Tomatoes poisonous to cattle?

Bob_B(Sunset 14, Ca.)August 21, 2008

We live next to a cow pasture, and we often throw imperfect fruits and veggies to the cattle to eat. However, I have found conflicting info on the toxicity of tomatoes (red and green) and tomato foliage to cows. Anyone know for sure?


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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Tomatoes, potatoes and eggplants are members of the Nightshade family; a family of plants that contains many well known poisonous members. These plants have varying levels of alkaloids that have steroidal properties. Though the fruit is now known to be safe, poisoning can occur from the ingestion of the leaves, vines, or unripe fruit. There have been reports of livestock being poisoned by crossing fences to forage through a tomato patch and even by farmers adding the suckers culled from their tomato vines to the livestock feed.

Nightshade poisoning can be difficult to detect because the symptoms can be mistaken for a variety of ailments. Those symptoms are: lethargy, vomiting, difficult breathing, prostration, and constipation or diarrhea. Since these symptoms do not easily point to alkaloid poisoning it is best to take preventative measures to ensure the safety of your herd.

From Plants Poisonous to Livestock U of Minn. Extension

No more green tomatoes for the cows. ;)


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:54PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

No more green tomatoes for the cows. ;)

I guess one must deduce that cooking (frying, baking, etc) must remove the varying levels of alkaloids that have steroidal properties.

I guess one could fry them up then for the cows, if the cows just really wanted some green maters.

Have I maybe had too much coffee with too much sugar this AM?

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:15AM
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It is doubtful that throwing a few fruits over the fence will harm the cattle. As with anything it is the amount of the toxic substance consumed that is harmful and ruminants can handle a fair amount of green tomatoes ( or even green skined potatoes)in their ration if the additions are made gradually so that the gut microbes can adjust to the change.

I've made rations with various forms of cannery wastes and all sorts of manufacturing byproducts like candy scraps or peanut skins. The most common cattle poisoning problems nowdays seem to be the result of mycotoxins in moldy silage or grains such as Aflatoxins. Other possible cases of acute poisoning from wilted cherry leaves or poisonous weeds is rare.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 11:15PM
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spiced_ham(z5 OH)

But then again if a cow does get sick for another reason the farmer does have grounds to sue you for poisoning.

BTW, browsers such as deer avoid the toxic issue by only eating a little bit of toxic plants, any of which would cause a grazer, who would sit there and eat the whole thing, problems.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 7:21AM
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sorry if I come off harsh, but please don't feed your neighbor's animals without the neighbor's permission first. It might seem harmless and nice to feed the animals, but you never know if a particular animal is on medication or being treated for something, etc... a simple harmless act can occasionally be disastrous.

As a horse owner, I constantly have to patrol and remind neighbors and family friends not to feed the horses... grass clippings can ferment and kill a horse, they cannot have most garden clippings or veggies (especially tomatoes, etc), and my horses happen to be diabetic, even a piece of corn or bit of candy or sugar lump (which they will eagerly beg for) can cause them a lot of pain.

Please always ask permission, this way you're clear and covered. Sorry to sound like a 'mom', I don't mean to be rude or harsh..... I've just been in the 'neighbor's' shoes and its not always pleasant.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 1:02PM
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