Fescue hay?

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piggie parent

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:18 pm


Is this ok for pigs? I don't know anything about it but the feed store here says they sale alot of it for horses.

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lisam

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:36 pm


Fescue is a type of grass. Actually, there is more than one type of fescue.

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piggie parent

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 8:46 pm


Ok now I am confused. They were calling this fescue hay. So is it more like bluegrass and is it safe?

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:04 pm


It is safe if it is not from a field with fungus in it (some fescues have this problem). I think guinea pigs like orchard grass and timothy more than they like fescue.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:18 pm


I fed fescue for some time. It was fescue/orchard grass and tested for that mold/fungus thing. I don't even know the name of the exact pathogen, but a horse person told me about it. Personally, even though the nutrient profiles vary from hay to hay, the fescue is not as appropriate as the timothy or bluegrass. It won't hurt if it's good hay, but I wouldn't use a ton of it.

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piggie parent

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:47 pm


Well I was looking for something locally right now funds are a little tight with kids going back to school so I can't do KM's hay which I know is great. There is someone here with an ad that says horse quality costal bermuda so maybe I will try that.

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 10:57 pm


It's an endophyte fungus that supposedly produces some toxins.

"While occasional negative responses of animals consuming tall fescue were observed for several decades, it was not until the late 1970's that the cause of these responses was discovered. Many tall fescue plants are infected with a fungus that grows inside the plant. This fungus is called an endophyte because it is found within tissue and does not affect the outward appearance of the grass. In the scientific community, the tall fescue fungal endophyte was formerly known as Acremonium coenophialum, but has recently been reclassified as Neotyphodium coenophialum.

Interestingly, it is not the fungus itself that is toxic, rather the fungus produces alkaloid(s) that are toxic to animals that consume the plant. Ergot alkaloids are the group of alkaloids produced in endophyte-infected (EI) tall fescue that have definitively been linked to toxic responses in animals."

http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/forage/418-050/418-050.html#L2

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lisam

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:10 pm


The major problem with endophyte infected fescue is the effects it has on pregnant mares and foaling. It can cause the birth sac to be so thick the baby is unable to break free and suffocates. It can also cause the mare not to produce milk. I'm not aware of any problems with non-breeding horses.

Josephine
Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:57 pm


Ahhh, thanks for the info, guys!

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-ly-

Post   » Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:05 am


I use Bermuda grass hay. Make sure it's green and not straw looking. It's a decent hay. My pigs like it.

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LER

Post   » Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:41 am


Interesting that this topic came up. I was researching to see if there could be anything I fed the pregnant pigs that so many would have had issues and came up with the possibility of fescue. I don't know if any of it grows in the yard where I harvested clover and grass for them or not - have not be en able to id it. I did find some interesting links, though. In addition to affecting pregnant animals, there was some discussion on the effect of growing animals as well.
http://www.equitox.com/fescueinhorse.pdf
http://www.vet.purdue.edu/depts/addl/toxic/plant15.htm
http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/horse/406-475/406-475.html

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piggie parent

Post   » Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:30 am


Ly, is your Bermuda the same as Costal Bermuda hay? That is the only thing that grows here. So I don't have any choices really. I just saw the fescue ad and thought I would ask about it. The one thing I do hate about local hay is that it seems to go brown very quick where as KMs doesn't.

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Webs
Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Wed Jul 27, 2005 1:23 pm


I've also read these articles with much interest as I'm trying to find a reason for Sparky's flare ups of gas.

My pigs have only been getting grass since the beginning of this year as the neighbour's cat used to mess in it constantly, but the poor thing died over the winter. Since starting to feed the grass however, I've always thought that it seemed to be the cause of Sparky's gas or more lethargic periods, and usually she gets softer poop with it too, but Chilli remains largely unaffected.

I can only feed a very small handful between the two before poor Sparky seems to blow up and feel unwell. Even when I've taken her to the vet he says there's not that much gas in her as he could feel all her organs and she didn't seem to complain much at the palpating.

Fescue and its close relative ryegrass are common here as they cope better with the climate and grow in any conditions. My back garden has large patches of it as it's the only stuff that seems to survive the winter, makes a good lawn and mine has been well fertillized this spring. The meadow hay I get for the pigs is also often mainly fescue or ryegrass and Sparky went right off it earlier this year so that's why I started ordering Oxbow timmy hay which has become the favourite.

The pointers that ring bells are the weekend the photos were taken (in piggy pics V) the pigs were out longer than usual and they were in the most sheltered spot which is where the fescue/ryegrass is. The weekend was also hotter than normal (for us) and Sparky appeared not to cope with it very well. She was more slumped, breathing harder and also kept biting her rear feet. Her appetite wasn't so sharp and she drank more water which I just put down to the heat. Later there was much gurgling in her bowels and she blew up and was quite gassy.

I have been thinking it's also possible heart issues or teeth, but of all the info I've read on GL, her symptoms don't seem to match up as she seems to make a quick recovery when there's no grass to offer i.e. when I've cut it.

Perhaps it's just coincidence, but it's certainly one more thing to look out for! Thanks for the heads-up on the fungus issue Lynx, after some research it's not just the US that is affected.

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