, any drastic change in diet, like throwing a whole christmas tree (minus the tinsel :) to a very bred doe, who then comes down with rumen acidosis and perhaps throws her into Ketosis.....well you get it, then yes dead kids, an abortion maybe. In 15 years we have had one doe abort where we have SEEN tissue etc. I do know that does have been bred and not conceived, perhaps that also was just a mini abortion, and then they were rebred 2 months later. Who knows? I do know that when something goes wrong you really need to blame something, so if it was the pine, the acorns or Tigers................Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), February 27, 2001.

We feed our goats pine trees all the time, both pregnant and milking. We haven't had any abortions because of it, or nasty tasting milk, either. When they are well fed, goats are pretty good about knowing what is good for them.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), February 27, 2001.

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