Avocados are a nutritious tropical “veggie” that is packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, and more importantly to us absolutely delicious.
Goats are herbivorous browsers, which means that your goats’ diet includes just about anything plant-related: leaves, twigs, flowers, and fruits.
So it makes sense that goats could like avocados, then. But can goats eat avocado safely?
No, avocados are seriously toxic for goats. Avocados contain a substance called persin, which is poisonous to many animals, including goats. Persin is found in all parts of the avocado, including leaves, seeds, flesh and skin. Eating just a small amount of avocado can cause health problems in goats, and large amounts or parts with concentrated persin can even be fatal.
Yikes. Avocados are nutritious, but that nutrition won’t do your goats any good. You should never feed avocado to your goats or anything made with avocado.
Keep reading and you can learn why avocados are so harmful for goats and what you should do if they eat them.
Avocados are Poisonous for Goats
For years, we’ve been told that avocados are a superfood packed with nutrients that are beneficial for our health.
But are avocados really harmful for goats? Yes, and the reason is that avocados contain a toxin called persin.
Persin, though relatively harmless to humans, can be quite dangerous for animals. In fact, it can easily cause vomiting and diarrhea in other mammals, damage to mammary glands and it can even be fatal in some cases.
At any rate, it is bad news and death from persin poisoning is a bad, bad way to go.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to ban avocados from your home, you just need to keep them away from your animals; the persin is only harmful if ingested.
Never, ever feed avocados to your goats, or other mammals!
Can Goats Eat Avocado Raw?
No, raw avocados are toxic to goats.
Can Goats Eat Avocado Flesh?
No. Though the flesh of the avocado contains the lowest amount of toxins, typically, it is still unsafe for goats.
Can Goats Eat Avocado Skins?
No! The skin of the avocado often contains high levels of persin, and goats may readily eat it, making it a dangerous threat.
Can Goats Eat Avocado Pits?
No way, though rock hard, and unlikely to be eaten by goats the “pit” or seed of the avocado is packed with persin and highly toxic.
Can Goats Eat Avocado Leaves?
I’m afraid not. Avocado leaves contain persin, too. So if you have an avocado tree on your property or fruit that have leaves still attached, keep your goats away from them.
All Parts of the Avocado Plant are Toxic
The bottom line is this: every, single part of the avocado plant, from the roots to the fruits, is toxic to goats. So, if you want to keep your herd, avoid feeding them avocados at all costs!
Can Goats Eat Avocado Cooked?
No. Cooking avocados does not eliminate the toxins responsible for causing harm.
Can Goats Eat Guacamole?
Nice try, but no. Guacamole is made from several extra ingredients besides avocado, and none of them neutralize persin.
Effects of Avocado Toxicosis in Goats
So, what exactly does persin do to goats? Persin is a toxin that attacks the goat’s heart and lungs, and can also harm the mammary glands of females.
It can cause fluid accumulation around the lungs, making it difficult for the goat to breathe. Persin can also cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea and vomiting.
In severe cases, avocado toxicity can lead to death, usually by cardiac failure.
This is nasty stuff, and acute poisoning is a bad, bad way to die. You don’t want that to happen to your goat, do you? Then don’t feed them avocados, at all.
Kids are Especially Vulnerable to Avocado Toxins
Of particular concern is the vulnerability of baby goats, kids, to persin. Because their immune and other bodily systems are not yet fully developed, they’re more susceptible to the harmful effects of toxins.
It also takes a much smaller dose for serious harm to occur.
So, if you have kids on your farm, be extra careful to keep them away from avocados and anything made with avocado.
Signs That Your Goat Has Eaten Avocado
If you think your goat may have eaten avocado, there are some telltale signs you can look for.
If your goat is displaying any of the following symptoms, they may have ingested avocado and be in need of medical attention:
- Decreased appetite
- Labored breathing
- Inability to stand
In light of any of the above symptoms and the possibility of avocado ingestion you must take action.
What to Do if Your Goat Has Eaten Avocado
If your goat has eaten avocado and is displaying any symptoms contact your veterinarian right away.
They will likely want to see your goat as soon as possible to start treatment. Your vet will also want to monitor your goat’s progress, so they may ask you to bring them back for checkups or even keep them overnight for observation.
Intervention will likely include giving your goat fluids to prevent dehydration and medications to treat any symptoms or flush the toxins from their system.
However, in the case of only a small ingestion, they might advocate for observation prior to a checkup.
Be alert to any of the symptoms listed above, and seek medical attention for your goat shows any signs of a deteriorating condition.
Tom has lived and worked on farms and homesteads from the Carolinas to Kentucky and beyond. He is passionate about helping people prepare for tough times by embracing lifestyles of self-sufficiency.