Can Horses Eat Dandelions
Dandelions grow just about everywhere. You will see the growth of the same in your lawn, garden, and pastures. Many people consider this as a useless weed, while horse owners are happy to include this in the daily food of their horses. Dandelions are a superfood, that enhances the overall health of a horse, and works for the betterment of their nutrition. Some horses even find out only dandelions to eat.
So the question is can horses eat dandelions. Yes, they can because it’s not toxic to them. However, there are some false dandelions, that can cause stringhalt in the animals if they eat them. For this, you have to make sure the dandelions that grow in the pastures are not the false ones.
Other than that, wild horses love to consume dandelions. Some kinds of salads also have the same ingredient. This is generally weed, but it has good health properties in it. Let’s check out more about the same as horse food.
Benefits of dandelions for horses:
Dandelions are healthy food for horses, as it cleanses the blood, this prevents skin diseases, laminitis, and Rheumatism. This weed is also enriched with Vitamin A, B, C, and D. They also influence appetite in horses and improves their digestion system. There are some other reasons to feed your horses and ponies dandelions,
The best source of potassium
Improves the functions of the digestive tract
Promotes natural urination.
Stimulates the function of the liver.
This also stores a good amount of minerals and copper. This is required for proper and fast wound healing. Also, it promotes white blood cell production and fertility. Dandelions have an increased amount of vitamin A, B, and C than most fruits and vegetables.
A common use for horses
If your horse is suffering from an upset stomach, dandelions are great to heal the same. This is caused by a blockage in the intestine, and dandelions can enhance the production of bile, which encourages the digestive tract to function properly. This weed also encourages natural urination and acts as a healing agent after any sickness. Generally, dandelions are fed as a good source of nutrients, when your horse is on a hay-only diet.
As you already know that these are very perennial plants and they can grow just anywhere, but they prefer good soil and full to partial sunlight. They are one of the best addition to gardens as they extract nutrients from deep and replenish the top part of the soil. Make sure to plant the dandelions in a partial shade, otherwise, they will have bitter leaves in full sun.
Precautions to keep in mind
There are several benefits of feeding dandelions to horses, but it also has some properties that are not proper for horses in some conditions. First of all, horses love the taste of dandelions, because it’s the amount of fructan in them. However, if your horse has sugar sensitivity, such as prone to Cushing, laminitis, equine metabolic syndrome. You should not feed them dandelions. It will be best if you consult with a vet, and get a proper diet chart.
Also, dandelions are good for producing stomach acid, which is good for digestion. But excessive consumption can cause an ulcer.
When to feed dandelions
Horses will eat dandelions from the pastures, and sometimes dig up the roots and consume them. This weed is best to provide support the digestive system and help in the functions of the liver and kidneys. You can mix other herbs with dandelions, as it will give joint support to the horses. These plants are infused with minerals and have diuretic elements. Dandelions are also considered natural electrolytes. It’s said that the natural sap from the dandelion roots is good for healing warts in horses.
Some dandelion feeding rules
Your farm horses need a handful of dandelion leaves daily, or you can add 4 to 5 fresh roots. If you have dried herbs, then for leaves 30 grams, and roots 20 grams. You can add other weeds as they are beneficial if consumed with dandelions. It will always provide the exact nutrients to the horses. Dandelions are filled with antioxidants and other natural ingredients that can promote better health for the animals.
- You have to feed one-fourth of cups to one and a half cups daily based on the size of your horse. You can feed fresh or dried whole flowers.
- Make sure to feed in little amount and often. The feeding pattern should be systematic, as it will ensure the digestion of the horses. Although dandelions are good for the digestive tract, you still have to make sure of the feeding time.
- You have to feed your horses according to their sizes and workload. If they work, they will need more food for better energy. Too much or a small amount will not be adequate. This will simply make the animals either overweight or underweight.
- You have to check the weight of the horses regularly. This way you will be able to understand if the animals have gained or lost some weight. This detail is very important, as based on this you have to understand how much you should feed the horses.
- It’s significant to remember that, an overweight horse will not have the energy to work. The same will go for an underweight one. Consult a vet about the diet of the horses, and ensure the proportion of dandelions they should consume daily.
You also have to feed the horses at the same time daily. A routine will keep their digestion in check, and they will not lack energy. Also, make sure the feed and the utensils are clean. You have to clean the dandelions and hay before you provide the food to the animals.
Look for dandelions
If you are going to harvest dandelions all by yourself, you have to check the differences between the same and other plants. There is a plant named cat’s ear which looks similar to dandelions, and it’s toxic for horses. This plant has hairy, and round leaves with forked stems. Also, the flowers are similar looking. On the other hand, dandelions have edged, smooth and jagged leaves. Also, has one steam for each flower.
If you are not able to find dandelions near you, you can collect some from other pastures and gardens. However, you have to make sure those places are not sprayed with weed killers or pesticides in the previous two weeks. You have to always wash the dandelions and other weeds before giving them to the horses. Run them under cold water for three minutes, then shake the water off.