Oak leaves are leathery and deeply lobed, with wavy margins. Acorns form at base of stems.
Oaks typical habitat is foothills and mountain areas. It is a woody perennial.
Shinnery oak 1 to 6 feet high. Scrub oak may be a shrub 3 to 4 feet high or a tree up to 20 feet high.
Cattle may be poisoned by browsing on oak. Shinnery oak and scrub oak are the species responsible for most losses.
Shinnery oak-or shinnery- is common in the southwest. Scrub oak-also called gambel oak-is found throughout the central part of the Western States.
Poisoning is caused by young oak browse, sprouts in cutover areas, mature foliage on felled trees, acorns, and fallen leaves. Oak is most dangerous in budding and leafing stages. As leaves mature, oak decreases in toxicity.
Cattle may get as much as 50 percent of their diet from oak browse without showing signs of poisoning. More than 50 percent of oak browse in the diet will cause sickness, and more than 75 percent will cause death. The toxic substances are oak tannins.
Where and When It
Shinnery oak is a low, spreading shrub that grows in sandy areas. It is found primarily in western Oklahoma, western Texas, and eastern New Mexico
Scrub oak is a shrub or small tree. It grows in dense thickets on foothills and mountain slopes, up to an elevation of 9,000 feet.
Oak usually starts growth in early spring before other range plants.
How It Affects Livestock
Death from oak poisoning may occur in a few days to 2 weeks after the cattle first show signs.
Signs of poisoning:
1. Gaunt, tucked-up appearance
2. Constipation, frequently followed by profuse diarrhea
4. Tendency to remain near water
5. Reluctance to follow the herd
7. Mucus in droppings
8. Dark-colored urine
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