Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

Acorn Poisoning in Cattle

en Español

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.

English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲


Date: October 19, 2020
Agent: Damon Pollard

This is Damon Pollard with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service-Burke Center. Today’s program is on Acorn Poisoning in Cattle.

Acorn poisoning is not usually much of a problem. But in some years, particularly when it’s dry, there’s an unusually large acorn crop, it can get pretty bad. This is not one of those dry years and most cows won’t eat many acorns if there’s good grass available. And Acorns don’t seem to cause any problems for squirrels, deer or hogs. But certain cows love eating them even when the grass is good. The toxic element seems to be related to tannic acid and is concentrated in the shells. It generally
affects cows and large calves although baby calves can be affected through the milk.

The first symptoms are constipation followed by an abnormal dark diarrhea. Cattle in advanced stages will have a gaunt, humped up appearance with a diarrhea stained rump and tail. In mild cases this may be the only result. In severe cases, kidney damage can occur and will cause death within several days. Sick cattle should be tested to make sure the problem is not anaplasmosis or blackleg.
The only treatment is to prevent the animal from eating acorns by either cutting down the trees or fencing the cattle out of them. If kidney damage has been done, recovery is rare but animals may be saved if they are confined and fed a low protein diet.

This is Damon Pollard, Livestock Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service – Burke Center. If you would like more information, please call us at 439-4460.