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Feeding grass clippings-is it safe

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  • Feeding grass clippings-is it safe

    My herd is on grass 24/7 but they always need supplementing --we finially own our own horse property an plenty of lawn to mow--is I raked up the very first clippings from new mower I was trhinking of getting the bag attachment and feeding it fresh--its the same stuff as in the field--no chemicals.

    Is thtis safe practice under these circumstances?

    TIA klr

  • #2
    I've always heard its a no-no...waiting to see what others say. Perhaps after its dried as hay is but I thought there was a problem with bacteria while still damp.
    "My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"

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    • #3
      No. It ferments very quickly and is just not worth the risk.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home

      Comment


      • #4
        I too thought it was a no no but that said I know someone who always fed them with no
        problems. With a tractor mower you don't have to deal with exhaust fumes but what about dirt/grit ? When I sometimes run my hands through fresh cut grass sometimes there is lots of dirt mixed with it.
        If the grass feels good, doesn't seem to be mixed with dirt spread it out and try small amounts to condition the horse to it.
        Last edited by Shadow14; May. 5, 2009, 08:53 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          no-- freash cut grass isnt the same as they eating grass
          its gets juicy when cut like fresh cut hay one would give it eat until its dried

          you will and can cuase colic if given grass cutting

          Comment


          • #6
            Not from a mower

            My friend had a mare. The neighbours thought they would be nice and give the "horsey" fresh cut lawn clippings. Mare foundered. I always remember that and would never feed clippings.
            Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
            LouLove - OTTB - 1992-2008...miss you my pretty red girl...
            Wilde! NEW - OTTSTB - 2004 Gelding...my heart's new journey...

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thats what I figured

              but now I'm more worried about mowing the field--for now I only have the one field,as soon as its dry enough--currently a swamp--I plan on mowing--what about them eating it then--mowing is supposed to make for better grazing--maybe Ill just be mowing uneaten weeds-but in future there will be much more pasture fenced to mow. does everyone keep horses off fresh mowed fields?

              I remember seeing a tv program years ago about Japanese racehorses living is high rise stables and eating trays of hydroponicly grown grass--but that was roots and all not cut.

              Thank you all for the input klr

              Comment


              • #8
                Its ok to give it to them in handfuls, but I definitely would not fill up the bag and dump it in. I think the main reason is it can get moldy kind of quickly in the head and ferment.

                I wouldnt worry at all about when you mow. let my horse graze loose on tha lawn, even while my dad is mowing, and he will eat the stuff thats cut (he doesnt have to go through the effort of biting the grass off...hehe). No probs.

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                • #9
                  I give my horses grass clippings. The big problem with clippings is they go moldy very quickly, So don't feed more than they will eat in a short period of time. ( You don't want them to come back to the pile three hours later.) Where I may get 4-5 bags full of grass on the mower, My horse get 1 bag and the rest goes in the compost pile.

                  Also some horses will choke on the clippings if they try to eat them too quickly. Since the clippings are small, the horses don't feel the need to chew like they would with long stemed grass. If you have a horse that tends to wolf his feed. Then I wouldn't give him clippings.

                  And yes some horses can colic or founder on a sudden change to a rich diet. My horses are eating green grass all day anyway, So I don't see it causing a sudden change in their diet to give some clippings.

                  I don't see a lot of difference between letting them eat a small pile of clippings vs just letting them graze on my lawn. ( which I do on occassions)

                  You will have to decide if these risk are reasonable for your horses. You will probably get more people advising against it than saying it is OK. And thats because there are probably more horses out there that should not be eating grass clippings for one reason or another. Like most things in life, make an educated decision based on why something is good or bad and not based on old wives tales.

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                  • #10
                    No, to feeding the clippings.

                    I would keep horses off the mowed field for a day or two, so clippings dry a little. Horses will prefer live grass to graze, it is more tender, so clippings will have less appeal as they dry out.

                    I leave the clippings on the field, they dry and break down, first acting as mulch on plants, before going back into the soil. This actually benefits the grass in field, with returning minerals acting as fertilizer. A season's worth of clipped grass, equals an entire application of paid fertilizer. So you are getting a FREE application by the end of summer.

                    People who rake off the clipped grass are really throwing away money and benefits to the grass plants. That clipped grass gives more benefit to the yard or field, than if you composted it.

                    Don't cut the field too short, 4-5 inches, is short enough. Longer leaves are more protection to the roots and dirt around the plant. Longer leaves provide more food to the plant, stronger roots grow when trimmed leaves are still feeding them.

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                    • #11
                      I wouldn't give clippings from a mower. The small, tightly packed grass particles will just sour quickly. I would (and have) however, if you have a high growing area somewhere, cut off (by hand) some long blades of grass and feed them. Again not a huge pile at once, just the equivalent to a flake or two of hay.

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                      • #12
                        getting some long grass cut and fed is not a big deal, been done for stall bound animals for ages, grass clippings, I'd pass, depending on your climate, the stuff starts turning immidiately...I mean, stick your hand in a fresh pile, chances are you can already feel the heat coming on.

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                        • #13
                          I mow pastures with the horses in there most of the time, and don't have any problems.

                          The difference with feeding what you collect from a lawnmower and what you mow and leave on the ground is that the stuff from the mower usually sits in the bag all clumped together and the moisture can't dissipate. So then you have issues with mold and fermentation and such. If you look closely at the grass that mowers spit back out onto the ground, it's spread out pretty well and it dries very fast. I mow often, so the cut stuff is dry within an hour or 2.

                          As long as you mow the grass regularly so that you're not left with a thick layer of grass that can't dry, you're usually ok.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think if the clippings are fed IMMEDIATELY to the horse, and not allowed to sit for even an hour, you're okay. That is, if you don't randomly feed a horse unaccostomed to grass 50 lbs of clippings or something.

                            FWIW, my mare has eaten "hand picked" grass (ie, I go out in a field and pick a bunch of grass myself for her, and bring it to her), and fresh clippings from a mower. The stable guy had just mowed around the outdoor arena, and blew a bunch of the clippings into the arena. He said if I wanted to give my mare a treat I should turn her out in the indoor. He's always giving me tips on how to give my mare snacks, it's great.
                            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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                            • #15
                              We will let them in a field that is freshly cut but not bagged, but we cut our fields every other week. They seem to not always eat the clippings, but go for the tender stuff that is easier to get to when the fields are cut. Never bag anything, just leave it out to dry......

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                              • #16
                                I blow lawnmower clippings under the fencelines, and I will also feed fresh clippings. My horses are used to grass. If feeding bagged or raked clippings- I spread them out (in a paddock, not a stall) so they can't grab big mouthfuls at once and it also allows the clippings to dry out. You have to be careful with bagging, though, because they start to heat up and ferment really quickly. I've also allowed the clippings to dry on the lawn (like really short hay), then raked them up and fed them.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...cts/05-055.htm

                                  A few paragraphs down.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I clipped the long patches of my horse's pasture over the weekend -- he won't touch it. Then, I took the RTV with the heavy rake and raked his field, spreading the clippings and manure piles (four acres with one horse). He's still alive.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      A fresh handful or two? Sure.

                                      A fresh bag full to horses already out on pasture? Okay.

                                      But dumping a few bags of fresh clippings in to horses who have been on dry lot all winter/spring? Bad idea.

                                      Why? Well...for one, they're not used to grass at all period. Next, when horses graze, they don't take in the same amount of grass as they do when it's pre cut and they can just get a huge mouthful. Can we say impaction colic?

                                      A lot of horses might do just fine with it...but it's something I'd prefer not be given to my horses...especially if they're on dry lot. (IR horse)
                                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by WaningMoon View Post

                                        I copied and pasted for ease:

                                        "Even pure grass clippings are unacceptable. The small particle size and high moisture content of grass cut with a lawn mower result in rapid fermentation in warm weather. Feeding lawn clippings and garden refuse to horses can lead to colic, botulism, laminitis and/or death and is not recommended. "
                                        Member of the Standardbreds with Saddles Clique!
                                        LouLove - OTTB - 1992-2008...miss you my pretty red girl...
                                        Wilde! NEW - OTTSTB - 2004 Gelding...my heart's new journey...

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