The University of Arizona

Utilization of larkspur by sheep.

M.H. Ralphs, J.E. Bowns, G.D. Manners

Abstract


Sheep are more resistent to larkspur (Delphinium spp.) poisoning than are cattle, and may be used as a biological tool to graze larkspur prior to cattle turn-in to reduce the risk of cattle poisoning. Sheep utilization of 3 species of larkspur was measured at 3 phenological growth states (vegetative, bud, and flower) at 5 locations. Utilization of waxy larkspur (D. glaucescens Wats), varied among years at Ruby, Mont. Use of duncecap larkspur (D. occidentals. Wats) at Oakley, Ida., was uniformly higher in all 3 growth stages due to closed herding practices. Use of tall larkspur (D. barbeyi Huth) increased as it matured. Trailing sheep through larkspur patches, or bedding them in patches greatly increased trampling of larkspur stalks and utilization of heads and leaves.

Keywords


Delphinium glaucescens;Delphinium occidentale;alkaloids;Delphinium barbeyi;sheep;Montana;grazing

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