Feeding mistletoe?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by junglebird, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Clumps of green mistletoe in the oaks stand in stark contrast to the grey and brown vegetation of our winter. Wild birds depend on it for a foodstuff, and I've read that deer it, and cattlemen have fed it. But, when I google mistletoe, all I see are dire warnings about its toxicity. I fed a little to my donkey and she loved it, but I want to find out more about it before I feed any more to my animals.

    What do you know about mistletoe? Do your animals eat it?
     
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Wikipedia says European Mistletoe (Viscum album/Santalaceae) is a poisonous plant that causes gastrointestinal problems including stomach pains and diarrhea along with low pulse. It also mentions Phoradendron seratinum (the North American mistletoe) is a related species (also Santalaceae), and is also poisonous. I don't think I would intentionally feed mistletoe to anything. But that's just my opinion, in the same Wikipedia article they also said that mistletoe leaves and young twigs are used by herbalists to treat circulatory and respiratory system problems. It also stated that Suzanne Somers decided to use Iscador (a brand of mistletoe extract) in lieu of chemotherapy following her treatment for breast cancer. Good luck...
     
  3. texas75563

    texas75563 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fun Facts About Mistletoe
    There is More to Mistletoe than Kissing and Holiday Romance

    Everyone knows about the power of mistletoe at Christmas, right? It makes holiday romance democratic by making everyone equally kissable—friends, strangers and distant cousins. Wander beneath a sprig of mistletoe at a holiday party, and like it or not you become fair game to anyone whose lips are within range.

    But there is much more to mistletoe than kissing and holiday merriment. This year, don’t just fill up on eggnog as you linger near the mistletoe hoping that special someone you secretly adore will stroll by unawares or back up just another few steps.

    Fun Facts About Mistletoe
    Here are a few fun facts about mistletoe from the U.S. Geological Survey to help you pass the time and make the wait for your holiday kiss seem shorter:

    * American mistletoe, the kind most often associated with kissing, is one of 1,300 species of mistletoe worldwide but one of only two that are native to the United States. The other is dwarf mistletoe.

    * Twenty species of mistletoe are endangered, so be careful what you pluck from the forest for your next holiday party.

    * Phoradendron, the scientific name for American mistletoe, means "thief of the tree" in Greek. Although not a true parasite in scientific terms, mistletoe comes close, sinking its roots into a host tree and leeching nutrients from the tree to supplement its own photosynthesis.

    * Sadly, the translation of the word “mistletoe” itself isn’t very romantic. A few centuries back, some people apparently observed that mistletoe tended to take root where birds had left their droppings. “Mistal” is an Anglo-Saxon word that means “dung” and “tan” means “twig,” so mistletoe actually means “dung on a twig.”

    * The growth of mistletoe had little to do with the bird droppings, and a lot to do with the birds themselves. Mistletoe seeds are extremely sticky and often latch onto birds’ beaks or feathers or the fur of other woodland creatures, hitchhiking to a likely host tree before dropping off and starting to germinate.

    * The dwarf mistletoe doesn’t have to rely solely on hitchhiking to find a host tree. The seeds of the dwarf mistletoe can explode from ripe berries and shoot as far as 50 feet.

    * Despite its parasitic tendencies, mistletoe has been a natural part of healthy forest ecosystems for millions of years.

    * Mistletoe is toxic to people, but the berries and leaves provide high-protein food for many animals. Many bird species rely on mistletoe for food and nesting material. Butterflies lay their eggs on the plants and use the nectar as food. Mistletoe is also an important pollen and nectar plant for bees.

    If you’ve read through this list more than twice and still no kiss, maybe it’s time to head home and try again next year. Meanwhile, these fun facts will give you something to talk about as you wait for your next “free kiss” opportunity—at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Now I know everything there is to know about Mistletoe! [​IMG]
     
  5. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, that's definitive! [​IMG]

    Any one have any suggestions for how I might go about testing an unknown like this? I could just offer it, and leave it up to them, but I'm open to other suggestions.
     

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