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Recently killed critters on hay

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  • Recently killed critters on hay

    Do you throw the hay out? Pick out the leftover critter and feed anything not contaminated?

    The birds, squirrels and other vermin haven't been as quick lately, or my cats are getting faster. I've been finding little shrew bodies here and there, but was met by a widespread bird one night. Between feathers and organs, I wasn't sure if I could feed any of it safely.

    What do you do? Is any of it safe?

  • #2
    I wouldn't take a chance with it; botulism is a very real possibility. Throw it out.

    Liz

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    • #3
      Wow, this is timely. I actually found a dead rabbit (and it took me a bit to even decide WHAT it had been) draped over a bale yesterday morning. Lovely. I still can't imagine my cat doing that much damage to a rabbit, but I don't know what else could have happened.
      We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
      www.dleestudio.com

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      • #4
        I was feeding flakes out of a bale last week and out fell a large snake. It had been compressed by the bailer.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Eugh. Thanks for stories and input.

          DLee, my cats get rabbits and squirrels occasionally...surprising but they manage.

          I'll make sure to keep possibly infected hay away then.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by DLee View Post
            Wow, this is timely. I actually found a dead rabbit (and it took me a bit to even decide WHAT it had been) draped over a bale yesterday morning. Lovely. I still can't imagine my cat doing that much damage to a rabbit, but I don't know what else could have happened.
            Perhaps it was your cat. But if the rabbit was missing its head, it might have been caught by an owl. We had what passes for excitement in our small town several years ago when one of the county agent people found her cat dead with its head missing. There was a big hue and cry going up about either a satanic cult or sadistic killers on the loose before somebody from the DNR told everybody they were being silly; that this was the hunting habit of some kind of owl.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Equine Obsession View Post
              Pick out the leftover critter and feed anything not contaminated?
              That's what I do. Hay is too damn expensive to throw whole bales away because I'm squeamish. If there is obvious blood/guts/body fluid, I pull out the handful or two there, but otherwise I just tip the stuff off.
              Botulism is not a concern here -- it requires very specific conditions regarding temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels to multiply, specific conditions that are almost NEVER met in this area.

              If I was to find possum shit on the hay, however, I might do something different. But we don't have possums here either. And so far, the raccoons have still been doing their crapping elsewhere.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                Perhaps it was your cat. But if the rabbit was missing its head, it might have been caught by an owl. We had what passes for excitement in our small town several years ago when one of the county agent people found her cat dead with its head missing. There was a big hue and cry going up about either a satanic cult or sadistic killers on the loose before somebody from the DNR told everybody they were being silly; that this was the hunting habit of some kind of owl.
                I never thought of that, or knew that. I just can't imagine that my cat did this, maybe she found it and drug it up there. There was certainly no recognizable head anyway, it took me a bit to find the ears.
                We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                www.dleestudio.com

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                • #9
                  I don't think botulism can happen unless a critter is packed tight inside a bale.
                  I doubt "fresh kill" is going to be harmful. I fling the spare parts our cats leave off the bale and feed it anyway. Of course we also don't have too many wierd diseases in this area. Its too damn cold!
                  Patty
                  www.rivervalefarm.com
                  Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

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                  • #10
                    GET RID OF IT!!!!

                    I would absolutely, without a doubt, throw out the hay the critter was touching (and probably 1-2 flakes more on either side in the bale). I probably wouldn't get rid of the entire bale (if the critter was whole, so I knew every body part was contained in the flake), but at least the main flake and a few on each side.

                    My friend's horse died of botulism and it was awful. The poor horse. We never found the animal culprit as the hay was gone to test, but ruled out everything else so it HAD to be the hay (he showed symptoms within about 2 hours of eating dinner). We don't live in an any area where botulism is "common" (vet who came to the barn, in her 40 years of practice, had NEVER seen it - didn't even recognize the symptoms...took us trailering to the vet hospital and by then it was too late).

                    It's awful and the cost throwing out a few flakes is NOTHING compared to losing a horse...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DesignerLabel View Post
                      I wouldn't take a chance with it; botulism is a very real possibility. Throw it out.

                      Liz
                      Absolutely!!!!!

                      Hay isn't THAT expensive. A sick horse willl cost way more!
                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

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                      • #12
                        If you once watch a horse die of botulism you will never again take a chance, believe me. This is why I NEVER feed round bales. They are too large to notice if there are any animal carcasses in them until you have already fed the hay and by then it is often too late. And for a horse to recover from botulism is very rare indeed. I do believe the vaccine only covers type B and the carcass type is C. Conditions such as weather etc, more concern botulism types which occur as the hay is growing. Carcass type is less apt to be afffected by conditions. IT develops from the dead animal and can leach into all parts of the bale. Or this is what I was told by the vet who attended my neighbors two horses while dying of it from a dead fawn in a round bale. Needless to say after watching that he learned his lesson and is now feeding only square bales which each flake is throughly shaken out.
                        Last edited by WaningMoon; Mar. 1, 2009, 07:56 AM. Reason: changed wording

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If botulism is even a slight option, throw the hay away.

                          When my horse died last year one of the causes they investigated was botulism because there had been a dead animal in the field. He did not die of botulism but there was a case in New England last year where the horse did die.

                          The vet who treated him at Tufts had treated several botulism cases in her career. She told me that when it occurs, the chance of death is very high even when the anecdote is administered -- she told me of a farm where I think 10 horses had botulism and only one survived. Also, the treatment is VERY expensive.

                          Horses are very sensitive to botulism and the amount of the toxin that will kill a horse is minuscule.

                          From what I learned from this experience I would never ever risk feeding my horse something that could even possibly contaminated.

                          Originally posted by MR View Post
                          I would absolutely, without a doubt, throw out the hay the critter was touching (and probably 1-2 flakes more on either side in the bale). I probably wouldn't get rid of the entire bale (if the critter was whole, so I knew every body part was contained in the flake), but at least the main flake and a few on each side.

                          My friend's horse died of botulism and it was awful. The poor horse. We never found the animal culprit as the hay was gone to test, but ruled out everything else so it HAD to be the hay (he showed symptoms within about 2 hours of eating dinner). We don't live in an any area where botulism is "common" (vet who came to the barn, in her 40 years of practice, had NEVER seen it - didn't even recognize the symptoms...took us trailering to the vet hospital and by then it was too late).

                          It's awful and the cost throwing out a few flakes is NOTHING compared to losing a horse...
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Freshly killed rodents/animals is not the cause of Botulism its the decaying process that causes the problem. A great deal also depends on climate both the vets I use here have never seen a case despite over 50 years of working with nothing but horses between them. I've fed 100's of round bales each year with no problems despite a number of animals getting baled up from the 6000 acres of wildlife management land around us.
                            Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Do you inoculate against Botulism? I had heard that was the practice if you feed round bales.
                              Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

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                              • #16
                                Nope never have and don't know anyone in this part of the country ( central Mn. ) that does I know people in the south that do though. Its just not an issue here that I've ever heard of but I'd never say never. I asked my vets about it and they said my odds of winning the lottery were better being as I'm this far north.
                                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Botulism spores are everywhere around us are are not the problem. It becomes deadly when those spores reproduce and that only happens in a CERTAIN environment. Botulism spores only reproduce in a warm, anaerobic (no air) environment with decaying material as fodder -- animal or vegetable.

                                  Poorly cured and baled round bales can cause a problem (moist, decaying matter, with no air). Poorly baled and cured square bales can cause a problem -- though it seems less so as it's more likely that a small bale is less anaerobic than a large round bale. Well cured hay of any type can be problematic when dead animals are decaying within it.

                                  A "fresh kill" on top of a bale of hay -- in areobic environment -- could not cause the deadly botulism toxin to be produced.

                                  And yes, it is expensive to treat, and almost always deadly, despite treatment. Only takes a miniscule amount of the toxin to cause death.

                                  Vaccinations for Type B (the most common offender) are readily available to horses and inexpensive. Type C can also affect horses, but less prevalent, but there is no vaccination for it.

                                  Hope this helps.
                                  www.littlebullrun@aol.com See Little Bull Run's stallions at:
                                  "Argosy" - YouTube and "Boleem" - YouTube
                                  Boleem @ 1993 National Dressage Symposium - YouTube

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                                  • #18
                                    I'm in the Northeast and have my girl vaccinated for botulism- it was part of the vet's standard.
                                    If any piece is unaccounted for, throw the whole bale away. Its just not worth the risk.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by greysandbays View Post
                                      Perhaps it was your cat. But if the rabbit was missing its head, it might have been caught by an owl.
                                      That's a possibility, but my old cat used to eat the heads off the rabbits he caught first...then saved the rest. He had no problem crunching right through everything. Amazing, really.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by county View Post
                                        Nope never have and don't know anyone in this part of the country ( central Mn. ) that does I know people in the south that do though. Its just not an issue here that I've ever heard of but I'd never say never. I asked my vets about it and they said my odds of winning the lottery were better being as I'm this far north.
                                        Well,over my way, still as north as you can get only in Vermont, it does come up now and then. I watched two of my neighbors horses die of it. It was just horrible, and I would rather buy square bales than take a chance at all of watching the same thing with ones I love. None for me.

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