What do you grow for your pets/critters?

singingcrk(z6 KY)February 6, 2006

I have been meaning to ask this for a while! I'd love some ideas for things to wintersow for the animals, and I know a lot of you have horses, bunnies, inside and outside pets - what do you grow for them?

Some are obvious, like catnip, but in a thread on the main board, folks have mentioned feeding calendula to their horses and bunnies.

What else - are you growing tomatoes for your iguanas? Peppermint for your horses? Hope you'll post!



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I only have one critter right now, my dog Red. She is on what is known as the BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet. She eats twice a day, raw chicken wings and backs, turkey necks, small fish, lamb shanks, etc..with a veggie meal alternated in every third meal. The veggie meal includes just about any fruit and veggie you can imagine, chopped and mixed with either yogurt or an egg. During the season she eats every veggie I grow, raw. Her favorite snacks include cherry tomatoes, green beans, snow peas and scallions. She loves lettuce, mustard, cabbage, spinach, rocket, etc..

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 11:10AM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

We have a new puppy now but when we had or previous dog "Clive" he used to eat us out of house and home. We planted strawberries and he would eat every single one before we could have any. We planted tomatoes and he would sit in the garden and wait for them to ripen. The minute they were ripe he would pluck them from the vine and come inside with seeds and orange muck on his face. He grazed on our lettuce and dug up carrots to eat them. Even in winter he would dig down through the snow and frozen earth to uproot carrots that were still left in the ground. So I guess we were gardening for HIM back then b/c we rarely got to eat anything we grew in the gardens. ;o)

Barb in Ontario

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:10PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

While there is nothing I specifically plant and feed my (now)4 dogs, there are things I 'don't' plant in certain places. I used to plant some spring bulbs, and a few perennials in and around the shrubs surrounding the house. Undoubtedly each spring the daffodils would be trampled and mauled, sometimes even b4 they bloomed. I've since moved those things out, and now let the dogs come and go from behind the shrubs,making themselves comfortable, cool dust bowls.For interest I have added some pretty rocks, a birdbath, and a few other things.

I do know my dogs seem to think that anything I eat is something they 'think' is good and a lot better than what they are fed. Last fall, I was picking and eating some grapes out by the arbor. I gave one of the dogs a couple grapes, and she turned her nose up...thinking it was something she didn't care for. A second dog came along, tried them, and loved them. I stood there eating and feeding the second dog grapes, (and praising her) for quite a while b4 the first dog wanted to try them again. This time she seemed to like them....The only thing I can figure that changed her mind was 'peer' pressure, and wanting attention and praise as well.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 9:24AM
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shimla(5 Upstate, NY)

My cats don't eat much out in the yard. They really like things that they can hide in. They love tucking under the hosta, daylily and iris foliage. It's so cute when we are playing hide and seek to see a tail hanging out from under a hosta plant. You can always tell when they are ready to pounce on you!

I'm thankful they aren't destructive in the garden besides an occasional potty hole. My one cat is the queen of the yard the way she mouses. Every day she brings me a new critter so I love her as a garden companion. She's the best mole deterrent going!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 8:44PM
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singingcrk(z6 KY)

Donn, your dog eats better than I do! :o) I'm on the Overprocessed Ingredient, Cram As Much Sugar In Your Mouth As Possible Diet. I tend to get wrapped up in things (like winter sowing), forget to eat, and then MUST HAVE COOKIE before I pass out or kill someone, whichever comes first. Really trying to fix that.

Barb, we had a cat (named Rabbit) who would eat tomatoes, strawberries, and Doritos. He would steal them any chance he got! But I have never seen a dog or cat dig up carrots! Wow... I wonder if you could harness that power for good...
Dogs could be wonderful gardening assistants, if you could just get them to dig where you want to plant!

My daughter has planted catnip, and is going to sow catmint and others for the cats. They really like hanging out in the herb bed, but don't seem to eat anything, just sniff plants and rub against them. They will curl up on a rock and just sit and enjoy the garden. Makes for pretty pictures, too!

I've got a copy of The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable, which has me thinking about growing a "hedgerow" for the horses (and other critters we might get), with herbs and other plants they might enjoy. I worry about them getting into something toxic; I'm not so sure about animals "knowing" what they can eat. Maybe in a more natural situation (no plastic, chemicals, introduced poisonous plants), and where they aren't fenced in, and have more choices in their diet, but I'd rather play it safe!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 9:43AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

donn, I'm really wondering why Red is on the BARF diet...have never heard of it. Does she have a particular purpose?...like maybe being an attack dog, considering all the raw non veggie things?


    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 4:29PM
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Sue...her breeder started her that way (we got her at 6 months), and I read up on it, and decided to continue it. It's very big in Australia, and becoming more and more popular here.

Basically, it's better for the animal than kibble and processed foods. It's not natural for animals to eat cooked food, so we feed her raw food. She's 6 now, and has never had an unhealthy day in her life. She's as regular as a clock, and has very small, odor-free stools. Her coat shines and her teeth are clean.

There's tons of info on the web about it, just Google it. One of the best books on the subject is Give Your Dog A Bone.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 2:10PM
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Oh boy do I grow for three horses

here is one of them.

I started with the normal things for horses like decent pasture grass. My grass seed bill some months is far higher then my grocery bill. Then winter sowing happend. Horses love to graze over any tomato plant it seems. I had no clue. They also like a certain cuke, dill, onions carrots , peas, spinach herbs, flowers you name it. So first have to make sure what ever I plant they can nibble on then try to keep it out of reach if, I dont want them to eat it all to the ground. I can hear my self saying , But BREEZE that was for my dinner/lunch. ARggg he ate ever single spinach plants to the roots one afternoon as a snack. Or the 10 min he took out a whole pea patch of just ready to pick snow peas. Certain flowers are very good for horses so will be planting alot of those this year and lets see, the nasturiums I planted every where for them, they turned noses up at. But tomatoes, 600 plants and they were a set of happy horses. They never had one till this year. Swear one of them now chants, Sun Gold. And dont worry mom you can get the tomato stains off my white coat, really, you are great with shampoo. I search for some herb seeds to plant by the pound. Oh and they ate my white dahlias too, ekk. Finished off a Cosmos plant that was a good 3 plus feet high. So will plant alot more of the Cosmos this year. They do let me see the blooms first. It was pretty funny to see a blind horse putting his nose into a tomato plant to find a tomato.

Before we got snow this weekend, I put down lime, fertilizer and a unreal amount of various grass seeds so the pasture would have a chance to grow with the snow coverage. I think of grass seed as keep horses out of trouble money spent.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2006 at 9:56PM
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zoegurl2001(z7 OK)

I have 2 guinea pigs that looovve fresh produce. I grow parsley, cilantro, and lettuce for them. And I don't know if this counts, lol, but I also allow dandelions and clovers to grow freely in my lawn, and don't use any chemicals, and they just love those, too. I would love to grow my own Timothy Hay, too, if I knew how to acquire some seed for it.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2006 at 11:18PM
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singingcrk(z6 KY)

mlcom, I love to read your posts about what your horses are eating! I'm curious, how do you know what is safe for them to eat? Do you just let them decide? I'm a nervous nellie; I know they naturally love to browse, but I worry about toxic plants. I had no idea they could eat tomatoes (the whole plant?)! But you are giving me grand ideas for a lot of the old vegetable seed I have. Our horses are going to love you this year, I think! :o)

I'm going to try more regular sowing of pasture seed, to keep ahead of them this year, too. Do you know of a good resource for ideas of what else to plant for them? Or would you mind sharing what herbs/flowers your horses like?

zoegurl, I saw timothy seed for sale somewhere online this past week, but can't remember where! If I see it again, I will let you know.

By the way, wildlife counts as "critters" in this case, too! Anything special you're growing for food/habitat? My daughter may start a butterfly garden this year.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 9:51AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I only have three fat, lazy kitties and visiting wild birds. For one of the cats, I grow Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegata'--not winter sown, but it's his Very Favorite Grass to Chew On. For another one I grow the blue-flowered Nepeta x fassenii (sp?), which he LOOOVES. The third cat isn't big into "vegetables".

The birds get Echinacea, Liatris, Cosmos and Centaurea in front. It's really fun to watch them swaying on the drying flower stalks as they feed on the seeds.

If I had a goat, I'd probably grow a comfrey plant, (Symphytum) because they supposedly really like it. I'd only grow one, though, because I'm not sure about toxicity in large quantities.

I'd also grow dandelions on purpose if I had a goat.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 12:59PM
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singingcrk Angel. well frist one of my horses is Breeze he is in the picture above. He is also blind as a bat at the ripe age of 29. Thus the saying even a blind squirel can find a nut. Breeze shares his pasture with my garden or the other way around. I would only turn himout with a eye on him at all times, but would be out of eye sightwhen was turning the compost pile. That is normallywhen he would hit the goodies. Peas, spinach or what flavorful shallots I had growing. Did I tell you he ate my new gooseberry and current bushes to the ground.

Now two things I posted a while ago was on posionous plants site, not a sole picked up on it. you just put in the search either dog or cat or horse or even human and it will pop up what ever is posionous to that animal.

Now for horses a great place to even get a idea what they can eat is herbnhorse.com they sell bulk herbs by the lb that are dried, long long list btw. Many flower petals included.

I have had horses for over 30 years and not a clue till ws and 2005 they liked tomatoes. I adore tomatoes and sort of went nutty planting way to many seeds. I traded or begged from any one that would trade with me for different tomato seeds. I did alot of research to find good yellow ones and traded for as many as I could. I knew it would work but had not a clue how well. I strongly belive horses loves carrot tops, have yet to see one carrot plant out of all the seeds I planted. See picture of spotted horse aboved, main weeder of carrots, peas and spinach from my property.

My property is small and the blind horse has free reign over it. One of my horses will guard anything near his paddock, or eat it and loves to take walks with me to taste test the other tomatoes and found out he liks cosmos flowers /plant and only one type of cukes. I saved the seeds from the cukes he liked and will plant many more of those for him.

I do plant alot of grass seeds for these horses and they get bales of hay each day to go with. Have not figured out to to give them some herbs but not whole pots of them yet. I may need to cage in part of my garden to keep one horse and the deer herd out.

One day planted out the rest of my containers of ws'ed plants not yet out. Found one horse grazing among them as new treats just planted for him. OUT out of my garden. He hates to get wet so just sounded it by a sprinker hose. Evil grin. that worked to keep him out of my garden most of the summer. How to out fox a blind horse course 101.


Here is a link that might be useful: Poisonous Plants look up link

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 2:51PM
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singingcrk(z6 KY)

Thanks for the links, mlcom. LOL at the image of your horse getting sprayed, I'll bet he figured that one out quick!


    Bookmark   March 1, 2006 at 9:34AM
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