Does any one know what beasties eat Thistles????

Bay_Beasty

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I have just spent the last hour and a half deheading my thistles in the field. I managed to scrape them all up in one field and have just left them in the other field until tomorrow.
(mammoth job as they are much more spread over the field in this one) but these are only the thistles that have flowered. there are loads that have not flowered and I have left, usually every year I go down in the worse field and hand pul them out with tough gloves on. Anyway, I can be bothered to do that any more, its dull, takes ages I get stuff in my fingers regardless of gloves and my back hurts afterwards and I have better things to do with my life.

So my question is, what beasties eat thistles?? Can I encourage them into my fields and how do I do this??

All ideas welcome, though I know that Eeyore east Thistles but I don't actually think Donkeys do, and I am not allowed one. :(.

Thankies in advance and a Muffin and cup of tea for you if you get this far :D
 

Bay_Beasty

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both fields have horses in, Jim kinda likes the flower when freshly opened as long as he isnt going to actually get a prickle in his skin, lips, tongue or even close to him (wussy TB :D) Jelly although a gannet, does not seen to like them.

Sorry should of explained :D :)
 

skychick

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My arab used to love the purple flowers....watching him try and eat them without prickling his lips was hilarious!!
But i always thought it was donkeys that ate them?

Failing that.....maybe goats??? they seem to eat everything...from food, to paper, to washing off the line if its low enough for the little monkeys to reach it!
 

Bay_Beasty

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Never got our fields topped ever :eek: because I live on gravel and the grass doesnt ever grow enough to warrant it but next year I might as I probably wont have horses on it. Would strimming do the same do you think if they were small??

And dont take this the wrong way but No to the spray purely on personal ecological grounds :D
 

skychick

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just put in google "what animals eat thistles"

This is one answer

Answer

"Dear Customer,

Researchers have found that many animals will eat what their mothers eat. Because of that, many animals including: horses, cows, and goats will eat thistle. Thistle is even eaten by deer and elk.

Many birds also eat thistle seed: Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches, Redpolls, Siskins, Juncos, and even Mourning Doves"
 

Bay_Beasty

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My arab used to love the purple flowers....watching him try and eat them without prickling his lips was hilarious!!
But i always thought it was donkeys that ate them?

Failing that.....maybe goats??? they seem to eat everything...from food, to paper, to washing off the line if its low enough for the little monkeys to reach it!

Oh no goats :D :D I told my Dad yesterday that I would never own goats. I was thinking they might be good though. Although eat horses tails too. .........I may be wrong about donkeys eating Thistles. Would be a good argument to me getting two. :D
 

Bay_Beasty

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just put in google "what animals eat thistles"

This is one answer

Answer

"Dear Customer,

Researchers have found that many animals will eat what their mothers eat. Because of that, many animals including: horses, cows, and goats will eat thistle. Thistle is even eaten by deer and elk.

Many birds also eat thistle seed: Goldfinches, House Finches, Purple Finches, Redpolls, Siskins, Juncos, and even Mourning Doves"
Wow thanks, right so need to get a new horse that eats thistles, :D or failing that a goat, or encourage lots of birds into the fields to eat thistles.
 

skychick

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Lol i would advise against goats......the b*ggers escape all the time and are generally little monkeys! Didnt know they chewed horses tails...mind you they eat everything in sight so it doesnt surprise me :-D

Now a pair of donkeys could be fun.....you could get a donkey cart for them ;-)
 

stencilface

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Yep you could strim them - or this year my dad hired a power scythe from HSS (I think) and we did it ourselves one weekend - think it cost £30 ish to hire it fir one weekend. It cuts pretty low to the ground, but has worked on ours a treat, and for once our field looks pretty good, have had it harrowed, rolled and cut this year - organised for once! :D
 

Bay_Beasty

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Ok so not getting goats. Live next to a woods and would just loose them in there. What about sheep? could I borrow some from a farmer and would they eat them? I dont want any wussy lame sheep that die and get foot rot though. I can't be dealing with that. They have to be tough sheep that cope. :D However I dunno if sheep eat thistles and I don't like how they smell. Could I bath them?
 

starbar

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Oooh, the chunky hairy one loves them. He spends many a happy hour delicately picking off the purple flowers. When they have gone he starts to much on the rest. My OH picks the flowers off them as treats for him :)
 

Natch

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Some horses wil eat them once they have dried, so pulling them/chopping them off and leaving them to wilt and dry (not in a big heap, because I would imagine that would cause fermentation) may be worth a shot. I give 'em a bash with the fork when poo picking, or when I'm in need of venting some frustration or anger ;) :D its great therapy, but your horses do look at you as if you are a looney :D

I also found out that one particular horse I knew would ignore them when they were growing, but as soon as we opened a gate we usually didn't use and it squashed them/pushed them over, he was immediately there and in his element eating them. Perhaps he was just odd, or perhaps they prickle less when eaten stem upwards?!
 

flowerlady

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Some horses wil eat them once they have dried, so pulling them/chopping them off and leaving them to wilt and dry (not in a big heap, because I would imagine that would cause fermentation) may be worth a shot. I give 'em a bash with the fork when poo picking, or when I'm in need of venting some frustration or anger ;) :D its great therapy, but your horses do look at you as if you are a looney :D

I also found out that one particular horse I knew would ignore them when they were growing, but as soon as we opened a gate we usually didn't use and it squashed them/pushed them over, he was immediately there and in his element eating them. Perhaps he was just odd, or perhaps they prickle less when eaten stem upwards?!
Maybe he thought you'd killed them for him:D:D:p
 
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