Darn those porcupines!

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Apr 20, 2005
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Southwest Oklahoma
Went out this morning and saw the quills in Hawk's nose. I called a neighbor to come and help me, as my husband had already left for work. Gave him some banamine and then we managed to pull them all out with the needle-nose pliers. Almost every horse I've had since we've lived here has had quills ONCE. Hopefully Hawk learned his lesson and won't get so up close and personal with one again.

I'm thankful I didn't have to take him in for a sedative. What I did was rub the pliers along the soft part his mouth near the quills till he stopped moving, then pulled out a quill quick. I think the tip of the pliers rubbing helped desensitize the area a little. He did rear up after some quills--I suppose they were deeper--but never lost his head. It took a little while but we got them all.
Ouch! Poor Hawk.

Oh, Marty, I don't know if I was brave or not. Don't we just do whatever we have to? I'm just glad he was a little horse!

One of my other ones got the quills in his nose a few years ago, then we saw some also in his hind foot. I guess he clipped the porcupine after his nose encounter.

They are also very destructive animals. We have lost trees to them. Not to mention all the pumpkins I tried to have for the autumn display last year. I put the scarecrow up again yesterday. This morning his head was still intact, but now I know the porcupines are active I doubt his head will last long.

No way can I just set a group of pumpkins on a hay bale. If the deer don't get them, the porcupines will.

Poor guy.
I wonder if porcupines are sensitive to electricity. If they are you could set up a low electric fence that they can't waddle under and since they don't jump it might detert hem. I had a small mule (about 40") that got nosy with a porcupine a couple of years ago. He had so many quills that I stopped counting after 30. Mules are amazing tho he never fought me at all while I pulled them. He would just turn his head away from me with his eyes squeezed shut after I pulled some (I pulled them in clumps because there were so many and they were so close together) and then he would let me turn his head back to me and pull some more. One thing tho that my vet pointed out to me, be sure to check inside the mouth. If they decide to take a nip at this slow moving thing hte quills can be inside the mouth and not removing them is a very bad thing.
Ouch! That has to hurt!

Do the quills have a kind of poison in them? (We don't have porcupines here in Australia). Once they prick the horse, does anything else happen that could make the horse sick? Or is it harmless?

Poor horse, but I hope a lesson has been learned!
As far as I know, Maplegum, they don't have a toxin on them. But they are barbed. So just pulling them out isn't exactly like pulling out a splinter. Fortunately, the ones Hawk got were short ones--not sure what part of the anatomy they came from.

Horses usually get quills by being too nosey--as Davie said, literally :DOH! . When you walk out to the hroses and see a white nose on a horse that is supposed to have a dark nose--yikes. And, of course, grazing is not easy or maybe even possible. I'm sure in the wild many horses died.
Poor Hawk!! Our babies noses just can't get a break can they?? Between pocupines, catucs thorns and rattlesnakes they don't stand a chance?

How is he doing with his skin infection?
We had a similar problem last month. A yearling got a nose full and then we found some in the lower leg of a nursing mare. Apparently she kicked him. Later found the wounded porcupine and took him away in a garbage can.

The good news is that porcupines don't usually get rabies. My Maine Guide friend told me that they can be attracted to salt. We don't have a salt block outside so we're not sure what it was attracted to.
Yikes! Ouch! A little gelding I sold got a nosefull a couple of years ago, and apparently got an infection they could never clear. They eventually lost him over it. I've never seen a porcupine "in the wild", don't know whether we have them here or not but I'd just as soon not find out.


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