Can horses eat asparagus? We all know that horses love to eat apples, carrots, and other treats, but do they enjoy eating asparagus too? And is asparagus good for horses or can it be toxic?
Let’s find out everything you need to know about can horses eat asparagus!
Can Horses Eat Asparagus?
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Chopped Hay for Senior Horses
Asparagus is a very unusual vegetable, quite unlike any other. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, that forms a large root network underground. Every spring, these roots send up numerous straight shoots, and it is this part that is eaten by humans.
Asparagus shoots, or spears, are rich in fiber and low in calories, helping to maintain a healthy digestive system and promote weight loss. They are high in vitamins A, K, and C, helping to lower blood pressure. Asparagus is often recommended to help maintain a healthy pregnancy in women.
So now we know that asparagus spears are a highly nutritious food enjoyed by people all around the world, let’s turn to the question of the day: Can horses eat asparagus too?
Horses can eat asparagus, but there are some concerns that horses may find asparagus difficult to digest. This is because the stalks of asparagus are very fibrous, and are not broken down easily in the digestive system. So, while asparagus is packed full of nutrients, these may not always be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.
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Is Asparagus Good For Horses?
Asparagus contains many nutritional benefits to horses, but as we can only feed it in small amounts it is unlikely that it will make much overall difference to your horses diet. Asparagus should only ever be fed as an occasional treat, and not as part of your horse’s diet. He will appreciate a small handful of sliced asparagus every now and again, during training sessions or as a treat on a long trail ride.
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Is Asparagus Toxic To Horses?
Asparagus is not toxic to horses, although some horses may struggle to digest the more fibrous parts of the asparagus stalk.
However, there is another plant that shares the same name which is poisonous to horses. This is the asparagus fern, also known as emerald feather. Never allow your horse to eat this plant, as it can cause toxic side effects.
The highly fibrous stalks of asparagus are also difficult for horses to digest, especially if they are not cut into smaller pieces. This is because the equine digestive system is not able to break down the cellulose within the asparagus, meaning that essential nutrients cannot be absorbed. You may find that your horse refuses to eat asparagus, as he does not enjoy the taste.
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How To Feed Asparagus To Horses
Like any new type of food, start by feeding a very small amount of asparagus to your horse at first. Monitor your horse carefully over the next day or so – if you notice any adverse effects caused by your horse eating asparagus, it is advisable not to try feeding it again. Adverse effects from eating asparagus could include excess gas and bloat, diarrhea, or even an allergic response such as hives.
If your horse takes to asparagus and you don’t see any side effects, you can gradually increase the amount you feed. Make sure that the asparagus is carefully prepared to make it safe for your horse to eat, and avoid feeding any thick or fibrous stalks.
Take one or two asparagus spears, and snap off the bottom end – this is the thick stalk that is too tough to eat. The top tender section is the best part to feed your horse. To avoid the risk of choking, slice this section into smaller parts.
Some people like to feed the tougher parts of the asparagus spear to their horses to reduce food waste. To make this softer and easier for your horse to digest, it can be cooked first. This breaks down the tough fibrous content, but will also reduce the nutritional goodness of the asparagus.
The best way to retain as many nutrients as possible when cooking asparagus for your horse is to steam it. This preserves far more nutrients than other methods such as boiling.
Many people feel that feeding asparagus to a horse is a waste of money, as it is very expensive and horses struggle to digest this luxury vegetable.
Summary – Can Horses Eat Asparagus?
So, as we have learned, the question of can horses eat asparagus is not easy to answer! Asparagus is a low calorie treat that is packed full of nutrients, but some horses may find the fibrous stalks difficult to digest. The best parts of asparagus to feed to horses are the tender tips of the stem, which can be sliced into bite-size chunks for your horse.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on can horses eat asparagus! Does your horse enjoy snacking on unusual treats like asparagus? Or perhaps you’ve got a pony that seems really fussy about what treats it likes to eat? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
Can Horses Eat All Vegetables?
Horses cannot eat all vegetables, and some vegetables are toxic to horses. Horses should not eat any vegetables from the brassica family, such as cauliflower, cabbage, or broccoli. They also cannot eat tomatoes, onions, garlic, or raw potatoes.
Is Asparagus Toxic To Animals?
The vegetable asparagus is not toxic to horses, dogs, and cats. However, the asparagus fern plant is highly toxic to all animals, and should not be kept as a houseplant in a household with pets.
Is Asparagus Hard To Digest?
Asparagus is very high in fiber, which makes it hard to digest. This is why humans normally eat asparagus once it has been cooked, or thinly slice it to make it easier to digest.
What Do Horses Love The Most?
The question of what horses love to eat the most is a difficult one to answer, as all horses have different tastes! Horses are just like humans, and prefer different things. Some horses will love carrots the most, while other will prefer apples or pears.