Goat Reproductive Failure Toxicological Factors

Toxicological Factors

Spanish Doe.

When feeds get wet/damp, molds can grow and produce toxins, or mycotoxins, that can lead to reproductive problems and failure. Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium are the most common toxins causing problems in stored feeds. In addition, there are molds and endophytes in forages that can also cause problems. Fescue toxicosis can results from endophyte (fungal)-infected tall fescue that make toxins such as ergot alkaloids, primarily ergovaline, that can delay onset of puberty, impair luteal function to result in reproductive failure, decrease milk production or fetal birth weights and cause longer than normal pregnancies. Cotton seeds, roots and leaves have a natural compound called gossypol that can cause a problem, mostly if producers feed whole cottonseed. Gossypol can cause delayed puberty in young animals due to decreased growth. It can also cause problems with sperm production in males.

There are some noxious forages and weeds that can cause pregnancy loss or birth of abnormal kids. Lupins in the western United States and hemlocks, which are found everywhere, can cause defects such as cleft palates that can keep kids from being able to nurse. Poisoning from locoweed, found in the West, can cause bone defects and heart failure in the fetus. Many plants, such as soybeans, subterranean clovers and alfalfa, produce hormonal compounds called phytoestrogens that may reduce fertility in animals ingesting them. These compounds have been reported to cause weak or prolonged estrus, lack of estrus, irregular estrous cycle lengths, cystic ovaries and abortion.

For additional factors impacting reproduction in the goat please visit:


 For general plant toxicity information see:

The USDA ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory

Cornell Poisonous Plant Website

For  more information about goat reproduction and breeding, see: http://www.extension.org/pages/19565/goat-reproduction