By M. Luginbuhl, Extension Specialist in Goats and Forage Systems, North Carolina State University
As winter feed supplies run low and with producers eager to turn livestock out to pasture this spring, do yourself and your stock a favor by scouting for poisonous plants in your pasture this spring.
Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental eating, and browsing habits of animals. Starvation is the most common reason. Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing else to eat.
Animals accidentally eat certain plants as they graze. A notable example of this is water hemlock. This plant emerges in wet areas, which are the first to become green in early spring. Animals eager to eat the fresh young grass may accidentally bite off the crown of this plant with fatal results. Another type of accidental poisoning occurs when large amounts of cockle are present in wheat, which is fed as grain.… Continue readingRead More »