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Is Queen Anne's Lace Poisonous to Horses?

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  • Is Queen Anne's Lace Poisonous to Horses?

    As I'm sure many of you are going through, it's been a really bad year for hay with the drought. I'm desperately looking for someone that sells hay in smaller quantities, and it's been hard to find anyone because of the shortage, and also, quality of hay. However, there is someone local that has a small hay field. I drove by to look at his hay field today, and the entire field was completely covered with Queen Anne's Lace.

    Is this a problem with the hay? I've seen a lot of hay fields before but have never seen so much Queen Anne's Lace. Is this toxic or poisonous to horses?


  • #2
    Queen Anne's Lace is wild carrot. A quick Google search showed no toxic qualities. Not sure horses would eat it in such quantity however, as mine will occasionally nibble at them in the field (I have very few), but not scarf them down. Good luck--I am so lucky to not live anywhere near the drought zone, and feel for you guys!
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    • #3
      if it were very toxic, my horses would be dead by now.
      I feel like they leave it alone in the pasture, but my gelding loves to grab bites of it on the trail, maybe just because it's within mouth range.
      I've never had hay with very much Queen Anne's Lace in it though.


      • #4
        Don't know what sites the rest of you visited, but here's what I gleaned from two sites picked at random when I did a search on "Queen Anne's Lace livestock toxicity":

        "There is no record of wild carrot toxicity in the US but in Europe wild carrot has been known to be mildly toxic to horses and cattle. A high concentration of wild carrot in hay is potentially a problem because livestock eat hay less selectively than green forage. "

        "Livestock grazing this weed may become photosensitive, leading to cellular damage and inflammation – ensure they have shade."

        Oh, & several other sites mentioned that if a field is chock full of Queen Anne's Lace, it means the soil quality is particularly poor. Which most likely means the quality of the forage is also nutrient-poor.

        If I were the OP, I'd definitely pass on any hay produced from that field.


        • #5
          No. It's harmless, but it's not especially nutritious and honestly most of my horses seem to ignore it. A field full of it, though, apparently hasn't been seeded with good hay grasses, though. It's not especially aggressive, but it will move in where there's little competition. I would question that a field full of it has much of anything worth haying. Even where Dad hasn't killed off and reseeded, there's still some alfalfa growing and the Queen Anne's Lace hasn't moved in (if only the same could be said of spotted knapweed, with supposedly almost NOTHING eats except possibly sheep.)
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          • Original Poster

            Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it!! It's been really hard to find ANY hay around here with the drought - going to try to go to other sources. It sounds like the grass hasn't been able to grow, so the Queen Anne's Lace basically overtakes the field.


            • #7
              There is a plant that looks similar - I think it is called water hemlock- that is poisonous.


              • #8
                Yup, & the flowers DO resemble Queen Anne's Lace.

                And they're not only poisonous - they're DEADLY. Just a tiny bit is enough to kill - whether human, horse, or any other mammal.


                • #9
                  This is my favorite field guide for wild plants:
                  If the link doesn't work, it's the Peterson's guide to Medicial herbs. It frequently includes information on whether or not a plant is poisonous to livestock.
                  My brother calls it the "field guide to weeds"
                  There are several plants that look like Queen Anne's lace that are dangerous: water hemlock, angelica and cow parsnip all come to mind. Cow parsnip is easy, it's MUCH bigger than Queen Anne's lace.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thought you may find this interesting - I went to a local feed store asking about hay, since the situation is so dire here with the drought. I'm looking for any hay at this point, as long as it's grass hay.

                    I mentioned the hay field with Queen Anne's Lace and he said to stay away at all costs. He said most horses will not react to it, but it's unpredictable. Some horses could actually die from it. He said it's a gamble, especially if you have a sensitive horse. He strongly advised against getting hay that has a lot of Queen Anne's Lace.

                    People are so desperate they're getting any hay they can get, but hearing this, it sounds like this particular hay should be avoided.


                    • #11
                      I have no idea if it is poisonous or not, but the farmers around here call it wild carrots. They will not bale their fields if the wild carrots are growing in it. They will cut it and burn it. Except for this year, my neighbor who refused to bale it last year with the wild carrots had no problem baling a field full of it this year. The farmers say it is not good for the horses though.
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                      • #12
                        Again, QA's lace = nontoxic (humans can eat it, even), "lookalike" water hemlock = EXTREMELY toxic. However, as the name indicates, water hemlock doesn't generally grow in the same environment (it's more of a marsh plant.)
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                        • #13
                          water hemlock http://photobucket.com/images/water%20hemlock/

                          QA Lace http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/qal.html
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                          • #14
                            They both grow here. Poison hemlock and QA lace both grow side by side here.

                            In hay QA lace tends to be very large stemmed and livestock will sort it out cuz it really is only palatable when young. So hay full of QA lace may not be a great deal. But better than no hay at all.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                              Again, QA's lace = nontoxic (humans can eat it, even), "lookalike" water hemlock = EXTREMELY toxic. However, as the name indicates, water hemlock doesn't generally grow in the same environment (it's more of a marsh plant.)
                              Apparently there are so many varying opinions about this, that I wouldn't be all that quick to pronounce yours as "fact".

                              And the bottom line is that it's not YOUR horse that would be eating this hay, is it? Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is & pay any & all vet bills the OP's horse might incur if she followed your "opinion" & it turned out that her horse was highly sensitive to this plant?


                              • #16
                                PP are correct, that Queen Anne's Lace is the same as wild carrot, Daucus carota, same genus and species as the cultivated carrot. Cultivated carrots are a subspecies, and thay're very closely related. When I worked for the USDA vegetable crop research lab, we had to be very careful in our carrot breeding fields, because the Queen Anne's Lace could pollinate our plants, and if that happened the seeds would be ruined. The roots are edible, obviously, though the roots of Queen Anne's Lace are generally white and run from tasteless to bitter. My understanding is that the leaves, however, are mildly toxic.

                                I don't get too excited about finding a few plants in my field or my hay, but I don't think I'd be comfortable feeding hay with that much of it, personally.
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