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Tully Creek 09-13-2013 03:20 PM

Will horses eat acorns?
I'm in California.

We are having a good year for acorns, and some are falling in my horses paddock. I let the sheep in each day to clean up, so there isn't an accumulation.

I haven't noticed the horses under the trees, but one of them is no need of any extra food, so I worry a bit.


PaintHorseMares 09-13-2013 03:32 PM

Many do eat them (ours do and no one ever got sick).
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Walkamile 09-13-2013 03:32 PM

I remember reading someplace that acorns are toxic to horses. I just searched and found that they are in fact toxic to horses, but also to sheep. Just wanted to give you a heads up.

PaintHorseMares 09-13-2013 03:41 PM

^^^ Yes, some more than others, with the right conditions, and if they eat enough of them. The recommendation is to make sure they always have forage to eat to reduce any possible toxicity.
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spirit88 09-13-2013 04:17 PM

I have a freind who lost a horse that was eating acorns. Had plenty of pasture but chose to stand under trees and eat acorns.At the time they had no clue acorns were toxic to horses.....found out the hard way.

My horses love them so cant be on pasture when theres are alot of acorns.

cakemom 09-13-2013 05:59 PM

You betcha, some do fine, some get sick some get drunk.....
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acorn 09-15-2013 11:03 AM

My vet said he sees several colics each year due to acorns.

I have a friend who gets out each year, each day and shovels those suckers up by the bucket full so her horse won't eat them. Poor gal.

Having said that a few fall in our pasture over the fence each year and while my horses stand there and wait for them to fall so far it hasn't hurt them..

SueNH 09-16-2013 08:27 AM

The wild turkeys beat mine to it.

I actually did move the fence so I can exclude the acorn drop zone when needed.
I also have a lot of wild apple trees out there so they are looking for those and not acorns.

DuffyDuck 09-16-2013 08:38 AM

At the old military yard they let their school horses and ponies eat the acorns despite constant mentions of the toxicity of the things.

One was extremely ill with colic and operated on. We then cleared them up on a daily basis.

Some can eat more than others, but it is a general build up of the toxins that will make them very ill or kill them.

its lbs not miles 09-16-2013 09:10 AM

Some will eat them, not all. Generally they don't taste good so most horses don't, but like people they can develope a taste for things that are normally unpleasant.
They are toxic to all horses, just as peach leaves, black walnut, Johnson grass, etc... Acorns are also not good for most lifestock (sheep included). I'm sure your local vet can give you a good rundown on all the things that should avoid acorns and oaks.
Different things are toxic for different reasons and with different levels ot toxicity. Just as humans can consume more arsenic than cyanide before it kills us.
With regards to horses and the oak it's not just the acrons, but pretty much anything on the oak (acorns, leaves, buds, etc....) consuming them can end up resulting in Kidney failure. Of course they are likely to have digestionial problems including, but not limited to, colic before the kidneys reach a critical state.

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