Field Guide to Plants Poisonous to Livestock - Western U.S.
About the Author
Nearly everyone owning or caring for livestock knows that some plants may poison their animals so learning how to avoid that quite naturally became a goal for the author, Shirley Weathers, when she and her husband purchased their first llamas in 1995. She set about looking for the resource she would need.
Since they intended to pack with their llamas, the challenge went beyond simply knowing about what grows in their own pastures. Shirley began caring from time to time for neighbors' horses so the implications of plant toxins for other animal species gained importance. But five lists of toxic plants, substantial time on the Internet, and a shelf full of pertinent reference books later, she realized that becoming adequately informed was very hard work. The single, handy, layperson-friendly book the average livestock owner needs to help protect their animals from plant poisoning had not yet been written. She determined to fill that gap.
Shirley, then co-owner of Walsh & Weathers Research and Policy Studies, Rosebud Press, and Rosebud Llamas Utah, is a consultant and researcher with over 40 years of experience in a broad range of subject areas. She has a Ph.D. in Latin American History and spent a year in Chile on a Fulbright Scholarship. A native of California, she lived in Utah from 1969 to 2013. For the last 17 of those years, she and her husband and business partner, Bill Walsh, lived on 40 acres in rural Utah in the high desert agricultural area southeast of Salt Lake City known as the Uintah Basin. Their llama-related activities included a commercial outfitter-guide llama packing business in three areas of Utah, plus llama day hikes, training clinics, consulting, shearing, and educational ranch visits for interested parties of all ages. She has offered her poisonous plant expertise to livestock owners, providing articles to associations, teaching clinics, and since 2012, via a regular column in Pack Animal Magazine (formerly The Backcountry Llama. She and the Walsh and Weathers operations (Walsh & Weathers, LLC, that includes Rosebud Llamas and Rosebud Press) are now based in southern Oregon, where they continue their writing and consulting services and offer training and educational activities about poisonous plants and llamas.