Can horses eat broccoli stalks? – Everything you should know when feeding broccoli to your horsie!

If you a horse lover or at that moment you are an owner of a horse, it is quite sure that you may always concern about their diet. Thus, you may read many feeding guides and get a clear idea of what to feed and not feed your horse. We are so keen on feeding vegetables to them since a horse has a sensitive digestive system. In this scenario, many of you wonder if broccoli is a good treat for your horse or horses eat broccoli stalks. But, can horses eat broccoli stalks?

Actually, for that question, there is no straight answer. We cannot say yes or no directly. That means you can give broccoli or broccoli stalks to your horse, but you should be more careful because it is not a highly recommended vegetable for the horses, according to many studies. 

Let us talk about broccoli in general terms and how it’s a feeding guide for horses.

As we mentioned earlier, we can give broccoli to your horse, and the answer to the question can horses eat broccoli stalks is also positive.

There are a few reasons to name broccoli as a healthy treat for horses. However, keep in mind how much broccoli a horse can eat at once and how to process broccoli for a horse when you feed them. 

Nutrition value in broccoli

In general, broccoli is a highly accepted nutritious treat. So, now you may wonder how broccoli or broccoli stalks are healthy for your horse diet. This article will lead you to know the nutritious value of broccoli and its usefulness for horses. As per the studies, broccoli contains many vitamins and minerals such as,

  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Floate
  • Vitamin A, K, D, E, and B6, and B,12.

When we discuss the benefits of these mentioned vitamins and minerals for the horses, we can say that each one plays a different role. 

Calcium is always used for horses’ bones, and eating broccoli may reduce any calcium deficiency in horses. They need it for the integrity of their skeleton as well. According to the research conducted by the National Research Council, horses need phosphorus and Zinc for their equine skeleton and enzyme system to work well.

Therefore if your horse has a deficiency in phosphorus and Zinc, broccoli is a nice organic treat to address the issue naturally. To have a better and healthy blood circulation with a proper oxygen supply, taking iron is mandatory for horses. 

When it comes to Potassium, it is one of the crucial minerals for a healthy horse that it helps with several issues. Potassium helps in maintaining the acid and base balance in horses, and it provides the necessary strength to have sound muscle and nerve functions. At the same time, it provides Cellular osmotic pressure and keeps horse cells hydrated.

If you need to keep your horse active and overall healthy, thiamine is an essential factor as it converts carbohydrates into energy. At the same time, it helps to prevent the formation of lactic acid by processing the pyruvic acid.

Likewise, all the mentioned vitamins A, K, D, E, and B6, and B,12 are required to have a healthy body. Vitamin A helps your horse to improve their reproductive function and the immune system. Especially when it comes to Vitamin k, it prevents the risk of hemorrhage in horses.

As usual, Vitamin D is more supportive of maintaining calcium concentration and plasma. Vitamin E is an accepted source of preventing muscular disease, and Both Vitamin B6 and B12 improve digestion and metabolism functions in horses. 

Now it is sure that you already got a positive answer for” can horse broccoli stalks.”

Actually, broccoli stalks are low in calories and high in fiber. So it will be a good option, and it will be healthy for the digestive system of the horses as well. Suppose you need to know more health issues related to horses and how they are overcome with a proper supply of diet and other treatments. In that case, you can visit the official website of MSD Veterinary Manual via https://www.msdvetmanual.com/horse-owners. 

How to feed your horse with broccoli?                                                                                           

Although broccoli is a nice and healthy treat for horses, you should know how to treat it properly to your animal. Whether it is a flowery head of broccoli or stalks, you should follow a proper healthy method of preparing it for the horse diet. 

First of you can feed fresh broccoli to your horse, but remember to wash it carefully before feeding. According to agricultural studies, some farmers may use pesticides for their broccoli. So before feeding your horse, you must wash and soak broccoli in saltwater in 30 minutes or more to purify it nicely. Then the toxic nature of the broccoli is reduced, and it is fine to eat. 

Most importantly, if you mind providing broccoli to your horse, check that your horse may indicate an allergic reaction to broccoli or not. To make sure you can mix vegetables with common grains, or a more accurate method is to feed them separately. 

For the first time, give a small amount of broccoli and closely examine the reaction. If there is no change or any adverse reaction associated with your horse, you can continue. As per the horse experts, cut the vegetable into small pieces to avoid any chalking hazards, and it is easy to chew. On the other hand, if the horse has any dental issues, the small broccoli pieces may not be a problem for him. However, you can blend broccoli with water and give the puree to the horse to avoid any dental issues. You can read a complete guide on feeding broccoli to your horse here.  

What are the negative effects of broccoli?                                                                                       

Despite the fact that broccoli is a healthy snack for horses that provides many vitamins and minerals for their body, it may cause some risks as well. By any chance, your horse has an excessive amount of broccoli for a day; it may cause several unhealthy conditions for the animal. Since the horse has a sensitive digestive system, too much broccoli intake can cause gas and discomfort. 

The health issue of horses having broccoli                                                                                 

Eating an excessive amount of broccoli or its stalks can produce intestinal gas in horses. Thus you may experience digestive problems for your horse like colic. Since several types of research have been done to find out the toxicity of broccoli and the same group of Brassicaceae family of plants, including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, rapeseed, mustard, and horseradish, many negative outcomes have been found out.

Although these vegetables are healthy and have many benefits, the situation might be the opposite with the horses. Having broccoli for the horse diet may leave some health issues, including colic, gastrointestinal irritation, as the vegetable contains glucosinolates. Thus, overconsumption of broccoli is not recommended. If you need to know more details on the adverse biological effects of glucosinolates of broccoli and the Brassicaceae family plants, click here.

Colic nature in horses

The question will be how you identify the colic nature of your horse and other related symptoms correctly. For that, James N. Moore, a scholar in the Department of Large Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine in the University of Georgia, provides a descriptive expiation in his article “Colic in Horses.”

As he elaborates, there are some common signs of colic in horses, such as  

  • repeatedly pawing with a front foot 
  • looking back at the flank region 
  • curling the upper lip and arching the neck, 
  • repeatedly raising a rear leg or kicking at the abdomen
  • lying down
  • rolling from side to side
  • sweating 
  • stretching out as if to urinate 
  • straining to defecate 
  • distention of the abdomen
  • loss of appetite, depression
  • a decreased number of bowel movements 

 Most of the time, your horse may not indicate all the above-discussed symptoms of colic. Some of them can be expected, and most of them

are reliable indicators of abdominal pain. Perhaps, those symptoms are not severe and serious. However, you should contact your veterinarian immediately, and provide the proper treatment on time is crucial. The veterinarian will have a thorough examination of the horse, including reviewing its history of any previous problems or treatments and then providing correct diagnosis and treatments. You can read the complete article of Moore and have a complete understanding of colic in horses via https://www.msdvetmanual.com/horse-owners/digestive-disorders-of-horses/colic-in-horses.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, broccoli is a healthy and pleasant treat for your horse, and you may have “Yes” for your main question that can horses eat broccoli stalks. It is a nutritious vegetable that provides a number of vitamins and minerals. However, keep in mind that do not exceed the daily amount of broccoli that should be given to horses, and before feeding, please clean it thoroughly. In case your horse feels discomfort or has an allergic reaction, follow the instructions as per your veterinarian. 

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