Clover in for horses/goats to eat??

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Coco, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Coco

    Coco In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2008
    I just got a new batch of grass square bales for my horses and Pygmy goats, yesterday. I opened up one bale last night...looked just fine to me. The guy did tell me there might be some Alfalfa mixed in too and possible some clover. I dont know much about far as if it's safe for my horses and goats to eat. He said it was, but I just want to be safe and get some other opinions. I opened up another bale this morning and it was mostly all dried clover, including the "blossoms"...I fed a little to the goats but didnt want to try it with the horses yet. Finding hay at all right now where we are located is scarce and hard to find. The guy I normally like to go through was out so I had to try a new supplier. I took a look at the hay when we picked it up...wasnt the best I had seen but definately wasnt the worst either. And for the price, I figured I'd try it out. So I guess my question is does anyone know if Clover is safe for horses and goats to eat?
  2. Ang

    Ang Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Yep. Clover makes horses slobber if they eat a lot of it but they love it!
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Heck yes. Clover is high in protein and a delicious legume which feeds the grass in your soil to keep it healthy.

    And if you're really tricky, feed your horses and goats clover seeds and they will expell them on the field for you and you can up the clover % in your pasture.
  4. karanleaf

    karanleaf Songster

    Jun 29, 2008
    Glenwood, Missouri
    [​IMG] Yes Clover is Ok Just make sure there is No Mold espically on if it is purple clover. This would not be good. But my horses like it 2 of them so much as someone already mentioned, they get the slobers. But it is a good sorce of protein. If it smells sweat and looks clean feed it. Goats will eat almost any thing.
  5. penelope77

    penelope77 Songster

    May 6, 2008
    northeast oklahoma
    my goats love clover. when my hubby mows he leaves a 6x6 square of clover for them and they gobble it up as do the ducks. my property used to be pasture so i have some interesting stuff in my yard. we let sections grow up for the goats to nibble when they are out of the pen.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  6. Homegroanacres

    Homegroanacres Chillin w/the Ice in my Glass

    Apr 10, 2008
    Salem, Oregon
    too funny !

    my pasture is coverd with clover and the goats and
    ducks turn thier noses up at it [​IMG]
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You need to make sure it's not alsike clover, which is toxic to horses (yes seriously - and no, this is a totally separate thing from 'clover slobbers').

    Google "alsike clover horse poisonous" or something like that and you will find descriptions of how to recognize it, live or in hay -- it has to do with whether the leaves have chevron markings, and whether the flowers' stems are short and unbranched or longer and branched. Sorry I don't have a link to paste here but I just got back from a week and a half away and am totally toasted mentally [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  8. farmgirlie1031

    farmgirlie1031 Songster

    Apr 26, 2008


    small ½-inch pink flower
    grows 15-30 inches high
    no white "V" on the leaves

    The more common and acute lesions related to alsike clover are photosensitization characterized by "reddening of the skin under the influence of sunlight, followed by either superficial or deep dry necrosis of the skin or by edematous swelling and serous discharge," resulting in crusty inflamed areas, especially in the unpigmented pink-skinned areas of the face. Kingsbury also describes "symptoms of nervous and digestive disorders," including colic and diarrhea and oral lesions related to alsike clover poisoning (3).

    Horses that are not outside during the day, blanketed while outside, or have minimum exposure to ultraviolet light may not show the hair loss and crusty inflamed skin typical of photosensitization. In these cases, a slight edema of the skin may be the only noticeable sign. Close observation of the oral mucosa of the mouth and under the tongue may reveal peticheal haemorrhage and linear ulcers. Diarrhea and colic may also be experienced.

    The longer-term consequence of alsike clover consumption is "big liver syndrome", appearing as a progressive destruction of the liver with increased connective tissue (biliary cirrhosis). It appears that this is related to the accumulation of a yet unidentified toxin. The primary tests for evaluating liver function and hepatic disease measure the serum enzyme activity of aspartate amino transferase (AST), gamma glutamyl transferase (GGT), sorbitol dehydrogenase (SDH) and lactic dehydrogenase - 5 (LDH-5). Liver biopsy may be required to characterize the degree and type of liver damage and provide a prognosis.

    Veterinarians will need to differentiate between alsike clover poisoning and other types of photosensitization by walking horse pastures and examining hay for potential photodynamic agent-containing plants. Photodynamic agents in certain plants accumulate in the liver and react with ultraviolet light to cause the dermatitis. This is commonly seen in pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plants, such as tansy ragwort, groundsel, fiddleneck, common heliotrope, vipers bugloss (blue weed), and rattlebox. Phenothiazine-derived anthelmintics, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines have also been associated with this condition. Descriptions and images of many of these plants can be viewed by accessing the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System at

    If it's alsike it's not good for horses. Several Years ago, one of our Paints got severe sun burn all over his body on every inch of his pink skin when a boarding stable put them on a pasture full of it:( He was in a box stall for over a month and we had to medicate all his sunburned areas. We watch out for it now as Paints with their white markings and pink skin get photosensitization easier than other horses.​
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2008
  9. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007

    read a couple of different veterinary sites that stated alsike was not a problem when fed dried, as hay is. Does anyone know about that? Also, if you click on the picture on the left in the above link, it gives a nice close-up of the growing plant's flower and leaves, for pasture identification.
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I went to a talk last winter by Bob Wright, a veterinarian with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Farms and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) who was VERY ADAMANT that alsike remained toxic in hay, and the sample of flake hay that he brought to show people how to recognize it in hay was billed as coming from a barn where there were several horses seriously sickened, and I believe he said one or two killed, by the alsike in the hay. He is the author of

    There are a number of other sources, both in books on my shelf and online, that indicate it is a problem in hay -- some say it can actually be more toxic in hay. For instance$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/hrs10688/$FILE/alsike_clover_toxicity_in_horses.pdf

    In fact, the things I saw from a quick google did not turn up any references that said it was NOT a problem in hay. (I'm not saying there may not be people out there saying that, I'm just saying, it is clearly not the majority opinion).

    So personally I would suggest believing that it can be a problem in hay.



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