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Black walnut in hay?

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  • Black walnut in hay?

    Today when I picked up a flake of hay, I think a black walnut fell out of it. I've emailed pictures off to several people to see what they think. It's not round anymore, it's flat and dark.

    I seem to find a lot of info on-line about toxic shavings with black walnut in it, but what about in hay? Has anybody found anything like that in their hay? My 7 year old foundered last month and I'm still not sure why, wondering if he could have ingested black walnuts and/or leaves in the hay?


  • #2
    Black walnut leaves can be toxic. However, we have squirrels running thru our barn dropping walnut shells all the time. Plus, the walnut tree happens to be in our front pasture and after being here nearly 16 years, no one has had any problems due to the walnut tree or shells. So I would say that unless your horse decided to try and chew the black walnut you found, it probably wont bother him.
    Susan N.

    Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


    • #3
      We have umpteen million (and I am not kidding either!) black walnut trees around here. They are everywhere and walnuts find their way into almost every bale of hay courtesy of the squirrels around here. If I dont find them first, the horses do and I find them on the stall floor in the morning

      Its the roots that store the toxin - not the nuts - and even with branches and green nuts dropping into some of the paddocks which I remove as I see them we have never had a problem at all. Ive also boarded at places in the past with BW trees which lined the paddocks and they never had issues with the close proximity over many many years either

      Not one of those things you need to worry about at all!

      True Colours Farm on Facebook


      • Original Poster

        I have black walnut trees in the tree line that surrounds my pasture, and I don't really worry about those. I'm still searching for answers as to why this horse foundered, so when the black walnut fell out of the hay I started wondering if maybe he ate some leaves in the hay? Not even sure if they would be toxic.


        • #5
          This might give you some insight, although there is no real info as to what can happen if leaves or nuts are ingested.

          Susan N.

          Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


          • #6
            I've watched one of my mares eat a whole branch full of leaves off of a black walnut tree with no ill effects. Freaked me out BAD but she was fine. As far as I know, it's the oil that causes the problem. So if you get any walnut mixed in with your shavings you can have a horse founder in all 4 feet. I've known a horse it happened to with contaminated shavings. It was devastating to the owner and I don't know if the horse pulled through since the rotation was pretty severe.

            I've read articles that say ingesting leaves and such doesn't bother the horse. I've read another article that if they ingest even the smallest portion of a leaf or twig, they're goners. I know that to not be true. It wasn't just a down branch my mare ate. She was pulling leaves off of the tree and eating them. And this was last year and she's still with me. Take it for what it's worth.

            You never want to cut down a black walnut tree in a pasture unless you know you can get every bit of it gone. It's better to burn them I believe. If they really bother you, you can fence them off.


            • #7
              Originally posted by bludejavu View Post
              This might give you some insight, although there is no real info as to what can happen if leaves or nuts are ingested.

              Not sure what information you were wanting but this is the first sentence of that page you linked.

              This is one of the few plants that is not toxic when eaten. Instead, it is toxic when your horse's feet come in contact with it. The exact toxic compound in the tree is unknown.


              • #8
                Jaime - that was actually the wrong link - I should have checked it. I looked at that one and discarded it because so much of what is on that site has been proven incorrect. I'll try and repost the correct link.

                ETA - link I meant to post - http://ohioline.osu.edu/b762/b762_25.html
                Susan N.

                Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.


                • #9
                  IT's the wood ~

                  It's the wood ~ toxic ~ even a trace of black walnut wood in shavings will cause horses to founder !!

                  There was a famous barn in St Louis area that bedded not once but twice with bad (black walnut shavings) and many horses foundered ~ broodmares and foals, lesson horses, boarders horses and trainer horses !

                  I was lucky to get my horses out soon enough and they had leather pads so they did not absorb it ... but

                  I did help all night on two occassions wash horses ~ legs and bellies and
                  I was just an boarder ~~~the BO and trainer left and went on to the horse show ...
                  Black walnut wood is nothing to dismiss lightly ~
                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                  • #10
                    We have black walnut trees around here, and (from my own observation- NOT anything necessairly documented!) I don't think that eating some leaves or hay/grass that has the nuts themselves lying on it will cause any problems- I've never seen nor had a problem. From what I understand, it's standing on the wood (roots, shavings, chipped wood) that causes the problems. FWIW, the leaves blow into the pastures, trees are maybe 20ft away. Horses do not come into contact directly with the trees, but do get plenty of leaves blown in. How many leaves they actually end up eating, I have no clue.