Wednesday 11 May 2011

Ragwort in My Paddock

It is just starting to get to that time when all the ragwort starts to grow. I think there are about three different types of ragwort, Common ragwort, Marsh ragwort, and Oxford ragwort, but they are all just as poisonous and so they must all GO!

So today we have gone and bought a ragwort fork, it is very useful, the people that rented a paddock next to the yard we used to keep our horses at, once said they used a screwdriver and garden trowel to dig it up, but I think I will stick to the fork.

Anyway, ragwort must not just be cut down like nettles, as horses are even more likely to eat wilted ragwort, it is not common for horses to eat ragwort if they have plentiful grass to graze, but if poor quality hay is fed it can contain ragwort. Ragwort is still just as poisonous when wilted, and so needs to be removed from the paddock after being dug up.

Now one of the nicer sides to ragwort, the Cinnabar Moth this pretty little moth will lay it’s eggs on ragwort, the poisonous leaves of the ragwort are eaten by it’s caterpillars, this protect the caterpillars from predators by making them taste bad, oh and makes them poisonous too.

Sadly I have no photos of the caterpillars, I don’t think it is the right time of year, but anyway the caterpillars are yellow and black striped and a bit hairy, they look very nice and all the nicer when I see them munching on ragwort.

Thank you for the comment on my last post.

Abby, yes there is so much to learn about horses, I should probably take some BHS courses.

1 comment:

allhorsestuff said...

Loved that handy dandy tool, Edward! Good job with the field maintenance.
I've plucked several"loco weed"Tansy plants up this spring, only tool I needed was grip. ...still rather soggy here. The Tansy, if not disposed of, and left to dry..horses become serviced to it and die. I throw it in the garbage or burn it.

Ooou, that moth was fabulous looking, excellent photos!
Thanks for the nice words of encouragement! I think my mare thought the other horses would turn around, and she'd have to be in back...she's ultra competitive.