Deciding what to feed your horse can be a minefield, and many equine experts will recommend black oil sunflower seeds for horses. But what are black oil sunflower seeds and are they good for horses? Let’s find out everything you need to know about black oil sunflower seeds for horses!
What Are Black Oil Sunflower Seeds For Horses?
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Sunflower seeds are produced by sunflowers, and these giant plants can each produce hundreds or even thousands of nutritious sunflower seeds. Sunflowers have been grown and harvested by humans for hundreds of years, and their seeds are used for a variety of purposes. The inner seed can be eaten, pressed for oil, or used as feed for livestock.
When it comes to sunflower seeds and horses, there are only certain types that should be fed to horses. This is because some types of sunflower seed are more digestible and nutritious than others. Your horse will not come to any harm if it eats the wrong sunflower seeds, but there will not be the same nutritional benefit.
The type of sunflower seed most often eaten by humans is a grey-brown color with a striped appearance. These are eaten as snacks or used in baking bread and cakes. Whilst these are great for humans to eat, they are low in oil and also difficult for horses to digest.
The type of sunflower seed most often recommended for horses is black oil sunflower seeds. These are the seeds that are normally pressed to extract sunflower oil. The black oil sunflower seed is easier for horses to digest, and also contains a higher proportion of oil.
As a comparison, black oil sunflower seeds contain 44% fat, while striped sunflower seeds contain 24% fat. Both types of seeds contain 16-17% protein.
We’re often told that fat is a bad thing and we should avoid it, so why are black oil sunflower seeds for horses supposed to be a good thing? Let’s find out!
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Are Black Oil Sunflower Seeds Good For Horses?
The reason that black oil sunflower seeds are thought to be good for horses is because they contain the type of fat that is easily digestible and very beneficial to horses. These are contained in the oil produced by black oil sunflower seeds and are called omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-6 fatty acids have several benefits when fed to horses. The first one is that they help to promote a shiny and healthy coat, keeping your beautiful horse in top condition.
These beneficial fats are also ideal for horses that need to gain weight. Each pound of sunflower seeds contains a whopping 2500 calories, and these can help horses to gain weight that cannot process energy from carbohydrates and sugars.
This includes horses that cannot have a high sugar diet, such as those with Cushing’s disease or laminitis. Elderly horses often benefit from a higher fat diet, as they can digest the energy more easily. It may also be beneficial to feed horses a higher-fat diet if they are recovering from illness, but veterinary advice must be sought first.
Does My Horse Need Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
You may find that black oil sunflower seeds are already included in your horses’ commercial feed mix, as this becoming an increasingly popular ingredient in horse feeds. This may be enough to give your horse all the benefits of black oil sunflower seeds that he needs, but if not you can consider adding more to his diet.
If your horse has a dull coat, then a small amount of black oil sunflower seeds fed on a daily basis can soon return shine and luster to the coat. Around 0.5 to 1 cup per day is enough to give your horse a boost of beneficial omega-6 fatty acids.
Black oil sunflower seeds are often fed to horses that need to gain weight. This might be for health reasons, or because they are in hard work. Balancing the nutritional needs of an underweight horse is a complex matter, and the advice of a qualified professional can be very beneficial.
Black oil sunflower seeds should never be fed to horses that are overweight, as they are very high in fat. Obesity is a major cause of many serious health disorders in horses, and if your horse is overweight you should seed the advice of a qualified equine nutritionist.
Summary – Black Oil Sunflower Seeds For Horses
So, as we have learned, black oil sunflower seeds for horses are the type of sunflower seed normally pressed for oil, and they contain 44% fat. They are often recommended for horses because they contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which help to promote a healthy coat. Omega-6 fatty acids are also easily digestible and provide a high-energy diet for horses that need to gain weight.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about black oil sunflower seeds for horses! Do you add this nutritious seed to your horses diet? Or maybe you’ve got an alternative to black oil sunflower seeds for horses? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Can Horses Have Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
Horses can have black oil sunflower seeds, and these high-oil snacks have a range of health benefits. Black oil sunflower seeds should not be given to horses that are overweight or obese.
What Are Black Sunflower Seeds Good For?
Black oil sunflower seeds contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which bring lustre and shine to the coat. They are also a high energy food that can be fed to horses that struggle to gain weight.
How Much Black Oil Sunflower Seeds For Horses?
To promote a healthy coat in horses, feed 1/2 cup of black sunflower seeds for a smaller horse or pony, and 1 cup to a larger horse. Overweight horses should never be fed black oil sunflower seeds.
Where Can I Buy Black Oil Sunflower Seeds?
Black oil sunflower seeds can be bought from your local feed merchant, or from various online outlets. Check that you are buying the correct type of sunflower seed, as the striped type eaten by humans is not easily digestible or as beneficial to horses.