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Author Topic: Ragwort poisoning  (Read 216 times)


  • Joined Oct 2018
Ragwort poisoning
« on: July 12, 2020, 11:22:52 am »

So my lambs escaped yesterday into a neighbouring horse field, due to my electric netting battery going flat overnight and one of them is now listless, slightly bloated and foaming at the mouth.
Could this be a ragwort poisoning, or a change of diet. They do have access to laurel and ivy which will now be fenced off with electric netting, and ive ordered a spare battery for strip grazing, but any suggestions? The lambs are approx 12 weeks.



  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Ragwort poisoning
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2020, 11:47:42 am »
Ragwort poisoning is cumulative, and sheep are less affected by it than other species, so I would think it unlikely that it's ragwort after only one night in a field that had other things to eat too.  (Although as it was a horse field, maybe there wasn't much else to eat?)

Is its rumen working okay?  If not, try the bloat remedy (basically yoghurt, oil, ginger, bicarb of soda : add the bicarb at the very last moment) to get the rumen going again.

Hope he comes right :fc:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Ragwort poisoning
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2020, 11:49:33 am »
I understand that ragwort is more a cumulative, slow poison which goes for the ?liver.  Laurel is pretty deadly though.  Our sheep never eat ragwort - the occasional plant will always arrive on the wind even though we remove any by hand every year.  Usually they only eat it if it is accidentally dried with a hay crop, or nibble on young rosettes in such small quantities that it seems to do no harm.  I suppose it could be a different thing with young lambs with no adults to show them the ropes.
It would be worth a phone call to your vet, and a search of all places the lambs have grazed to see what else poisonous might be there.

I am surprised that the horse owner is happy to graze their animals where there is a lot of ragwort.

Cross posted with Sallyintnorth
« Last Edit: July 12, 2020, 11:51:18 am by Fleecewife »

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Ragwort poisoning
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2020, 11:52:18 am »
As above - more likely to be the laurel. I would google remedies and act fast.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Ragwort poisoning
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2020, 12:24:55 pm »
As another note you may be better off with several strands of polywire than netting, as from experience netting conducts electric very poorly as there's more points for it to short out at.


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