Buttercups & Horses - A Sickly Combination.

by Michelle Drum July 01, 2019 1 min read

Horse in field full of buttercups

Ever wonder what your horse is eating when he's turned, out are those flowers any good for him? Is his pasture over grazed with not much grass? Based on pasture management some of that pasture might contain dangerous weeds. 


Ranunculus - commonly known as Buttercups have bright yellow flowers and are not uncommon in pastures. Their stemmy nature and bitter taste are often avoided by horses & ponies on well maintained pastures. 


However when pastures are not sprayed for weeds & fertilized regularly these noxious plants & other weeds can easily take over and pose a poisonous problem. 

There are 30 different species of Buttercups that are known to grow around the country. They are easy to manage using various weed management sprays from your local your local farm supply store.  signs of Buttercup poisoning include mouth blisters, drooling, ulcers, colic & diarrhea 

Ways to avoid buttercup consumption include pasture maintenance, pasture rotation, avoid overgrazing & keeping too many horses in a small pasture. 

If your pastures are already over grazed  some helpful solutions would be to offer adequate hay at turn out to keep the herd busy eating hay & not butter cups. Mowing, limit turnout, it may be necessary to till  the pasture & start over with quality grass seeds.  

Not sure? Your local agriculture extension agency is usually available to field questions, offer assistance & perform soil tests to make recommendations on pasture management. 



Reference articles: 
The Horse
https://thehorse.com/175027/buttercups-in-horse-pastures-are-they-dangerous/

Kentucky Equine Research
Equinews
https://ker.com/equinews/buttercups-toxic-horses/

Photo Credit:
Flikr 



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