Does a horse eat meat?

Every living thing eats according to its instincts and horses take forages as their major feed component. 

There is a viral video, in which a horse eating a chick stirred up the confusion that can horse eat meat.  Some other people reported similar types of incidences too. And I found a farmer advising that horses should be offered feed before opening the chicken coop. Animals rarely go against their instincts. But if we starve a horse then it might eat meat for its survival.

 Oftenly it is asked that whether the horse is carnivore, herbivore or omnivore? There are different types of animals based on the feed they take.

 We human beings are omnivores mean we can eat both meat and plants as food. The other group is herbivores that can eat only plants as their food i.e. horse, cattle, sheep and goat. The third category is carnivores which can eat only meat. Dogs, loins, cheetahs and cats fall in this category.

What an animal will eat depends upon the digestive system of that animal. Meat-eaters have stomach and secretions made for meat digestion. Herbivores have large space and numerous microbes for storage and effective digestion of forages.

But we have recently seen that feeding habits of animals are modified by humans in order to achieve their production or performance targets. For example fish meal and blood meal is regularly added in concentrate of cattle. So from this scientist inferred that we can give meat to horse in modified way. This will be digestible and beneficial for them as it has more protein in it. Thus there is a recent trend of feeding meat in modified form to increase efficiency of animal.

If a horse eats meat it will not be properly digested by its stomach because its stomach is not compatible with its digestion. The amount of HCL secreted by the stomach of the horse is very low for the digestion of meat. So if a horse eats the meat it will be partially digested and will be secreted half-digested in the feaces of the horse.

If a horse eats meat it will lead to more production of HCL by the stomach and it will have severe consequences like gastric ulcers. When a horse eats large amount of meat, it lead to toxin production in the equine digestive tract.  If a horse accidentally eats meat then emergency conditions need to be implemented. Call a veterinarian at the earliest.

The other thing which you can do is flushing of digestive system. It means you have to clean the whole digestive tract of the animal. This flushing is done in several ways but the most common is you drench liquid paraffin to the horse in large quantities. This will help the fast movement of digesta in the tract of the animal and will help in clearing the track as soon as possible.

Lastly, the horse is an herbivore and can’t digest meat. However, a starving horse can show exceptional behavior like eating a bird or a chunk of meat.