Farmers who grow corn would usually feed the leftover like corn husks to cattle or pigs, but have you ever thought, “Can horses eat corn husks too?” The answer is yes. Corn is not toxic, and every part of it is edible for horses.
However, you will still need to keep an eye when feeding your horse because even though it’s safe, feeding your horse too much could cause them digestive problems.
Again, don’t be confused whether or not horses can eat corn husks. Well, you don’t have to dwell on it much further because this article will answer that for you.
So, keep on reading and learn more about corn husks.
Corn; A Good Snack For Horses
As said earlier, corn is not toxic to horses, but some parts like the husk and cob could be choking them. Regardless, corn or maize contains a powerful antioxidant, known as beta carotene, which horses converts to vitamin A that we all know is beneficial for their eyes. Moreover, its kernels are rich in starch, making it the preferred “heating” food for performance or highly active horses.
Horse keepers would also include corn to their horse’s diet who struggle to keep weight, especially during the winter season. Adding to this are the beneficial components that a corn kernel has: phosphorus, zinc, iron, and potassium that keep the horses’ bones, muscles, blood, and immune system healthy and supported.
But never feed your horse pulverized corn kernels as it could cause damage to you’re horse’s digestive system. So now that you have a brief knowledge of corn and why it is included in a horse’s diet, let us know to answer your question: Can horses eat corn husks?
Can You Let Your Horse Eat Corn Husks Every day?
Although horses can snack on corn husks, it doesn’t mean they will never get sick. Corn husks appear to be a bright green covering on the ear of corn. It serves as a protection for the cob from pests and other damaging factors.
We mostly see corn discarded and used for the compost heap, or some would feed it to their animals too. And in ancient cultures, the silk of corn husks is used as medicine.
This part of the corn is edible to horses, but despite that, it would be best to stick to their usual diet like hay since horses have sensitive digestive systems, and making corn husk as a staple part of their diet could cause Colic. Also, this part of corn has high levels of fiber.
Risks of corn husks
Cornhusk has little nutritional value but is used mainly by pet food manufacturers as a filler ingredient. Although horses can benefit from its high levels of fiber, it would be best to give it as a snack but only seldom as corn husks could impose potential risks to horses. Here are some of them:
Risk #1. Corn husks could contain mycotoxins
Mycotoxins are dangerous to horses. Because when a horse eats lots of contaminated corn husks, the toxins can cause Equine Leukoencephalomalacia or “moldy corn disease,” a neurological condition called that could make your horse blind or suffer from cognitive disorders, or worse, kill your pet.
Mycotoxins flourish in corn husks or ears, especially if the environment is warm and humid. However, they are hard to detect, so be careful with what you feed your horses.
Risk #2. Digestive problems
One thing that corn husks could affect your horses with is digestive issues. As said earlier, corn husk is filled with lots of fiber or starch, and excess amounts of it could cause your horse weight gain and painful bloating that can put their lives at risk. In addition, a life-threatening disease you need to look out for is Colic. So, be careful.
Other Parts Of Corn That Some Horses Snack On
Well, it’s not just corn husks that your horses can eat; you can also have other parts of corns.
#1. Corn cob
We all know what corn cob is, right? It is the hard part in the corn which holds its tasty kernels. When eating corn, we usually throw the cob, but some horse keepers would feed it to fast eaters because it helps them slow down since they would need to pick out every kernel on it.
However, make sure to watch your horse as they eat one since corn cobs could pose a choking hazard to your pet. And corn cobs have little nutritional value. That’s why most horse owners wouldn’t feed it to their horses.
#2. Corn stalk
In the USA, corn stalks are usually given to cattle because it is generally used to bulk up forages like hay. And like corn cob and husk, it contains little nutritional value. But horses can still eat corn stalk only a tiny portion of it. So it would be best to mix a high-quality forage. Don’t make corn stalk as part of your horse’s daily meal.
Safest Way To Prepare Corn For Horses
The best way to prepare corn for your horse to eat is to take out every kernel from the cob and feed it to your horse. Corn kernels are the most suitable part of corn to feed your horses it contains the most nutrition than the other parts. And when you feed your horse, always supervise.
Can horses eat corn husks? Yes, they can. However, although they are edible, there are still risks that come with them, especially if your horse overeats. Remember that corn husk is a choking hazard and could cause digestive problems, and worse, life-threatening diseases like Colic.
Always be mindful of what you feed your horses. Of course, it would be best to stick to their usual diets like forages, feeds, or veterinary suggestions.
However, it’s better to follow professional orders. That is all, and we hope that this article helps.