During most years when winter comes, so does snow. "Snow often leads to feeding hay," says Bruce Anderson, University of Nebraska Professor of Agronomy
Agronomy & Horticulture. "And feeding hay means work.
"To lighten the work load feeding hay, we often take short cuts and leave some twine or net wrap on the bales. And whether we want them to or not, animals fed that hay often eat at least some of that twine," he says.
What happens to twine that's eaten? Well, some of it passes completely through the digestive tract and ends up in manure. But a large amount of it can end up as a tangled up ball that gets stuck in the rumen, especially the plastic twine.
Dee Griffin, veterinarian in Clay Center at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, recently discovered a large twine mass in a feedlot heifer. He asked other veterinarians how frequently they find twine in the rumen of dead cattle. Their response suggested that it is quite common, but it usually isn't a serious problem. However, in large amounts the twine could limit intake by occupying space in the rumen and it might aggravate other illnesses or health conditions and on occasion causes obstruction so severe as to cause death.
To prevent the potential problem, remove as much twine, especially plastic twine, from bales before feeding."Twine in ground hay may be less of a problem since more of it is likely to pass completely through the animal," he says.