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Are dock leaves /plant poisonous to sheep?

Discussion in 'Feeding Time - Sheep' started by Girlies' Mum, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. Jul 30, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    I really hate when I come inside to look up a plant on the web to see if it poisonous to my 4 darling sheep. As usual, this time, when I decided to look up dock leaves, I got a thousand different answers on a thousand different websites (exaggeration).
    Usually, I think this happens because the plant is "technically" poisonous but the animal has to eat four tons or whatever of it to get sick. There are so many sensible sheeple on this forum though, I think it is time to ask what you all think about dock. Is it OK to put my sheep on pasture with a lot of dock plants (and thus loads of leaves)? If I cut the plant at its base and get rid of most of the leaves, will it get more poisonous with damage, like ragwort does?
    I believe it is almost impossible to eradicate. Finally (phew), views on the safety of spot on weedkillers like Roundup (glyophosphate)? Even the large animal (farm) vets don't want to commit themselves to an answer round here.....sorry if I sound a bit fed up, but indeed I am. Thank you in advance, wise people....
     
  2. Jul 30, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    I don’t have much dock on my place. The little I had, the Sheep ate. They did not get sick and none died. I once had a donkey that loved it. He even chose the dried brown stalks out of the round bales I got for the horses.

    If you are nervous about it, let them in for an hour or so, then call them back. Let them graze a little each day and just keep an eye on them.
     
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  3. Jul 30, 2018
    mysunwolf

    mysunwolf Herd Master

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    Dock, broadleaf or curly is absolutely not poisonous. It has been used as a human food source, with care, for millennia (leaves and seeds). Like a lot of wild greens, it contains high contents of oxalic acid which can be a problem in quantities that sheep would never, ever eat. Sheep don't usually eat the stems, and new growth tends to have less oxalic acid, so I would say cutting some if you're worried about it would be fine.

    Roundup is fine as well, as long as you withhold the animals from the land for a little while after. Folks around here generally wait 30 days, or more depending on how much was sprayed. Officially, the withholding period is 3 days (from the manufacturer), but I've seen roundup sprayed over entire fields rather than as a spot treatment, and that's a whole different ballgame IMO.
     
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  4. Jul 30, 2018
    greybeard

    greybeard Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    That 3 days mentioned on the label is to allow the herbicide time to translocate down the leaves and into the stems before the livestock starts grazing it. Has zero to do with safety of the livestock..it references allowing the chemical time to actually work.


    Proper translocation prior to animal re-entry is imperative to effective weed control. To ensure proper weed control and forage removal, Monsanto recommends grazing not resume for 3 to 5 days after spraying.



      • When a Re-entry Interval is not listed on a chemical label, it is recommended to wait until the chemical has dried, however, assume annual weeds require a minimum of 24 hours of good weather conditions for proper translocation.



      • For perennial weed and forage control, wait a minimum of 72 hours for proper translocation of the chemical through the target plants before allowing grazing.

    Allowing animals to graze earlier may result in reduced control.

    For grazing restrictions/witholding animals from grazing, it depends HOW it is applied (broadcast or spot) and what you are doing with the pasture. Renovation, pre-plant, post emergence etc. If you don't have a clear understanding of what you are wanting to do, how to go about it, or any of the label instructions, don't use the herbicide.
    Straight off the label of Roundup PowerMax:
    pastures.jpg
    rangeland.jpg

    from:
    http://www.cdms.net/ldat/ld8CC002.pdf
    Tho to be honest, you won't have much of anything good or bad left out there anyway if you broadcast spray Roundup.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
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  5. Jul 31, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    Thank you all so much. I really appreciate it your expereinces.I think I will worry less about them eating the dock, and leave the roundup....
     
  6. Aug 1, 2018
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape True BYH Addict

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    We get huge swathes of dock most years....not so much this year when we have had a drought. The sheep eat them as there is little else to eat.....they are doing very nicely on them.

    Usually we resort to having to use Roundup (spot spraying). I look like a bit part from Breaking Bad in my wellies,white coverall and mask, and lance in hand and OH on the quad bike (I get all the nice jobs!). Spraying only on days with low wind speeds and when rain is unlikely, and doing about 5 miles around the field, sweating and grumbling. In areas where there is a low concentration of plants, we are blesses by a shiny little beetle (Gasrtophysa viridula) which proliferates like mad and whose grubs eat the dock and leave skeleton leaves. Their appetites are so great the plant dies before producing seeds. Do you have them in the States?

    Anyway....bottom line....not going to harm your sheep, but a pretty tough old weed.I'd avoid the Roundup unless you have a major problem.
     
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  7. Aug 1, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    Thanks @Sheepshape, very reassuring too. No idea about the States and nice shiny beetle, but if they exist in Scotland I would like to find some!
     
  8. Aug 1, 2018
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape True BYH Addict

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    Clearly not paying attention on your location! Yes, they are present in Scotland......very abundant in Wales.Look for holes in dock leaves, patches of yellow eggs, black caterpillars and the shiny blue/green/brown beetle.....very small, but with a big appetite.
     
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  9. Aug 10, 2018
    Girlies' Mum

    Girlies' Mum Overrun with beasties

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    @Sheepshape - I am assured by neighbours that like cute crawly little animals that we do have them here, but I certainly can't find any....Hey ho.