Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mmmm, crunchy!

We recently moved the horses back to the east front pasture. As soon as they got there, they both started munching the newly-fallen acorns that were all over the ground.

And there are lots of acorns this year...

At first, I thought it was somewhat amusing to listen to them crunch the acorns, and then I realized... oak trees are toxic to horses due to the tannic acid in the leaves (that's also why nothing grows underneath an oak tree). So of course I headed inside to check Google to see if the acorns were toxic as well.

As it turns out, acorns are toxic, especially the green ones. According to this web site, "Symptoms of toxicity include poor appetite, weight loss, constipation followed by diarrhea, kidney failure and edema. In severe cases oak poisoning can lead to death." Awesome! We immediately headed out and taped off the part of the pasture under the oak trees to limit the munching.

Of course, there are still acorns out there under other trees, just not in the quantities you see above. Red definitely has a taste for them - you can see him out there diligently searching them out with his prehensile lips. We're keeping a close eye on the boys, though, and limiting their time in that pasture, as well as providing plenty of hay to distract them from the acorns. Hopefully all the squirrels will get the acorns sooner rather than later, and we won't have to worry. I will probably try raking or sweeping up the acorns over the weekend so that there aren't quite so many. But if you have oak trees in your pastures, you might want to be careful and be sure that your horses don't ingest too many acorns!


  1. I didn't know that! And central Texas is only, like, covered in oak trees??

  2. I know, right? It's so not fair! At least, so say Saga and Red... all those delicious acorns, juuust out of reach on the other side of the electric fence!