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Hey all, I have been laid up from an injury and returned home tonight to find my good friend had cut half of my back pasture with my lawn mower. She was trying to help, I know, but now I'm worried about the horses grazing on it

She said she cut it and then put the horses back out, so they were on it for about 2 hours. I have brought them up to a different pasture for the night but not sure when I can put them back on the back one?

I am thinking I will have to collect as much clippings as I can, but what about any contamination from the mower? It's a regular riding mower that we usually use for around the house
 

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Discussion Starter #2
found my answer...

did some research and it seems there are others who mow their pastures with a lawn mower and don't worry as long as they wait 5-7 days before putting the horses back out. i'm going to wait about a week unless someone has better advice.. thanks
 

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It also depends on how thick the grass is..if it's a tiny amount no worries but if the grass was long and lush I would have someone rake it up as it can mold underneath(had to rake our whole pasture because of this).Cut grass can also cause impaction as well as gases. A lot of people think of it like hay but it's different.

Here are some posts of what people have said.

The British Horse Society is appealing to gardeners not to dispose of cuttings where equines can eat them. A pile of grass clippings is very attractive to horses, ponies and donkeys but once eaten can prove fatal.

Eating grass clippings can cause colic, and if the grass begins to ferment it can cause a lethal build up of gasses within the gut. This causes the animal severe pain and damage to the digestive system, resulting in a horrible death.

The indiscriminate disposal of lawn mowings has already cost the lives of three equines in the South East.

All garden waste should be disposed of in a responsible manner, and not dumped where grazing animals may find it.



and

Grass clippings allowed to accumulate and decay in a pile will provide a suitable substrate for Clostridium botulinum (botulism bug). In the same way, silage allowed to ferment at the wrong pH will also allow growth of the bug, and so incorrectly prepared big-bale silage causes botulism. The bacteria grow in the plant matter and form the botulism toxin, which is then ingested causing botulism. How long it takes the toxin to form will depend on speed of multiplication of the bacteria, which in turn depends on the moisture and the environmental temperature (which affect pH). In spring with nice moist grass I wouldn't expect it to take long.

Botulism in horses is frequently fatal, causing flaccid paralysis (weakness of the muscles) and dysautonomia (a bit like grass sickness but not). Symptoms usually depend on the amount of toxin ingested - large quantities will cause almost sudden death, modest quantities will cause weakness, tremors and gradual paralysis of the jaw and muscles involved in breathing (leading to eventual suffocation). In horses colic is often the first sign, sometimes resembling grass sickness, or in milder cases choke may be seen first (food becomes impacted in the oesophagus - not to be confused with human choking, which is in the trachea). Only the mild cases will survive, with early agressive therapy being key.
 

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Yeah, I think that was a unwise choice to put them back on it right away. I was told they can be on a mowed lawn but only after its had time to dry up. A couple of days. Hope your horses don't get sick.
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I asked my vet about grass clipings and he said that it's ok, if horse eats it all before one hour from mowing passes. Grass starts to ferment in few hours and this makes horse to colic. After it's completly dry it can be feed again (hay).
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Oh, and I don't know what do you mean with contamination because of mower, but if you think motor oil or something like this, I'm pretty sure horses won't eat it.
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Thank you guys for all your input... luckily it doesn't seem too thick in most of the parts. Even so we are heading out there with our rakes. All the horses are happy and normal this morning!
 

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This is the most absurd thread I have seen. Your friend did you a favor. Thank her and go on with your life! Unless she blew all the grass clippings into a pile in the center of the pasture, it cannot "ferment". Do you people understand how to make something ferment, you must remove it from the presence of oxygen. As one enlightned poster said "Grass starts to ferment in few hours". If I cut a field of hay - standing 3-4 ft tall down, It DOES NOT START TO FERMENT IN 3 HOURS NOR 3 DAYS! Similarly, an animal can feed upon it in this loose condition at any time in this state with no ill effects.
 

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As one enlightned poster said "Grass starts to ferment in few hours". If I cut a field of hay - standing 3-4 ft tall down, It DOES NOT START TO FERMENT IN 3 HOURS NOR 3 DAYS! Similarly, an animal can feed upon it in this loose condition at any time in this state with no ill effects.
Logic?

Man, I thought that left with the snow.
 

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Well you are right, it's not the end of the world. However I had heard a story from my vet about horses getting gulps of cut grass and it causing colic. It is possible, but like you said it would have to be in piles. Better to be safe than sorry. Thanks
 

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I've heard of not so little number of horses that died because of colic that happened just because the owner gave his horses fresh cut grass.

And I have found a lot of different opinions on the net:


There is a LOT of moisture in freshly cut grass. Plus, in order to graze, a horse must take bites and then chew what it bit off. This is a process that triggers the proper enzymes needed to break down the forage. When put in front of a pile of fresh mown grass, the horse just gobbles it down quickly in a mass. The lack of enough time to produce the proper enzymes and the large mass plus all that moisture quickly lead to a gut imbalance. Now, grass starts fermenting as soon as it gets the least bit warm. In a nice, dark environment, it starts fermenting and letting off vast quantities of gas, there's too much for the horse to digest and he colics big time.
(Can you feed just cut grass clippings to horses? - Yahoo! Answers)

Also find this:
"Feeding lawn clippings will dramatically upset the balance of microbes in the hindgut, potentially leading to colic or laminitis," said Larry Lawrence, Ph.D., a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research (KER).
"The amount of highly fermentable carbohydrates in regularly clipped lawns is dangerously high.
Excessive intake results in a high rate of fermentation in the hindgut. Accelerated hindgut fermentation can produce increased amounts of volatile fatty acids, which, as their name implies, are quite acidic," continued Lawrence.
"In addition to volatile fatty acids, a surplus of lactic acid will be produced. Lactic acid is not utilized or absorbed well in the hindgut. This increased concentration of acids brings about a condition called acidosis that lowers the pH of the hindgut.
"The acidic environment created by fermentation of grass clippings in the hindgut causes microbes to die, releasing into the bloodstream endotoxins that can cause laminitis," said Lawrence.


(from Lawn clippings dangerous fare for horses | Horsetalk - Horse nutrition and feeding articles and information)



  • You should remember there are some toxins and toxin-generators (like fructans) in both regular grass and clovers that will not change when cut.
  • If it has been put in a pile and begun to ferment it may have formed botulinum toxin.
  • If it is tainted with oil and gas that is not so good, but I doubt the horses would eat it.
  • And there is no doubt grass mown with a lawn mower will choke a horse in a heart beat. I saw 2 horses that choked simultaneously on lawn mower clippings. I think the finely clipped grass is luscious to them and they attempt to swallow large amounts without chewing well.
So lawn mower clippings should go on to the fermentation pile but a pasture mown with a rotary pasture clipper (bushhog) is probably safe as long as it does not accumulate in big piles that rot.

(HorseAdvice.com Equine & Horse Advice: Freshly cut grass or hay)

and here :p
http://www.horseforum.com/horse-health/cut-grass-28895/page2/


I'm confused, there are many different thoughts on this.
I do sometimes cut long grass with scythe and feed it to my mare, but always small quantities, less then half a meal. She eats it in half an hour and I've never had a problem.
 
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