Do Goats Eat Foxtails

Do Goats Eat Foxtails? (READ NOW!)

Do goats eat foxtails?

That’s one of the first questions I asked myself when I bought my farm because it was littered with them. 

As goat owners, we know that from grass to leaves, from twigs to even the occasional piece of clothing left hanging on the line, goats have an uncanny ability to turn almost anything into a hearty snack. 

But what about foxtails?

Do goats eat foxtails?

Yes, goats can eat foxtails, but it’s not recommended. Foxtails are grass-like plants with sharp, barbed seeds that can be harmful to goats’ digestive systems. The seeds can get stuck in the goats’ mouths, throats, and digestive tracts, causing discomfort and potentially serious health issues. 

In this article, we’ll look at the potential risks and benefits (mostly risks) of goats eating foxtail.

Let’s begin!

Do Goats Eat Foxtails (Key Takeaways)

  • Goats can eat foxtails, but it’s not advisable due to the risks associated with their barbed seeds.
  • Foxtails are grass-like plants with sharp seeds that can become lodged in goats’ mouths, throats, and digestive tracts.
  • Ingesting foxtails can lead to discomfort, irritation, and potential health problems for goats.
  • Prevent goats from grazing in areas where foxtails are prevalent to protect their well-being.
  • Providing a safe and appropriate diet for goats is essential to their overall health and nutrition.

Understanding Foxtails

Do Goats Eat Foxtails

Foxtails are a type of grass weed that can be found in many parts of the world. 

They are known for their distinctive appearance, with long, bristly seed heads that resemble the tail of a fox (hence the name!).

These pesky weeds can cause a lot of trouble for both humans and animals alike. 

When it comes to goats, understanding foxtails is crucial.

Goats are natural foragers, always on the lookout for tasty vegetation to munch on. 

However, not all plants are suitable for goat consumption, and foxtails fall into that category.

While goats may graze on various types of grasses and weeds without any issues, ingesting foxtails can lead to serious health problems. 

The danger lies in the structure of foxtail seeds.

They have barbed bristles that allow them to easily attach themselves to anything they come into contact with. 

This means that when goats eat foxtails, these seeds can get caught in their mouths or even worse – make their way into their digestive system.

Those tiny barbs make it difficult for the seeds to pass through the goat’s system properly leading to potential blockages. 

Do Goats Eat Foxtails?

Unfortunately, yes! Goats have been known to graze on all sorts of plants, including foxtails if they are available in their grazing area.

It’s important as goat owners or caretakers to be vigilant about monitoring their pasture or grazing areas for any signs of these troublesome weeds and take necessary actions to prevent them from being consumed by our beloved goats. 

Is Foxtail Bad For Goats?

It’s no secret that goats are known for being voracious eaters, capable of consuming a wide variety of plants and vegetation. 

But when it comes to foxtails, the question arises: is foxtail bad for goats?

Well, the answer is not as straightforward as one might think. 

While goats can indeed eat foxtails, there are certain factors that need to be considered.

Foxtails are grass-like weeds with bristly seed heads that resemble foxes’ tails. 

These pesky plants can pose a potential threat to goats if consumed in large quantities or under certain circumstances.

The danger lies in the structure of the seed head, which contains barbed seeds that have a knack for getting lodged in various parts of an animal’s body, such as ears, eyes, nostrils, mouths, and even internal organs. 

When ingested by goats, foxtails can cause a range of issues depending on where they get stuck.

For instance, if a goat ingests foxtail seeds and they become lodged in their gastrointestinal tract or respiratory system, it can lead to discomfort, irritation, inflammation, or even infection. 

In severe cases where multiple seeds accumulate or perforate vital organs like the lungs or intestines – surgical intervention may be required.

To mitigate the risk associated with foxtails and prevent any potential harm to our beloved goats’ health and well-being, it is important to implement certain preventive measures. 

The best approach that I’ve found is regular pasture maintenance and monitoring for any signs of infestation by these weeds.

If you notice a significant presence of foxtails in your goat’s grazing area or hay supply – taking proactive steps such as manually removing them or cutting them down before they mature into seed heads can help keep your goats safe from potential harm. 

Can Goats Eat Foxtail Hay?

The good news is that goats can indeed eat foxtail hay without any major concerns.

However, there are a few factors to consider before adding it to their diet. 

Firstly, it’s important to understand what foxtail hay actually is.

As we already know, foxtails are grasses that produce long seed heads with bristle-like structures. 

These seed heads can become problematic if they get stuck in animals’ throats or digestive tracts.

However, when these grasses are dried and turned into hay, they become less of a threat because the bristles soften and lose their sharpness. 

When it comes to goats, they have strong digestive systems that allow them to handle various types of roughage.

Foxtail hay provides fiber, which is an essential component of their diet. It aids in digestion and helps maintain proper gut health in goats.

Moreover, goats often enjoy the taste of foxtail hay as it offers a unique texture and flavor compared to other hays. 

Despite its benefits, it’s crucial to ensure that the foxtail hay you feed your goats is clean and free from any mold or toxins.

Prioritize quality control by sourcing your hay from reputable suppliers who follow good agricultural practices. 

Conducting regular inspections for any signs of spoilage or contamination before offering it to your goats will help prevent potential health issues.

Watch this:


Can Goats Eat Foxtail Stems? 

When it comes to foxtail stems, it’s best to err on the side of caution and limit their consumption. 

Can goats eat foxtail stems?

Well, yes, goats can eat foxtail stems. However, they should avoid them whenever possible. 

Foxtails are known for their stiff bristles that can cause irritation and discomfort in the mouths and digestive tracts of animals.

These bristles can potentially injure the delicate lining of a goat’s stomach and intestines if ingested in large quantities. 

While small amounts may pass through without causing harm, it’s best to prevent goats from grazing on foxtail stems altogether.

In addition to the potential physical harm caused by ingesting foxtail stems, there is also the risk of contamination. 

Foxtails often grow in areas where pesticides or other chemicals may have been sprayed, making them potentially harmful if consumed by goats.

Since goats tend to be indiscriminate grazers, it’s crucial to ensure that they have access only to safe and healthy forage. 

So while some plants may be safe for goats to nibble on, foxtail stems should be avoided as much as possible.

Can Goats Eat Foxtail Seeds?

No, goats cannot eat foxtail seeds. 

That’s because foxtail seeds are the reproductive part of the plant, and they can pose a potential risk to goats if ingested. 

While goats are known for their ability to eat a variety of plants, it’s crucial to understand the risks associated with certain foods.

When it comes to foxtail seeds, caution should be exercised. 

While goats may occasionally consume small amounts of foxtail seeds without any immediate issues, it’s essential to monitor their intake.

The sharp bristles on the seeds can become lodged in a goat’s mouth, throat, or digestive system, leading to discomfort and potential complications. 

Therefore, it is generally advisable to prevent goats from eating foxtail seeds as much as possible.

This can be achieved by removing any areas where foxtails grow from their grazing space or providing them with alternative forage options. 

By doing so, you minimize the chances of your goats accidentally ingesting these potentially problematic seeds.

If you suspect that your goat has consumed a significant amount of foxtail seeds or is displaying symptoms such as excessive drooling or difficulty swallowing, it’s crucial to contact a veterinarian immediately. 

They will be able to assess the situation and provide appropriate guidance and treatment if necessary.


In this article, we have explored the question “Do Goats Eat Foxtails” and delved into the world of these pesky weeds and their impact on our furry friends. 

Foxtails can indeed pose a danger to goats, as they can cause a range of health issues if ingested.

We have discussed the various parts of the foxtail plant that goats may come into contact with, including stems, seeds, and hay. 

While goats are notorious for their voracious appetites, it is essential for goat owners to be mindful of the potential dangers associated with foxtails.

Implementing preventive measures such as regular pasture maintenance, removing foxtail-infested hay or plants from their diet, and promoting a diverse grazing environment can go a long way in keeping these unwanted intruders at bay. 

Even though goats are generally known for devouring almost anything in front of them, it is important to remember that not everything is suitable or safe for their consumption.

Related Articles:



What animal can eat foxtail?

Among the animals that can eat foxtail grass are horses, cattle, and deer. Some bird species like quails and pheasants also consume foxtail seeds.

Can sheep eat foxtail grass?

While sheep can potentially eat foxtail grass, it’s not recommended due to the potential risks associated with ingesting the sharp seeds. These seeds can cause health issues for sheep.

Do goats eat foxtail barley?

Goats can eat foxtail barley. However, foxtail barley,which is a different species from foxtail grass, can pose similar risks to goats if ingested due to its barbed seeds. It’s generally not recommended as part of a goat’s diet to prevent health issues.


I have a Masters degree in Communication and over 5 years working in PR. I have a wife and four children and love spending time with them on our farm. I grew up on a farm with cows, sheep, pigs, goats, you name it! My first childhood pet was a pig named Daisy. In my spare time, I love holding bbq parties for my friends and family

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