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Nightshade?

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  • Nightshade?

    Out doing the usual fly mask hunt in one of the paddocks today, and saw a ton of deadly nightshade along the fence line. When I rode my horse along the edge of one of the other paddocks, saw a bunch there too.

    Will horses eat nightshade? My horse has been known to eat plastic Christmas trees, scarecrows and wooden sculptures, so I'm not banking much on his survival instinct. Those two particular paddocks are dry lots and have nothing but weeds in them; the horses are out at night and get lots of hay. I didn't get a chance to look at the main pasture that has grass, but I'm assuming that if the two dry lots have nightshade the pasture will too. And when I say a ton, I mean a ton--it would take a week to pull it all out, because the paddocks are edged in a really thick shrubbery.

    This farm has been there for over a century and has boarded horses for over 50 years, and I'm sure this isn't the first year there's been nightshade and I've never heard of a horse dying from it, but I dig that stuff up all the time to keep my dog out of it in my backyard so I tend to worry...
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    I've got nightshade all over the place. None of mine have any interest.

    I believe the stuff is pretty bitter.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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    • #3
      We also have at least tow varieties. Even the goats don't eat them.
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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      • #4
        Be careful with the nightshade. While most of the time horses will not eat it, in times of drought, the plants set up more sugar and change flavor. In our area, there was a case of Jimsonweed poisoning. All the horses on the farm were chowing down on the Jimsonweed (Datura). I think that plant is related to Nightshade but I might be wrong.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thank you!
          "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

          Graphite/Pastel Portraits

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
            Be careful with the nightshade. While most of the time horses will not eat it, in times of drought, the plants set up more sugar and change flavor. In our area, there was a case of Jimsonweed poisoning. All the horses on the farm were chowing down on the Jimsonweed (Datura). I think that plant is related to Nightshade but I might be wrong.
            Jimsonweed is indeed in the same family as nightshade (and tomato, potato, eggplant, chili pepper, and tobacco, for that matter).

            I've never seen livestock around these parts touch the stuff, but if they were starving, I wouldn't rule it out.
            Beautiful flowers.
            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ghazzu...apparently the horses were not starving. One of the vets from the practice I use went to a call for a colicky/neurological horse. He walked the pasture after treating the horse to see if he could find any sort of cause and found the herd (well fed) just standing and eating Jimsonweed. The concern was that the taste of the plants changed in our drought and very hot weather to make it more palatable. This was when we were waiting for the results of the test on my filly who collapsed and had to be euthanized....so I walked my pastures and found Horse Nettle (a type of Nightshade) but it turned out that was not what killed her.

              For my peace of mind, we pulled the horses off the Nightshade infested pastures and are spraying this week. We finally got the weed spray which had to be special ordered due to close proximity of the nearly cotton crops to my pastures.

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              • #8
                I've never known a horse to eat them, but that doesn't mean they can't. The berries on the nightshade are the most toxic part of the plant, followed by the leaves and then the stems. Can you spot spray the areas with a herbicide or just mow them down?
                "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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                • #9
                  We mow them down and then spray heavily.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ghazzu View Post
                    Jimsonweed is indeed in the same family as nightshade (and tomato, potato, eggplant, chili pepper, and tobacco, for that matter).

                    I've never seen livestock around these parts touch the stuff, but if they were starving, I wouldn't rule it out.
                    Beautiful flowers.

                    the only real danger is the dried seeds being baled at hay cutting time,they are tiny and toxic and horses don't know to spit them out...
                    even meth heads here will not mess with "Uncle Jimmy"

                    Tamara in TN
                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                      For my peace of mind, we pulled the horses off the Nightshade infested pastures and are spraying this week. We finally got the weed spray which had to be special ordered due to close proximity of the nearly cotton crops to my pastures.
                      you will need to spray every year for three years if you wish to be rid of it

                      Tamara in TN
                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                        you will need to spray every year for three years if you wish to be rid of it

                        Tamara in TN
                        Thanks for the tip. Will Spring time spraying kill this plant or only Summer time?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Daydream Believer View Post
                          Thanks for the tip. Will Spring time spraying kill this plant or only Summer time?
                          depends on what you pick to kill it:

                          http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=...Vt6AuRTxDXV8Vw

                          be warned,like most problems it ain't cheap to fix

                          Tamara in TN
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tamara...thanks for that article. We are using Milestone this week. Forefront was mentioned to me as a great product but we could not use it now because of the neighbor's cotton crop. We ought to be able to spray with that in early April. What a PITA dealing with stuff like this!

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