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Discussion on I found weeds with thorns in my hay

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Angela S
Username: vera

Post Number: 55
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Sunday, Mar 1, 2009 - 10:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I was giving the horses their hay today and I noticed a sharp prick when handling the hay. I started looking through the hay and found a handful of stems with thorns on them. So here we go again. I'm worried what would happen if the horses would ingest these thorns. Of course, I looked through all the hay that I put out tonight and tried to pick out the thorny pieces. There is no way that I can get them all out. Someone please help me b/c I'm still worried about previous problems and now this. I feel sick.
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Holly Wood
Username: hollyw

Post Number: 207
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Sunday, Mar 1, 2009 - 10:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The horses will feel the prickers and probably won't want them. Sometimes horses do eat thorns in hay . . . Some weeds must taste pretty good, even with the prickers on them.

If the bale is loaded with thorns, then just toss the bale away. Your horses will choose what they want to eat. I bet they will be fine. I know you will keep a good eye on them for any changes in behavior.
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Diane E.
Username: scooter

Post Number: 3741
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 5:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

You are having a bad day! If it was thistles you found in the hay, they should be ok... I had a thistle in my hay yesterday too. My horses eat thistles in the summer, they love them for some reason. They are so careful when they eat them it's funny.

The only problem I've had was one got a sore mouth ONCE.
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Username: maggienm

Post Number: 985
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 8:54 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I can't speak to weeds specific to your area but the thorns and thistles in my area are not toxic.
The horses will eat around them and like Diane says even enjoy eating some of them.
I sometimes think that a mixed grass hay is better for the horses, the weeds, as long as they are not toxic, are only called weeds because we don't want them there.
They are really plants of various kinds, many chock full of vitamins, minerals and it is the weeds that generally have the medicinal value.

I had a gelding that had an infection from a cut on his pastern, because he was a bit lame, (he wouldn't hobble far) I had let him loose to eat the grass in the yard. He went immediately to the bush and ate pea vine, dandy lion and other assorted weeds.
I wondered if he was self medicating?? OR is that too out there?
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Angela S
Username: vera

Post Number: 57
Registered: 6-2008
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 10:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

THese were like thorns on a rose stem, but just a little smaller.
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Username: boots

Post Number: 10
Registered: 12-2008
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 11:22 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Angela - Over a year ago at the barn I was boarding at I observed our barn hand putting hay in our stalls wearing gloves to keep from being pricked by the multitude of thorns (long stems,a foot or so long, with thorns all along the stem)in the hay. Some remnants were found in the stalls. I was told that the horses would pick out the thorns. I, of course, went out and bought my own thorn free hay and used it until the thorny hay was gone. Now my horses had quite a bit of the thorny hay before I discovered this. I have since moved to a different barn and it has been over a year. My horses have shown no ill effects from the experience. I still shudder thinking about it, tho!!
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Muffi Delaney
Username: muffi

Post Number: 326
Registered: 1-2006
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 12:10 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I get all kinds of stuff in our hay. Depending on if we buy it locally. Once 1/2 a bale or more of each of 25 bales had Willow in it. the horses didn;t eat the willow just tossed it asside. I alway so break up the flakes when I toss them in the stall buckets. I want to see what is in there and to break em up keeps the horses from throwing it all over the place. if they have bite sized mouth fulls then they just do that nibble. if I toss in full flakes they pick up the flake and toss it outside in the wind. I really don't want to feed the whole county so I opt for the break up. It also helps if there is any dust / dirt in there to shake it out.
I found all kinds of stuff - Gloves, T-Bone steak bones, Dead amimals (whole bunny once - totally YUCK on that one) so it's best for me to shake em up.. then you can see and pick out what you don't want your amimals to eat.
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Username: pattyb

Post Number: 139
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 1:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh Angela....I have soooo been there too.

This past summer, I bought some hay from a man I had gotten some real pretty hay from in the past but this load, was loaded with thorns...and I mean loaded. Some of the thorns were so tiny that I had two break off in my fingers and didn't know it until they got infected. When I pushed on each finger, out came the slivers.

Once I realized how much was in the hay, I tossed about 20 bales aside...if I don't want to handle it, I'm not feeding it. I didn't even want the goats to have it but they managed to get ahold of one of the bales and ate around the thorns. I let them have the rest but I was not feeding it to the horses. But then:

When I called the hay guy to let him know I couldn't use any more of that type, excellent hay were it not for all the thorns, he never called me back again! Like he was miffed that I didn't want to feed thorns to my horses. I tried sorting the thorns out but that took 30 minutes per pad and when it's 100 degrees or 10, who wants to stand there for 30 minutes per pad to sort thru it?

I suppose they could pick around the thorns but in my case, they were so thin you didn't see it until you got poked.....and who would want a mouthful of them....yuck. The goats did ok somehow but I didn't want the horses to even try to pick thru it.

Good luck.
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Vicki Zaneis
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 973
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Monday, Mar 2, 2009 - 3:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Red-root Pigweed, which is a very thorny plant (numerous small thorns) is toxic, and I have known of horses who will eat it even when they had plenty else to eat. The degree of toxicity can vary depending upon climactic conditions during the growing season, which determines the amount of nitrogen it uptakes due to those conditions. (Nitrogen poising is very dangerous to livestock).

Red-root Pigweed has been known to many kill cattle, in fact, and likely has done so to horses as well.

Crown of thorns is very toxic, but I wouldn't generally expect to find that in hay.

Horse nettle is thorny and toxic as well, and does grow in pastures and hay fields.

If a weed cannot be identified and cleared with regard to toxicity, that concerns me.

I too have spent much time picking thorns or unknown weeds out of hay.

Thorns of plants that are not poisonous can still cause mechanical injury to the mouth, or worse yet, the eyes.

It is a sad state of affairs when folks sell an inferior product but get angry when questioned about it.

One bale is not that big a deal, but when several are in a shipment, adjustments should cheerfully be made.
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