I am interested in growing echinacea in my cow pasture along with some other prairie flowers such as other cone flowers, arnica, and maybe other things later. The echinacea I want to grow is echinacea tennesseesis. This is one of the most endangered varieties of the flower. My interest is to preserve them as they are nearly extinct. They need a field if they are to grow into a large population of plants. I am afraid that my flowers will grow, bloom, and then be mowed down by the bovines.
Does anyone know if cattle will eat my echinacea?
If so, will they have enough sense to not clear cut it all at once?
Lastly, is there any type of flower that will hurt them if they eat it?
I really don't know. I think it would partly depend upon how lush your pastures are. Last summer during the drought my cows ate almost EVERYthing! Ordinarily they only sample the wildflowers and other forbs in their pastures. They also seem to avoid the toxic stuff; even during the drought they left the nightshade alone. Clear-cutting seems unlikely.
I Carolina_Mike, I have no idea. I believe wholeheartedly in echinacea and hope you do well with it though. Hope you'll keep us informed on what happens.
My donkey will not eat sunflowers. He seems to eat most everything else but will NOT eat sunflowers and they are all over in his lot.
I tried to google this, but all I saw was people doctoring their cows with echinacea and didn't find anything about them eating it in the field. Seems that animals are very intuitive about what they should or should not be eating. As I recall Essiac tea was discovered when a man noticed that his horse with cancer was eating a certain plant. The horse was healed. So he began to try it on people and they were healed too, or so the story is told.
I also tried to research this. I found several places that talked about medical use of echinacea for cows. None of the sites said that the cows would find their own, but it would make sense that they would if they needed it. Animal instincts will make a sick dog eat grass...