Clovers

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Sarah J, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    I am having a hard time determining the correct answer to this question: are red or white clover okay or toxic for sheep and goats?

    I have some sources that say one or both are toxic and some that say that one or both are NOT toxic. No one seems to have a consensus on this... And finding a hay/pasture seed mix that *doesn't* include one or both of them is next to impossible, though I have found some. I'm just wondering - is it really necessary? Or does no one really know the answer? :confused:

    Sarah
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well I don't know the researched concensus but I feed lots of red and white clover to sheep and have done so for years. All clovers fed as a rich pasture mix are a risk for bloat. All legumes are (alfalfa, vetch, trefoil) but clover is a little more likely to cause bloat. Clover is supposed to be high in estrogen causing breeding problems. Can't say we've ever tied a breeding problem to clover, and we had neighbors that grazed a pretty rich stand to flush for breeding year after year so if its a rule there's gotta be exceptions. The blood thining problem from moldy clover hay may be more of a concern, I have fed some moldy feed over the years and can't say its caused a problem, but perhaps it did and I just never connected the dots. We keep clover to about 30% of the mix and use a certified seed to get the highest quality plant growing. Its good feed and one of the best wet land hay mixes I plan to direct (frost) seed in about 60 acres this spring.
     

  3. tim1253

    tim1253 Well-Known Member

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    I've fed clover for years to my sheep both in pasture and hay. Have always heard about the bloat risk but I cannot say that I've experienced that. All pastures and hay are mixed and have used both white and red.

    Tim
    Knoxville
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Alrighty then...sounds like it probably isn't a huge problem with the sheep, as long as the mix is right (less than 30% ought to do it, right?). Now I'm awaiting news from my goat people to see what their thoughts are on the subject...I'll be separating the goats and sheep soon (as soon as I can fence things in and get pasture greens started!) and need to know in whose areas I can plant the clover and whose I can't...

    Thanks!!!

    Sarah
     
  5. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Clover is safe for sheep to eat. What normally causes all the problems isn't the clover itself, but a white powdery fungus that will form on the leaves in warm wetter weather. Just watch out for that,, can't miss it.
     
  6. Sarah ihave heard red clover causes sheep not to breed back as well but it seems someone has proved that to be not so according your replies, But i will Agree With All replies that it can cause bloat if sheep are not gradually put on it as with any sheep feed needs to be carefully changed Hope i helped .Quest
     
  7. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I've not raised many sheep, but a point I was always told about bloat on any legume pasture was to avoid turning them on to the wet pasture early in the morning. while the due was still heavy.. That advice was always given me for cattle, but might very well apply to sheep.