This horrible, vile, obnoxious plant goes by many names – cheatgrass, wild barley, speargrass…but it all does the same thing. It is a master at working its way in, but won’t work out. They can become a health hazard for animals because they embed in the hair, especially the paws and ears, and in nostrils and even eyes.
The problem starts when you walk through a bunch of foxtail like this or if you are a sheep, try to graze the grass underneath the foxtail.
The little ‘spear’s’ pop off and stick. Poor Holly had a couple on her face and around her face. We have already had to pull a couple from the sheep’s eyes. The sheep have enough grass to graze for what they need, but I am throwing a couple of flakes of hay out so I can walk through them and do a daily check of foxtails in the eyes.
The dogs are banned from the pastures during this time of year. Many years ago, Darby, had to have surgery up his leg to fish a foxtail out. The vet never did find it.
We keep it mowed down with this…
If we keep everything short enough, then the chances of the sheep getting them in their eyes decreases.
We also planted chicory in the hopes of choking out the foxtail and giving it a competitor during the summer months.
The green, leafy plants in this picture is the chicory. It is working in some areas, but not as well as we were hoping in other areas. The foxtail is just so invasive!!!
The sheep LOVE the chicory and it is great feed for them. There aren’t very many flowers, but in the pastures that I have been keeping the sheep out of, there are some. Such a pretty color!
Ok, my little foxtail rant is over!
I hate that damn stuff too. I’ve always called it cheatgrass. It has cost me an emergency vet visit when my dog’s face started swelling for no reason I could find. It ended up being a foxtail seed embedded on the inside of his lip, on the outside of his gumline, on the top of his mouth. Expensive visit for such a tiny, stupid piece of grass.
Ugh. I can’t count how many times we had to take the dogs to the vet to remove foxtail from ears or nostrils. Horrible stuff!