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Mesquite beans

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#1 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 11:36 AM

I have several mesquite trees in my pasture and my horses love the beans, so I am confining them to a bean-less pasture till the season passes. At night I always put them in a dry-lot corral for their supper. They know the "supper drill" and always come running. So last night I opened the gate to the pasture and called them for supper, thinking they would come running.
They came running, all right, but headed for the mesquite trees. They began to eat the beans on the ground as fast as they could. They were even making little excited piggy noises! I tried to catch them to lead them to the corral and they wouldn't be caught. They kept running around the area, evading me and snatching a bean. I called my husband to help me and we tried driving them away from the area. They were obsessed!
Finally caught them and put them in their corral. Tonight, I will be using halters to transfer them! The beans are drying now and are full of starch and sweet as sugar. Too fattening for my two plumpos!

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#2 Krazee bout Kasspur

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 11:57 AM


I am having the same problem with the mesquite beans. Now that we've had some decent rain to end the drought, the grass is coming up, but the beans are everywhere! sad.gif

I've been raking them up as best I can and sometimes even bend down to pick them up by hand. new_shocked.gif

A rancher friend advised me to cut back on grain so they don't get an overdose of protein. I did have two horses founder at the same time in the past and believe the beans to be the culprit.

My minis do the same as yours about searching for the beans when I have them in the yard for grazing.


#3 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 12:49 PM

I don't know for sure, but I dont' believe protein is the issue with the beans. Sugar is the culprit and could possibly be the cause of your founder troubles at bean time.
If yours have foundered at bean time, it might be a good idea to keep them off totally till they are gone. You might call your Extention office and ask for facts. I did that the first year we lived here.

My horses don't seem to be prone to founder, but I don't want to take any chances and plan to keep them away from the trees till the seeds are gone.

I don't remember such a prolific bean crop before this year. Every tree has dozens of pods. We have an ongoing program of keeping the mesquites under control, but do not plan to eradicate them completely, as they are not all bad.
They are legumes--nitrogen-fixing plants. We use the firewood. And their filtered shade is good. And the mockingbirds love them to build their nests in.

#4 cretahillsgal


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Posted 29 August 2008 - 12:55 PM

Hey Marsha! I know what you are going through! wacko.gif Too many mesquites here too. But my horses have snatched them all up already. And like your boys they would eat them before going to their feed everytime. Another problem that I am having right now is that the mesquites are starting to leak sap and the horses will stand there and lick and chew on the tree where the sap is!

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#5 Gini


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Posted 29 August 2008 - 01:00 PM

The problem isn't the protein in the beans or the sugar. I went to a seminar at the University of Arizona Vet school and they cautioned about the beans in the miniature horses. When the pods fall from the trees and the horses chew the pod the strings in the beans can cause impaction. I'm more worried about an impaction in my guys than I am about the sugars in the pods.
It doesn't seem to hurt the bigger horses as much as the little guys. I have 4 very large mesquite trees in my area where they are. Before letting any of them out on the pasture I rake the beans! There are a few left when I'm done and my guys will even fight over them.
I will be glad when the bean season is over!!!

#6 Marsha Cassada

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 02:11 PM

Thanks for that info, Gini. I asked my extention agent about dangers of them a few years ago, and he didn't seem to think there were any problems, except for the sugar. I did worry about the pods, and it makes sense as they are so tough.

I have not noticed sap, but did see little ants around the trees to maybe that is an indication of sweet sap. I will check it out.

I have been keeping an eye on my horses, espeically since one is on the antibiotic, and neither seem to be having an impaction problem--if the piles of normal poop are the correct indication.

#7 babygoose


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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:29 PM

I have heard also that too many mesquite beans can cause impaction colic in horses. The ranchers around here love them for their cattle though! Some of the ranches in our desert country are so sparse on grass that mesquite beans make a large portion of the cattle forage.