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Clover - Horses [Skip to Content]
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Illinois Livestock Trail

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QUESTION
does a heavy frost kill back the clover for the winter, therefore making if safe for horses to eat it with out any effects?


ANSWER

This is a difficult question to answer because limited research has been done in this area. There has been some work done in the UK that suggests that there might be some risk from elevated cyanogenic glycosides in clovers that have been stressed from frost. The information is sketchy, though, so no firm conclusions can be drawn. So, the best that I can say is that I don't really know, but you probably shouldn't assume that it is safe. However, if there is little clover still growing after the frost, and the horses are eating significantly more hay than pasture, any potential toxicity should be diluted such that visible symptoms would be unlikely.







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