How to keep your cattle safe from oak tree poisoning


As the temperature begins to drop, we can anticipate more green acorns to fall from oak trees in the meadows that are located nearby. If we were having an average summer with average levels of rainfall and humidity, we wouldn’t have to be concerned about this at all.

However, in years like this one, when supplies of both standing fodder and cut hay are significantly lower than is typical, we can anticipate that our already starving cattle will begin searching for and consuming acorns. When cattle consume an excessive amount of acorns, they frequently exhibit indicators of gastrointestinal troubles. These problems might include diarrhoea, dehydration, constipation, weight loss, and even death.

Don’t Let Tannins from Acorns Make You Unwell – Know the Risks!

Tannins are the compounds responsible for making individuals ill after eating an excessive amount of acorns. Tannins are found in all acorns, and consuming an excessive amount of them can make you unwell.

When this occurs, the acorns are typically still young and green when they fall from the trees; alternatively, it can occur when cattle consume an excessive amount of acorns. When there isn’t much grass left and we aren’t bringing in any hay, like we are this year, this is something that could happen in our pastures.

Cattle begin to become ill anywhere from eight to fourteen days after consuming acorns. The severity of the disease is directly proportional to the amount of protein that the animal consumes. Animals who consume an excessive amount of acorns do not become ill in the same way that they could if they consumed other meals; this is because acorns have a high level of protein.

Cattle that consume an excessive amount of acorns experience a loss of appetite, fatigue, and difficulty urinating. Additionally, they lose weight rapidly and have the appearance of being “tucked up.”

They might also bleed from the mouth or nose, and their faeces might contain blood. Additionally, their urine might contain blood. When left untreated, constipation can result in extremely painful diarrhoea.

Infected Animals at Risk of Death, Urge Veterinarians for Help

Infected animals will drink a lot of water and have a lot of urine that is clear and may or may not have blood in it. They will also drink a lot of water. After three to seven days of the clinical phases, many of the cattle will become ill and pass away.

If these animals are able to survive this, it could be two to three weeks before they begin to show signs of improvement in their condition. If you have any reason to believe that this is the case, your first step should be to consult with a veterinarian as soon as you can.

The consumption of a large quantity of high-quality hay can be of great help to cows that are underweight and under stress. Consider the quantity and quality of the hay, and if necessary, supplement it with additional sources of protein and/or energy.

If the calves consume a sufficient quantity of low-quality hay, they might be able to receive enough calories from it, but they won’t get enough protein. You can make up for the cattle’s insufficient protein intake by feeding them high-quality hay, but this won’t cure the fact that they don’t have enough energy to get through the day.

When treating cattle who have been poisoned by acorns more than once, the majority of the time, the treatment is ineffective. Cattle that continue to graze on oak tree pastures that are considered to be “poor” should be supplemented with additional feed that contains “antidotes” for the tannins, such as hydrated lime (Calcium Hydroxide) and protein.

After the acorns have fallen from the oak trees, keeping livestock away from the trees is the easiest approach to prevent the cattle from becoming ill as a result of eating the acorns.

Until late fall or winter, when the acorns have had time to grow, turn brown, and become a little less harmful, you should hold off on allowing animals to graze in these areas. The animals should then be relocated there. However, it is essential to keep in mind that cattle might still become unwell from consuming an excessive amount of acorns, even if they are allowed to roam freely on grassland with oak trees at a later period.