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Old 05-17-2006, 05:48 PM  
ray
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Grass Clippings, Why Not?

I know that horses are not to eat clippings from cutting your grass. My situation is that I have a mini in my yard. I have a half acre or so and he is in about a quarter of it. The rest of the grass grows very fast and lush so we have been cutting it with a lawn mower. His area of grass is not going to last forever so I would like to bump his fencing out and so on and so on, as he needs it. I am worried that because the grass has been mowed, it is a bad idea. How long can a horse go on it from it's last cut. I guess I need to know WHY they can't to make a decision. I just hate to put him on straight hay when there is great grass on the other side of the fence.
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:55 PM  
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You can put him on the grass clippings as soon as they have fully dried. The reason you don't want to put him on fresh clippings is because the cut grass quickly converts to high levels of sugars, which can lead to laminitis.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:09 PM  
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The grass itself won't hurt him if he has already been eating it - only if they eat too much after only being on hay.

As far as the grass clippings, as Orchid said, just let them dry out some - best way is to not rake and pile them up so they won't ferment. Just let them dry out in the sun and then rake.

I give mine grass clippings all the time and have for years. I even give them fresh clippings as a treat - but only a very small amount of fresh.

The danger with grass clippings is they eat too much too quickly - much more quickly than from grazing, so the result is a "gorge" - not good...
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:34 PM  
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I have also heard that the short clippings of grass can bind in the horse's gut and cause colic.

I think that if you wait a bit and extend that fence a little at a time, you'll be fine.
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:42 PM  
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I have a friend that gave his horse 2 big garbage bags of fresh bermuda clippings - cost him a $300 vet bill for colic treatment - just a little more than the half bale of hay he was trying to save on...
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:44 PM  
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The only other thing I can add is that I've heard is that sometimes lawnmowers can leak oil or gas, etc onto the grass... (Never stopped me as a kid from scooping them up and tossing over the fence to my horses... )
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Old 05-17-2006, 06:56 PM  
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Ok, so I have done the complete opposite.
I have always gave my horses the cut grass before it dried.
Mostly the mustangs in the pen and I have had not one problem ever.
*Knocking on wood*

Whats the difference than the grass in your yard cut, and cutting the grass in the pasture? Honest question.

We mow our pastures once a month and they graze the cut grass before it dries.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:04 PM  
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I give mine pasture clippings all the time, but I cut that with a bushog at a high setting, so they are getting mostly stems with some leaves.

Lawnmowers are set a lot lower and lawns are cut before the stems get long, so you are usually just clipping pure new-growth leaves that are higher in protein and sugar - pretty concentrated stuff...
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:08 PM  
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Grass clippings will get hot and ferment making it unedible in that stage. It is also difficult for horses to distinguish between things they can eat and things that they cannot when they are cut up and tiny.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:18 PM  
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In addition to all the good comments above, I'd also heard that because of the blades on the lawnmower sucking up so much sand (at least here in FL), that sand is also in the clippings. We all know what sand does to them.....
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:20 PM  
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Actually, no sand here, which I am in North FL.

Thanks for the answer. I get it now, duh.
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Old 05-17-2006, 07:24 PM  
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So does that mean I can cut the grass wait a couple of days for it too dry, rake it off and then turn him out on it?
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Old 05-17-2006, 09:06 PM  
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If you rake the clippings and take them away, you can let the horse out on the mowed grass right away....or let the clippings dry and not rake them at all.

But, don't just give your horse a big pile of fresh clippings to munch on - there will likely be weeds in it and the horse will eat them far too fast. Also, like its been said above, short lawn clippings are much richer than regular hay or forage.

If you mow less often, so the grass gets high and stemmy and goes to seed, you can let the clippings dry and feed them like hay, or to streatch hay. Store them in dry piles under cover and they basically are hay. Drying not only decreases the sugar content, it reduces or eliminates many of the weed toxins.

When you move your fence to give him more grazing, only do a small amount at a time, weather you mow it or not. He's sure to make a total pig of himself when you first let him on it, and that will lead to colic and laminitis in minis and ponies. Also, don't for get to shorten the other end, so that the grass can grow back there - that way, you'll have a continuous supply of nice forage for him.
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:21 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aussieshep
In addition to all the good comments above, I'd also heard that because of the blades on the lawnmower sucking up so much sand (at least here in FL), that sand is also in the clippings. We all know what sand does to them.....
You must be near me somewhere!! We go through lawnmower blades like a tank of gasoline! The sand just destroys them!
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Old 05-18-2006, 09:50 AM  
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I have a question. We just planted pasture grass last fall and we are planning on bringing our horses home around July. The vet said that this was a good month because the grass is starting to die down. My horses are out on grass all day now so they're used to the grass, but then the grass in their fields is very well established and probably not as rich.

So my question is that the vet said to be sure to cut the grass before we bring them home on it. The grass is still pretty new and the only stuff that has grown really long is the rye which we just cut down after it when to seed. Is it really necessary to cut it? Beacuse from what you're all saying here the grass clippings are bad for them. Or do you think he meant cut it a few weeks before so the clippings dry out?

I have one more question too. I never knew that the fresh grass clippings were bad for the horses and every so often the caretaker of our farm cuts the fields. He mostly cuts them for the weeds and the grass clippings are really short since the horses keep the grass down. But then again its like a 5 acre field. If I notice him doing this again shoudl I be keeping my horses in for a few days?
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Old 05-20-2006, 05:09 PM  
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We wait and mow our grass when it is a bit higher than you normally would let it get and then blow it into the middle of the yard, which is almost an acre. When it is dry, we pick it up with the grasscatcher and put it out in about 5 piles or if we have a round bale out, we put it in the feeder. So far, knocking on wood, we've not had any problems and we save about $15.00 a month on gas.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:05 PM  
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Okay, you have me worried!

My horse pasture butts up to a lawn which my neighbour cuts and the grass clippings go through the fence and my horses eat the clippings. Should I be worried?
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:08 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuarterCowGirl
Okay, you have me worried!

My horse pasture butts up to a lawn which my neighbour cuts and the grass clippings go through the fence and my horses eat the clippings. Should I be worried?
Not if it as small an amount as I am thinking it would be.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:09 PM  
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He keeps the grass pretty short, and between the three of them they shouldn't be getting too much.
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Old 05-25-2006, 02:10 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orchid
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuarterCowGirl
Okay, you have me worried!

My horse pasture butts up to a lawn which my neighbour cuts and the grass clippings go through the fence and my horses eat the clippings. Should I be worried?
Not if it as small an amount as I am thinking it would be.
Mine will reach under the electric fence for those little delicacies when Danny mows the lawn. We use a mulcher mower, and they don't get all that much.

No one's any worse for the wear...
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