We get some calls on sudden deaths in pasture and often it is Nightshade. This is a weed that commonly grows in fence rows, waste areas, grain and hay fields. It can easily be killed with 2-4-D and new areas should be inspected before sheep or goats are allowed to graze. Probably every pasture has some, but if it is prevalent it can cause a problem. Treatment is not rewarding, prevention of consumption is the key to prevention.

Drying the weed as hay or waiting until after a freeze won’t reduce the toxicity; neither will fermenting it as silage.

About Ask-a-Vet Sheep

Veterinary services, procedures, biologicals, and drugs mentioned in this publication represent the personal opinions and clinical observations of the contributing author. They are in no way intended to be interpreted as recommendations without the consent of the producer’s own practicing Veterinarian. We strongly urge that producers establish a patient-client-veterinarian relationship that allows extra-label use when there are no drugs approved for treatment or if approved drugs are not effective. This procedure allows veterinarians to go beyond label directions when “prudent use” is necessary. The limited availability of drugs and biologics in this country is a major factor in restricting the growth of the sheep industry and allowing producers to compete in the world market place.
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