Author Topic: Rhubarb and sheep!  (Read 1832 times)

morri2

  • Joined Jun 2008
Rhubarb and sheep!
« on: November 12, 2010, 05:29:43 pm »
I have just been to check on my ewe lambs and they've managed to squeeze themselves into my son's rhubarb patch (arghhh!!!). They, or I think probably 'it' as there is only one set of hoof marks, appears to have eaten some of the three plants in there, (it's a very small rhubarb plot!)  possibly a couple of almost dead leaves and a stick or two of rhubarb.  As I have heard rhubarb is poisonous to sheep I'm more than a little worried!  Does anyone know exactly HOW poisonous it is to sheep?  Is it fatal??

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2010, 07:35:12 pm »
Urm.....think you will have to play the wait and see game....the toxin is oxalic acid if that helps?
www.smallholdinginsomerset.blogspot.com
www.valgrainger.co.uk

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2010, 07:47:49 pm »
I don't think the stalks are poisonous, its the leaves that are. I wouldn't think that a once off nibble of a few leaves will make them disastrously ill, but just watch and maybe give a batch of hay (if s/he is inside) to dilute any effect?

I don't know if the almost dead leaves are more poisonous than the fresh green ones - all of mine have now disappeared...

shetlandpaul

  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2010, 10:21:55 pm »
the stems also contain the poison. its what gives its bite just not as much. the leaves should have been very wilted by now so hopefully ok. however a few leaves will kill if fresh.

morri2

  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2010, 09:12:01 am »
Thanks for the replies.  All eight lambs fit and well this morning. Looks like they've not had enough to cause any serious problems.  Job for today - sort out the gate to the rhubarb patch !!!! ;D

faith0504

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • take it easy and chill
    • blaemuir cottage
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2010, 10:31:08 am »
glad they are all ok, good luck with the gate fixing

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2010, 11:00:47 am »
If the rhubarb stem also contains poison - how come we can eat it? I eat it raw as well, so far still here to tell the tale...

jinglejoys

  • Joined Jul 2009
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2010, 11:54:51 am »
You can clean brass with it....hate to think what it does to our insides! ;D

plumseverywhere

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2010, 01:02:05 pm »
seriously? which bit do you use to clean the brass?
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for www.itsbaaathtime.com and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...

waterhouse

  • Guest
Re: Rhubarb and sheep!
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2010, 05:56:42 pm »
Rhubarb contains oxalic acid which is one of the simpler organic acids but it packs a considerably greater punch than things like acetic acid.  My mother used to use it for removing bath scale and I also believe it's good treatment for rust on ironwork.

The leaves contain a much higher concentration than the stems, so what is merely part of the flavour (and produces the temporary feeling of furry teeth) in the stems is highly poisonous in the leaves.  I bet it's very unpalatable so unlikely to be consumed by accident.

Lots of things are good in small amounts and not in larger quantities.  Meadowsweet makes a lovely relaxing cup of tea, probably because it's a natural source of aspirin.  The things you really need to watch are some of the alkaloids which build up in the liver and don't get excreted.  This is why ragwort is bad news for horses.

 

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