Protect your pets: Many agriculturally necessary plants are naturally toxic to animals

milkweed
Image Credit: American Meadows

Not all plants are wholesome for foraging animals.

Certain species of milkweed, for example, that are highly valued as host plants for the dwindling monarch butterfly population, are extremely poisonous to pets and to range animals like sheep, cattle and goats. Even free-ranging chickens aren’t immune. Among potentially toxic poultry pickings are castor beans and certain mushrooms, although chickens don’t eat them as readily as do animals.

Some plants, like water hemlock, “can kill a cow in 15 minutes, while others, like buttercups, just leave a burning sensation in their mouths or tongues,” said Donna Foulk, an Extension educator with Penn State University.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ornamental plants either in or outside the home are frequently toxic, she said.

Related article:  CRISPR may allow us to choose the color of butterfly wings

Many weed varieties aren’t toxic unless environmental conditions make them so. “If plants pick up a lot of nitrogens from rain and rapid growth, and animals eat a lot of them, they can die,” said Mark Renz, a University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension weed scientist.

The problem becomes even more acute during dry weather when pasture grasses go dormant and troublesome but persistent weeds become more enticing as fodder.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Read full, original article: Many plants can be poisonous to pets and livestock

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Infographic: Here’s where GM crops are grown around the world today

Do you know where biotech crops are grown in the world? This updated ISAAA infographics show where biotech crops were ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists
Send this to a friend