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Country Discussion Topics
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Thistle Donkeys
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Von    Posted 03-17-2003 at 07:19:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Simple question:

Will a donkey eat thistle ?

Hal/WA    Posted 03-17-2003 at 17:06:03       [Reply]  [No Email]
I don't know anything about donkeys. But I grew up raising lots of cows. We had one Hereford brood cow that, for reasons I have never understood, decided that she liked the blooms of Canada thistles and would seek them out, even if there was good grass available. One of our creekbottom pastures was badly infested with the Canada thistles in one area. It was interesting to see that one cow standing among the thistles eating away when the rest of the herd might be quite a distance away from her. She always stayed fat and in good shape and raised many fine calves. Because she was so good at controlling the thistles, we kept her until she was about 12 or 13 years old, much older than any of our other beef cows.

My Dad and I often wondered why that cow would choose the thistles as her preferred pasture. We never before or after had another cow that was interested in even touching them. Must have had a very tough tongue! A good memory...

Von    Posted 03-17-2003 at 10:04:43       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks guys for the insight.

Someone told me donkeys, digging, or spray. I thought donkey's were a stretch but have since read where they would eat the blooms (probably under poor grazing conditions). Well spring is upon us in SC and with the recent rain it looks like I'm back to digging and spray. Going to have a good crop if anybody needs some.


mojo    Posted 03-17-2003 at 09:53:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
the mules and horses my renter has will eat the blooms off of mushthistles (occasionally), they don't touch the canadian thistles, tho.

Ron/PA    Posted 03-17-2003 at 09:06:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
Von, I know that common plant names vary from region to region, but if you are talking about the kind of thistle, that we have here in central PA. with little cactus type stickers on it, then I would say that the answer is NO!
Those things hurt your fingers and hands, and would be pure murder on the tongue and mouth.

Tom A    Posted 03-17-2003 at 07:26:52       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I've got one very old donkey who had been abused by a previous owner. Was pretty literally skin and bones and was taken by animal control and given to a rescue place. You'd think he would eat anything if anybody would.

Well, we've had him about 8 months now and I've never seen him eat any thistle, ever. He pretty well sticks to grass out in the pasture.

For what it is worth, my goats won't eat thistle either. The young 'uns have tried it, but I've never seen them eat it more than once or twice.

Tom A

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