Buttercups are toxic to horses. Although I’ve taken care of my own horses for more than 15 years, I didn’t know that — despite the fact that our pastures have buttercups growing in them. Note: the photo for this post was taken in my hometown, but not where the horses graze.
Hold a buttercup flower under your chin. If your chin glows yellow, you love butter.Childhood game
Although buttercups are lovely to look at, the leaves and stems contain ranunculin, a glycoside that forms the toxic blistering agent protoanemonin when the plant is chewed or crushed. This bitter-tasting oil irritates the lining of the horse’s mouth and digestive tract
Owners may notice blisters on the horse’s lips, swelling of facial tissue, excessive salivation, mild colic, and diarrhea that might contain blood. Decreased appetite and a slowed pulse may also be present. In severe cases, buttercup ingestion can lead to skin twitching, paralysis, convulsions, and death.https://ker.com/equinews/buttercup-toxicity-horses/
The good news is that most horses won’t eat buttercup unless they are deprived of other food sources — offering them hay or fresh pasture will keep them from eating it. The bad news is that buttercup is very hard to get rid of. The species spreads rapidly and is difficult to eradicate. Mowing your pasture helps, because buttercups spread by seed. Planting new grass in the fall can also help contain new growth as buttercup plants typically germinate in bare patches and have a hard time becoming established in taller vegetation.
We have a good growth of buttercup this year. Although it looks beautiful, it’s time to start planning on how best to get rid of it. Riding past a friend’s barn a few weeks ago, we saw her out in the field pulling up the buttercup plants (you should wear gloves if you do so as buttercups can cause dermatitis with contact) and she admitted how futile it was to attack them by hand as there are just so many of them.
Do you battle toxic plants in your pastures? Which ones? And how do you deal with them.