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Spinal Research



Carrot tops - other plants

Is it true that carrot tops (ie the green leafy bits) are not good to feed to horses.

 I have always 'known' that green carrot tops were bad for horses but I'm dashed if I can remember what they contain that makes them bad.  MIGHT be the same as green in potatoes - (solanine) (also present in the tops of carrots when exposed to light and greenish) but I'm dashed if I can remember.  My trusty Hayes covers most things that cause problems - onions, would you believe; brassicas, sorghum grains, and lectins in beans, some members of the pea family (lathyrogens) and certain glycosides (lima beans, sorghum leaves)  but nothing on carrot tops.

Are sweet peas poisonous then ? I ask as a family friend who is retired has a 'plot' for veg growing and I think he is planning to grow sweet peas next year - I have told him about potatoes and onions do I need to mention sweet peas ?

Various members of the pea family (Lathyrus) including Sweet peas contain lathyrogenic agents which cause a rather nasty type of poisoning which results in sudden and transient paralysis of the larynx with near suffocation brought on by exercise.  Associated with degenerative change in nerves and muscles of larynx and profound irritation of liver and spleen.  The whole plant contains the toxin, although the seeds the most potent source!

What does the term brassicas include. I feed the vegetable bits to my Dales and this includes things like cabbage stalks and broccoli stems. What problems do they cause? My pony wolfs them down and doesn't seem to have come to any harm yet - but I don't want to do her any damage.

Almost all brassicas - cabbages, rape, kale, mustard (and, I think brussel sprouts are brassicas too) contain thyroactive substances which, when consumed persistently - particularly by young stock - can cause goitre.  I wouldn't think small quantities occasionally would do any harm at all - but you wouldn't want horses getting into a field of kale (or a garden allotment FULL of cabbages.)  Sheep grazed on kale are fed supplementary iodine - because kale is such a cheap, nutritious feed for grazing animals it's worth the bother.

Beans are also dodgy - containing lectins - but again in very small quantities are not likely to cause problems.


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