As many farm animals love eating corn and get it as a part of their daily feed, you may also consider feeding your horses corn. Moreover, you may want to give your horse corn on the cob to chew on and enjoy. But, can horses eat corn on the cob?
Giving your horses small amounts of corn on the cob is okay, provided they don’t have problems with their teeth. However, corn is low in fiber and high in starch, meaning that it can cause your horses to become hyperactive or have colic. We don’t recommend overfeeding their corn on the cob.
Before feeding your horse corn on the cob, you must consider the potential health problems of doing so. Weighing them against the health benefits of feeding corn on the cob to horses is the only way to determine if you should do it. Therefore, we will discuss the health benefits of feeding corn on the cob to horses and the potential dangers of doing so.
Can You Feed Corn On The Cob To Horses?
Before feeding your horses corn on the cob, you must ensure that their teeth are in good condition. Older horses, or horses with missing teeth or tooth infections, may have trouble chewing the corn and cob. The same is true for loose corn kernels.
The difference between corn on the cob and loose corn kernels is that corn on the cob has more fiber and volume than corn kernels. However, corn on the cob still has less fiber and twice as much starch as oats. Therefore, when feeding your horse corn on the cob, we recommend doing so in small amounts.
Horses don’t gain much from eating corn on the cob. Corn on the cob doesn’t contain much of the protein or nutrients that horses need to thrive. Corn contains only one beneficial nutrient for horses, and that is carotene. Carotene is needed for healthy eyesight, and horses can benefit from the carotene in corn.
Besides the carotene, corn on the cob is sweet snack horses enjoy eating. You can give your horses limited amounts of corn kernels or opt for corn on the cob if you want to add variety to their diets.
Corn on the cob consists of three parts: the corn kernels, the cob, and the husk. The kernels are the part of the corn that contains the carotene and gives corn its delicious, sweet taste. Many horses like eating corn, although some may have trouble chewing it.
The cob doesn’t contain many nutrients. However, it is high in fiber and therefore adds to the overall nutritional value of corn when fed to horses.
The corn husk doesn’t contain many nutrients for the horses at all. Some horses like corn husks more than others. While fungus-free husks shouldn’t cause any harm, we recommend limiting the number of corn husks you feed your horses.
Potential Problems Of Giving Horses Corn On The Cob
As you can see, there aren’t many health benefits of feeding horses corn on the cob. Besides being a sweet snack and adding a bit of variety to their diets, horses don’t gain much from eating corn on the cob.
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In this case, you may wonder if feeding your horse corn on the cob is worthwhile. We recommend you consider the potential health risks of overfeeding horse corn on the cob before making a final decision.
As corn on the cob is high in starch and low in fiber, there are some significant dangers of feeding too much corn on the cob to horses. These dangers include the following.
1. Your Horse Can Choke From Eating Corn On The Cob
As mentioned, ensuring that your horse’s teeth are healthy before feeding it corn on the cob is essential. Horses with bad or missing teeth may have trouble chewing the corn and cob properly. This can cause them to choke if the corn gets stuck in their esophagus, leading to death. Therefore, don’t feed older horses or horses with tooth problems corn on the cob.
2. Horses Can Get Colic From Overeating Corn
Colic is a potentially fatal problem when undigested or partially digested food gets trapped in a horse’s large intestine. Colic can lead to a horse’s death within 24 hours if it is not treated, and sometimes the treatment doesn’t work.
Because corn on the cob is lower in fiber, it can cause colic in horses. As this is a serious concern, we strongly recommend limiting the corn on the cob you feed your horses. Also, monitor their condition carefully after feeding them corn on the cob.
3. Horses Can Get A Fungal Infection From Eating Corn On The Cob
Elem is a life-threatening disease that horses can contract from eating corn infected with fungus. The toxin in this fungus attacks the white brain matter, which can cause loss of vision, balance and coordination problems, and death.
To reduce the chances of your horses contracting Elem, feed them fresh corn that hasn’t been stored in a moist environment and limit the amount of corn husk they eat.
4. Too Much Corn Can Cause Weight Gain
As mentioned, corn on the cob contains a lot of starch. Therefore, if a horse overeats corn on the cob, it can start to gain weight. Horses with insulin problems are more susceptible to weight gain from food with high starch amounts, such as corn.
5. Horses Can Become Overactive From Eating Corn On The Cob
Because corn is sweet and high in starch, it can cause your horses to get a sugar rush, followed by a sugar crash. This may cause them to become overactive and may also cause behavioral problems if they don’t get enough exercise to burn the excess energy.
How Can You Safely Feed Your Horses Corn On The Cob?
Despite the potential risks of feeding corn on the cob to horses, many horse owners still give their horses corn. If you limit the corn you feed your horses and carefully monitor their condition after eating corn; you can do so without worry.
If you’re concerned that your horses may have trouble digesting corn on the cob, feed them cracked, rolled, or steamed corn instead. Processed corn is easier for horses to digest. However, the longer corn is stored, the more likely it is that there is mold on the corn. Therefore, check the corn before feeding it to your horses and store it in a cool, dry location with sufficient ventilation.
If you are still concerned about whether can horses eat corn on the cob and the potential health issues related to feeding horses corn on the cob, avoid feeding it to them altogether. As you have noticed, feeding horses corn on the cob has few health benefits. Therefore, the risks may outweigh the benefits.
Horses can safely consume small amounts of corn on the cob. However, corn on the cob doesn’t have many health benefits for horses, and some may have trouble chewing and digesting corn on the cob. Therefore, we recommend carefully monitoring your horses after giving them corn on the cob. Stop giving them corn on the cob if you notice any strange behavior or if your horses get colic from eating it.