Cattle will eat just about anything that looks interesting in the pasture, says Dave Sparks, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension veterinarian and area food animal quality and health specialist. With spring storms popping up around the country, insulation and building debris can blow into pastures and be a problem.
Insulation can cause bloat, impaction and gastro-intestinal problems when consumed, including possible hemorrhaging of the rumen. Hardware disease from nails and other small pieces of metal is another concern.
“Producers are going to have to pick up as much debris from their pastures as possible,” Sparks says. “This can be a painstaking, labor-intensive process given the potential amount of small debris.”
Consider rumen magnets if there appears to be a lot of metal debris in your pastures after a storm, he says. “Insulation debris are more problematic because of the small size. Producers are unlikely to rid their pastures of every bit of insulation. If animals exhibit symptoms of insulation-related problems, producers should contact their local veterinarian immediately.”