To kill time and fill space, I thought I'd touch on poisonous plants. Unfortunately the new pasture area has a few poisonous plants that we'll have to deal with.
The biggest issue are cherry trees. Any type of cherry tree is poisonous to llamas (and alpacas, and most livestock). The bark is poisonous at any time, and the leaves are poisonous when they are wilted (such as when a branch breaks off in a storm). Surprisingly the leaves that fall naturally in the fall aren't poisonous! In cherry trees, the poisonous agent is cyanide, which the leaves produce when they are "stressed". Unfortunately for us, most of the cherry trees adjacent to the pasture are ones that can't be cut, due to various reasons (part are on a neighbor's property, and part are shelter for cultivated bees). So we are fencing the trees out of the pasture area, and will have to be diligent about fallen branches.
|Cherry tree leaves.|
|Mature cherry tree bark.|
Another poisonous plant that I recently found is buttercup. Luckily, it seems like buttercup is usually avoided by camelids, and it is also much less toxic than many other plants. So for the time being I'm just going to mow the areas with buttercup, in attempt to kill it off naturally.
|Buttercup flower and leaf (leaf is the big one bottom center).|
There is also a lot of burdock in the pasture, but the poisonous part of that plant is the seed, which is likely to be avoided by any smart grazing animal!
I have seen a lot of milkweed in other parts of the property, but nothing seems to be growing in the pasture.
So that's a little bit about the poisonous plants that I'll have to deal with here on my New York farm. If you want a more comprehensive list of poisonous plants for camelids, I suggest this site: http://www.c-r-alpacas.com/Alpaca%20Tips/plants_that_are_poisonous_to_alp.htm.