Health and NutritionHorses

Foods That Are Not Safe or Good for a Horse

There are several foods that your horse may enjoy but are not good for them. Eating too much of some of these foods can lead to serious health problems for a horse, so practice an ounce of prevention and enjoy a pound of cure by the keeping the following foods away from your horse.

Fruit in Large Quantities

Can become too much of a good thing. A belly full of apples or any other fruit can easily cause colic and may lead to founder.

Lawn and Garden Clippings

Can contain toxic plants, weeds, lily of the valley and rhubarb leaves. Pest and weed srays that were applied. Just cut or semi-wilted plant material can be a problem in itself, because horses don’t have to graze and chew the material, they may bolt the food and this can lead to choke and colic. The sugars in freshly cut and wilted clippings can cause an imbalance in the horse’s gut, leading to laminitis.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Much like many humans, your horse may feel discomfort after eating ‘gassy’ vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, or other vegetables in the cabbage family.

Moldy or Dusty Hay

Never feed your horse dusty or moldy hay. It could damage its lungs.

Bran Mashes

Horses eat a lot of fiber in their normal diet, so adding bran can actually affect the gut flora.

Alsike Clover

May cause a nasty sunburn, sores in the mouth and cause problems like colic and diarrhea and ‘big liver syndrome’.

Cattle Feed

Contains supplements that are good for cattle but are very toxic to horses.

Silage and Haylage

Feeding silage and haylage to horses can be tricky. There are some definite benefits to feeding these fodders, like higher nutritional value and low dust. But the way the hay is cut and baled can lead to the risk of botulism poisoning. Horses are very sensitive to botulism and being infected can lead to paralysis and death. Because the hay is baled at a high moisture content and is wrapped in plastic it is the ideal environment for botulism to grow. Soil carrying botulism, poultry manure, small animals and birds can be baled into the hay, contributing to the growth of the bacteria.

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