Oak Leaves - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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Oak Leaves

I have two oak trees in my paddock, which is probably almost 2 acres. Not too terribly big. Since Fall is here, there are leaves and acorns in their pasture. They have eaten the grass down a lot, so there isn't a whole let left. Should I be worried about them eating the leaves and acorns? I know that they are poisonous, but more so in cattle and sheep. Should I be concerned? The trees are really helpful in the summer for shade, so I hate to cut them down. Should I leave-blow the area?

Thanks for your advice! :)


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post #2 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 04:44 PM
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It depends on the horse, whether they will eat them or not. I would definitely keep a watchful eye on them.

Signs of oak poisoning are:
  • colic symptoms
  • diarrhea
  • darkened urine
  • depression

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 07:15 PM
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I agree^^, it depends on the horse, although, I will say that I have about four of them on my property, and a forest of them around my fencing, so my two girls eat alot of the leaves that fall. And not even my little filly has had any problems with them. Of course, though, as with all horses, you need to watch them.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 07:39 PM
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I have approx. 25 in my pasture with a couple of places that the leaves are about 12" deep. I have no problem with the horses. Horses are pretty smart they pretty much leave things along that are bad for them, unless they have nothing to eat they probably wont mess with the leaves.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 08:31 PM
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I didn't realize oak leaves were poisonous. My horse grabs a few off the ground everyday on our short ride through the woods to the town riding ring. I haven't seen any indication that they're causing him problems. Then again he only grabs a few.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-05-2009, 08:45 PM
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Thety have to eat a gut full to have any syptoms usually. If you are feeding them enough bulk then you probably have nothing to worry about.

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post #7 of 10 Old 11-06-2009, 01:15 PM Thread Starter
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They get fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. They each get six sections of hay a day, so we try to keep them busy with that. There is also a little bit of grass out in the field, but not too terribly much. I looked in their poop and it looks like they've been eating them, but they aren't having diarrhea or lethargy. I'll keep an eye on them. Thanks!


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post #8 of 10 Old 11-06-2009, 03:04 PM
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I would think that oak leaves are more of a problem in the spring than in the fall. The fall leaves are large and tough. The spring leaves are relatively tender and sweet, and green up faster than the grass does around here!

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
Thety have to eat a gut full to have any syptoms usually. If you are feeding them enough bulk then you probably have nothing to worry about.
My experience, too...same with acorns. This time of year, we always make sure our mares have enough free choice hay to keep their gut filled since they seem to like to eat acorns as a dessert, and we had an unusually large number this year. We have a lot of oaks and have never had a problem.

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post #10 of 10 Old 11-07-2009, 07:32 PM
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Growing up in Arkansas, there were oaks everywhere. Never had a problem with the leaves at all, but the acorns were like crack for some horses. THe acorns aren't so bad after a good rain because it leaches the tannin out of them (the poison). They can founder from it, either the big dietary change or the excessive tannin, but we just penned our "crack heads" off the oak trees until a good soaking rain. The other horses never seemed to care. Usually, the horses that are stalled a good deal of the time, or dry lotted (and obsese which is probably related to a metabolic problem and they don't know WHAT they need or don't) that were just desperate to chew on most anything. Of course, we had a forest of them, not just one or two, so a couple of trees don't pose as much of a threat overall, They probably consume the nuts as they fall, rather than waiting for all the nuts to fall, then gorging on them. Or, if all else fails, try hosing the nuts down pretty good, but I wouldn't cut down good shade trees over it.
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