Zucchini, also known as Courgette is a variety of cucurbit. It’s from the same family as cucumber, squash and melon.
Can horses eat Zucchini?
Horses can eat zucchini. In fact, it is actually a really tasty, healthy treat for them.
Read on for my guide to answer your question “Can horses eat zucchini?”, as well as how to prepare zucchini so it’s the perfect treat for your horse.
You can also check out this video we made which shows some of our horses enjoying this tasty snack.
Nutritional Content of Zucchini
You should only feed your horse raw zucchini, so let’s discuss the nutritional value of this uncooked squash.
Zucchini is absolutely packed with nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. One medium zucchini contains:
Fat: 1 gram
Fibre: 2 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Vitamin C: 22.2mg
Vitamin B6: 0.2mg
Vitamin K: 5.3mcg
Iron: 0.4 mg
The Health Benefits of Feeding Your Horse Zucchini
As you can see from the stats above, zucchini has a lot of nutritional benefits for your horse.
I would describe zucchini as a nutritional powerhouse. The minerals and vitamins it contains can help with heart health and reduce blood pressure and cholesterol in both humans and horses.
Source of calcium
Horses need about 20 grams of calcium each day, and this amount increases for pregnant and lactating mares.
Zucchini is ideal to help meet this demand and ensure overall health.
Vitamin K further helps to regulate the calcium level.
Blood serum levels
Horses need about 20 mg of magnesium per kg of body weight each day to maintain blood serum levels. Zucchini is a healthy treat that will help meet this demand.
Zucchini contains iron, which will help prevent anaemia and the resultant lethargy and weakness. Including some zucchini snacks in your horse’s diet will help maintain their energy levels.
Vitamin A and vitamin C help bolster the immune system. Zucchini may be a summer squash, but it’s equally useful in winter to provide these vitamins that help fight off diseases.
This squash contains nutrients that can help improve vision, cardiovascular health, strengthen bones, regulate fluid levels and muscle contractions, and it has anti-inflammatory benefits.
How to Incorporate Zucchini into Your Horse’s Diet Safely
Most horses love zucchini, and feeding your horse this summer squash is rather easy.
Step one: Wash the zucchini.
Step two: Chop the zucchini lengthwise or into disks.
Step three: Feed the zucchini to your horse with an open palm.
Start off by giving small pieces of zucchini at first, to check if there is an adverse reaction (which is unlikely). If your horse seems perfectly fine, they can eat zucchini as part of their regular snacks.
Avoid feeding your horse cooked, steamed or fried zucchini. Not only does cooked zucchini lose its nutritional value, but if it has been cooked in oil it is definitely not good for horses.
How Much Zucchini Can Horses Eat?
Before you unleash your horse into your veggie patch, it is best to know that horses definitely should not over-indulge on zucchini.
Build them up on it, with a few slices initially, increasing to one whole one a day chopped up in their daily feed.
Even though some horses eat zucchini without a problem, others might sniff at it and decide it is not for them. If that’s the case, you can trick them into eating it by mixing it with some of their favourite treats, like carrots or apple slices.
That way, your horse will get the benefits of zucchini along with their favourite treats – it’s sure to have them nodding with joy.
Types Of Zucchini That Are Unsafe For Horses
So now that I have answered the question “can horses eat zucchini?” you might be wondering if horses can eat all kinds of zucchini.
Well, it really comes down to how you prepare it.
To keep it simple – horses can eat raw zucchini.
If you deep fry, stir fry, season or boil your zucchini, it’s better to eat it yourself. Not only does boiled zucchini lose its nutritional value (not to mention its texture), but oil and seasoning can be harmful to horses.
Your horse can also enjoy other types of squash like yellow zucchini and butternut squash, but you should definitely skip processed snacks like zucchini bread or zucchini cookies.
Should Horses Eat Zucchini?
Yes, this healthy treat is definitely worthy of being included in your horse’s diet.
However, you should certainly take some precautions.
As with all treats, you should only feed zucchini to your horse in moderation.
Too much zucchini and your horse can suffer from bloating, indigestion and even colic.
You Shouldn’t Feed Zucchini to These Horses…
Since zucchini has high potassium levels, you should never feed it to horses with hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP).
A low-potassium diet is the best way to regulate HYPP, so it’s best to skip the zucchini snacks for these horses.
Can horses eat zucchini seeds?
Yes, horses can eat zucchini seeds. Even though some squash seeds are not great for horses, zucchinis are harvested before they are ripe (which explains the soft skin), meaning horses can safely eat all parts of the plant.
Can horses eat zucchini peels?
Absolutely. There is no need to peel a zucchini before feeding it to your horse. Just make sure you rinse the zucchini thoroughly first.
Can horses eat zucchini leaves?
Zucchini leaves are safe for horses to eat, but they don’t have a high nutritional value. They are certainly not a substitute for good quality grass hay or haylege.