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Author Topic: Is dock poisonous to sheep?  (Read 4197 times)

the two Bs

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Scottish Borders
Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« on: July 30, 2018, 06:31:39 pm »
I really hate   looking  up a plant on the web to see if it poisonous to my 4 pet 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 people 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....

the two Bs

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Scottish Borders
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 06:35:56 pm »
Should have said, two are lovely "farm" sheep - half Texel and half Suffolk respectively, and the other two are affectionate, naughty little Shetlands who will eat just about anything.....Thanks!


  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Orkney
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 07:40:08 pm »
I think i can safely say that dock is not poisonous to sheep. I have no evidence to support this except that my sheep absolutely love dock, it's always the first thing they go for when put to new grazing and they have never suffered any adverse effects.


  • Joined Jan 2017
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2018, 08:56:16 pm »
Our sheep also love dock and we have plenty of it here, but it will be the first thing eaten in a field.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2018, 09:18:29 pm »
My goats love docks, and it is really good for them as the deep tap root will bring up lots of minerals. My sheep (Shetlands) will also eat it, though I am not sure if it the first thing they go for...


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2018, 09:21:04 pm »
Itís the oxalic acid in dock which can be harmful if eaten to excess.  So long as dock isnít the only vegetation in there and theyíre not on dock alone for weeks, Iím sure theyíll be fine.  Itís ponies which are more likely to suffer the effects, as they are often on restricted grazing (to prevent fatness and hence laminitis), which can mean an excess of docks in their ground.  My Fells, despite being on very slim pickings over summer for the aforementioned reasons, eat very little of the docks in their pasture.  They know. ;)

Repeated topping will reduce the docks in time.  Either by machine or sheep ;). Or both.

If you must use chemicals, use a weed-wipe technique which ensures the toxic chemicals do not drift too much onto other plants, and keep a good margin (legally at least 10m) from any watercourse.  Be aware that residues in the grass and any crop (hay, silage) are extremely persistent, to the extent that using composted manure from animals fed the hay or grass will still kill broad-leaves plants - so use it only on pasture, not on your vegetable-growing areas!
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

the two Bs

  • Joined Oct 2013
  • Scottish Borders
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2018, 04:27:10 pm »
Thank you so much everybody. I shall stop worrying. I just seem to have more dock this year than most, so maybe they will enjoy it. I am really grateful to you all!


  • Joined Mar 2014
  • lower whitley
Re: Is dock poisonous to sheep?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2018, 02:56:59 pm »
Also it will help them if they get a stinging nettle sting!!!!


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