As a horse owner or even a horse lover, giving treats is a fun way to bond with horses. We love to see them get excited for treats and it often brings out the horses’ personalities. But, you need to make sure that you do your homework first and only feed your horse healthy snacks that will benefit them.
It may seem odd for horses to eat broccoli. But, can horses eat broccoli? Yes! But before you give horses broccoli, it’s important you’re well-versed in this vegetable.
This guide will be focusing on whether horses can eat broccoli and the health benefits of this green vegetable.
Nutritional Content Of Broccoli
Broccoli belongs to cruciferous vegetables, also known as collard greens. Cruciferous vegetables are high in Vitamin B (folate) which helps the production of red blood cells. Many other vitamins and minerals have added benefits for your horse.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional content found in 90 grams of broccoli:
- Vitamin C – 90 mg
- Fibre – 2.2 grams
- Carbohydrates – 3.2 grams
- Vitamin A – 28.21 mcg
- Potassium – 287.56 mg
- Calcium – 43 mg
The Health Benefits Of Feeding Your Horse Broccoli
Raw broccoli is mostly made of water. This makes this nutritious vegetable a healthy treat for horses, especially during the hot summer months. A well-hydrated horse will have good health and well-working digestion.
Broccoli is a great source of fibre. Fibre will be beneficial to your horse’s digestive tract because it aids digestion and ensures a healthy gut. Extra fibre in your horse diet can also relieve constipation and avoid colic.
High in antioxidants
Broccoli has extremely high levels of Vitamin C. This is a strong antioxidant that protects cells and also makes for a strong immune system. Broccoli is a great way of giving your equine friend a big dose of Vitamin C.
Boosts immune system
Broccoli contains a lot of vitamins B, A and K. These are all key vitamins and minerals for a healthy immune system. They will also aid in maintaining metabolic functions and strong bones.
There are also high levels of calcium, phosphorous, zinc and potassium in broccoli. These are essential vitamins for your horse’s immune system.
The vitamins and minerals found in broccoli will make the horses’ coats shiny. It can also give foals or pregnant mares the nutrition they need.
The Health Risks Of Feeding Your Horse Broccoli
To protect horses, we as horse owners need to educate ourselves on what is safe for our horses to eat and what’s not. Fortunately, with broccoli, there are no major health risks. But it is important to understand this vegetable and how feeding too much broccoli can affect our horses.
Is broccoli toxic to horses?
Broccoli is not toxic and will not poison your horse. But, you should still use caution when considering this as a treat. Broccoli is nutritional but in small quantities as an occasional treat.
Everything must be in moderation, even the foods that seem healthiest!
If your horse tries to eat broccoli too quickly or in large amounts, they run the risk of choking on the broccoli stems or leaves.
To make broccoli safe for horses, it’s best to feed them one piece at a time. Allow your horse enough time to chew the broccoli before offering more.
Produces intestinal gas
Broccoli can cause your horse to produce an abundance of intestinal gas. This is due to its high level of fibre. Too much gas can lead to gas-related colic and abdominal pain in the horse’s stomach. Colic can unfortunately be fatal to horses.
So, we’ll say it again – feed broccoli to your horses in moderation!
Just like humans, horses can be allergic to broccoli. If you are feeding broccoli to your horse and you notice swelling, immediately stop and phone your local vet.
How To Incorporate Broccoli Into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
Horses will enjoy broccoli as a tasty treat and a fun and interactive way of training. Though, make sure that you introduce broccoli gradually. This will give you time to check for any side effects or negative reactions.
If your horse enjoys eating broccoli, then you’ve got yourself a winner!
How Much Broccoli Can Horses Eat?
To be on the safe side, you shouldn’t give your horse more than 110 grams of broccoli a day. This equates to about 1 and a half cups. Broccoli should not be given more than once or twice a week.
Even if your horse loves broccoli, rather keep it as a rare treat. If your horse eats too much broccoli, it could develop colic-related symptoms and gastrointestinal issues.
Types Of Broccoli That Are Unsafe For Horses
Horses can eat broccoli and all its parts, including the stems and leaves. It’s best if horses eat raw broccoli because it is full of natural nutrients.
The only thing we as horse owners need to remember when feeding broccoli to horses is to cut it up into manageable-sized chunks. This will ensure safe passage through the digestive tract.
Can Horses Eat Cooked Broccoli?
Cooked broccoli is just as safe as giving your horse raw broccoli. The only difference is that cooked broccoli will have fewer nutrients. Don’t add any “human ingredients” such as sugar, salt, or oil because this can be bad for your horse.
Should Horses Eat Broccoli?
Since we’ve covered the benefits and potential risks of broccoli for horses, you may still be wondering, “Is broccoli good for my horse?”.
Feeding broccoli to your horse in the right amounts can have all the benefits that this vegetable has to offer. So yes, they should, but just not too much!
You Shouldn’t Feed Broccoli to These Horses…
Horses that suffer from frequent colic
Some horses are more sensitive to certain foods than others. If your horse is frequently colicky, then avoid using broccoli as a treat.
What vegetables can horses not eat?
It’s easy to think that all vegetables are safe for horses to eat. But, this is not the case. Vegetables such as avocados, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cabbage and onions should not be fed to your horse.
Can horses eat brussels sprouts?
Brussels sprouts act very similar to broccoli for horses. Brussel sprouts are also cruciferous vegetables, so they are safe to feed to your horse. Just don’t overfeed them because they can also create a lot of intestinal gas and this can cause abdominal pain for your horse.
What is the most natural feed for horses?
Plenty of good grazing grass and top-quality haylage is at the forefront of a horse’s natural food. You can also give your horse lucerne. This is a type of top-quality hay. It gives horses energy and boosts their calcium and protein levels.