Clover - when is it safe for cattle

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1 year 2 months ago #558131 by Dr Spock
Hi all. I've had the fear of God put into by my neighbour. He says when there is clover coming through, it's not safe for cattle to graze. What do you do when the grass is growing rampant but there's also a lot of clover in it? When is it safe for cattle to eat clover? Do sheep have the same issue with it?
TIA
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1 year 2 months ago #558136 by tonybaker
In my limited experience I have found that animals know how to live and what to eat to stay healthy. It's only when humans interfere that things get sticky! As long as you don't suddenly change from a barren paddock to one full of long grass and clover, you will be ok. You only have to look at a paddock of mixed species and you will see how stock avoid the unpalatable species. Interestingly, my sheep won't touch hay, no matter how good it is or how hungry they are!. it wouldn't do any harm though to read up on bloat and it's remedies just in case.

5 acres, Ferguson 35X and implements, Hanmay pto shredder, BMW Z3, Countax ride on mower, chooks, Dorper and Wiltshire sheep. Bosky wood burning central heating stove and radiators. Retro caravan. Growing our own food and preserving it. Small vineyard, crap wine. :)
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1 year 2 months ago #558137 by LongRidge
Animals, like children, like "lollies" when they can get them, so if they can gorge on clover, which to them is a lolly, then they do. I once drove past a paddock where all the animals were standing. When I came back 20 minutes later, 3 were dead from bloat :-( .
If you are able to break feed the paddock then feed them a biscuit of hay each immediately before you move the break.
I have found that one or two animals are much more susceptible to bloat than the rest of the herd. Thus I check if these ones are starting to get a bigger left side (looking in their direction), and move the whole lot off the break and give a biscuit of hay each.
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1 year 2 months ago #558138 by Jaybee
Bloat's usually a problem on dairy farms with lush, immature, highly fertilised, clover dominant pasture where the cows get a fresh area twice a day.

Where the animals are set stocked and the pasture's a bit lower quality with more of a mix of species it's not usually that much of a problem. We're also past the worst time of year for bloat, the grass is stalkier and has more fibre and the clover is not so dangerous once it's flowered.

Still, it would pay to take notice of your neighbour since he has local knowledge. The main preventions are feeding fibrous food like hay and not letting hungry cattle gorge on the clover. If it's a real problem you can get long acting bullets to give them or medicines like Bloatenz to drench them with or put in the water supply.

If you see an animal looking very distended especially on the left drenching with some vegetable oil (very carefully, not into the lungs!) will fix them as long as you catch it early, if you don't have any Bloatenz.
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1 year 2 months ago - 1 year 2 months ago #558146 by Ferrit47
Yes Jaybee I was going say someting similar to what you have said.
Be careful The Cows dont get too Bloated up as it can cause Staggers in cows. We used to have this problem too years ago. Cattle love fresh long Grass.
Last edit: 1 year 2 months ago by Ferrit47.

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