Horses usually eat grass. They are herbivore animals that love to spend their time in the middle of the grass. Horses’ natural diet has high roughage content. Owners should provide horses with a predominantly fiber-based diet, it is either grass, hay, halage, or a hay replacement to imitate their natural feeding pattern as closely as possible.
However, if you have already had horses for a long time, you might have already heard about horses that eat chicks. Your friend or relatives might have already told you this tale where the horse eats chicks and other kinds of meat. So, is it true that horses eat chicks? If horses eat chicks, then why do horses eat chicks? Let us find out!
Why do horses eat chicks? The main reason why horses eat chicks is that they have no choice. If there are no grass, hays, or halage around and the horse is extremely starving to death, it has no choice but to eat whatever is around them. If it is a chick that is around horses, then they will eat it to prevent dying from starvation.
When your horse eats a chick, its digestive tract will tolerate and digest small amounts without much of an issue. Domesticated horses have been known to eat chicks. It is a rare event but it can happen sometimes.
Let us dive deeper into this topic so that you will be able to understand if it is healthy for your horse to eat chick, and not just chick but other types of meats as well. Let us go and see if horses can eat chicks and other meats on a daily basis.
Would A Horse Eat A Chick?
Horses usually eat hay and grass. It is a rare case for them to eat a chick.
However, as I have said above, horses would eat a chick if they have no choice. Horses that are starving to death will intake whatever food is around them.
If there is a chick around them and they are extremely hungry, horses will never think twice about eating that chick.
That is why it is essential for farmers that have horses and chickens to make sure that their horses have plenty of food to eat and that the chicks of their hens will not be around their horses to prevent possible carnivorous acts.
What Happens If Horses Eat Chicks?
If you are worried that your horse might eat chicks because of what will happen to them after eating chicks, don’t worry too much.
Your horse’s digestive tract will tolerate and digest small amounts without much of an issue. There are lots of horses in history that eat chicks. So it would not be bad for them to eat small amounts of chicks.
However, since horses are already domesticated, horses that eat chicks only happen rarely. However, even though it’s rare, it can still be possible, especially if you are not giving your horse enough food.
Can Horses Eat Meat?
So, aside from eating chicks, can horse eat other types of meat? Like pig’s meat, cow’s meat, and other meats? Let us find out!
Yes! In some situations, horses will eat meat but again, if they only have no choice. If horses have no choice, they will not only eat chicks but other meats as well.
Your horse’s digestive tract will tolerate and digest small amounts without much of an issue. Taking a small amount of meat will not hurt your pet horse that much.
Horses have been known to eat meats such as chicks, pigs, birds, mice, and farmland pets. Yes! This can happen rarely but still, it is possible.
Some horse owners give their horses cooked food, such as steak, pork, or cooked chicken. However, the amount of meat they can digest will differ from horse to horse.
Also, your horse’s ability to digest the meat that you gave it will depend if they were given meat when they are still young. If they were, then it would be easy for them to digest meat.
However, even though it can be possible for horses to eat meat, every horse owner must realize that meat is not the ideal diet for horses.
Meat is the last option. This can happen if hay or grass is scarce. But if the grass or hay is still abundant, there is no reason to feed your horses some meat.
Your horse has flat teeth designed for powering through vegetables and hay. They don’t have sharp teeth like the predators in the wild that is made for ripping raw meat or flesh.
The diet of your horse should consist of fruits, grasses, and vegetables. The diet of your horse should be built around its identity as a herbivore.
What If My Horse Likes To Eat Meat?
If you try to give your pet horse some meat, your horse will first taste or smell the meat. Your horse will take some bite first to know if they will like it or not. Some horses will like it and some will not.
However, even though it turns out that your horse likes it, it does not necessarily mean that you should feed them it or give meat as a treat.
The digestive system of your horse will not react well if the horses intake too much meat. Your horse should stick to eating plants, grass, and hay.
Your horse is likely not reacting to the smell or taste of the meat itself. Horses tend to love what we humans use to process and flavor our cooked food. If the smell of the meat is incorporated into their regular diet, your horse will not think twice about eating the meat.
Do Wild Horses Eat Meat?
Wild horses usually travel in the wild and eat smaller animals. However, as I have said above, these horses only do this to survive. They have no choice. It is whether to die or eat meat to survive.
Aside from horses, other wild herbivores eat small meat too. Like deers, they sometimes eat rodents or birds. They also do this to survive and have no choice.
However, you will never see a group of horses that is chasing and hunting large animals and eating them together once it’s dead. Horses are not predators and have no sharp teeth. They only have flat teeth.
Horses do not hunt like wolves. They just roam together to protect each other from potential danger.
Can Horses Digest Meat?
Yes! Horses can digest meat in smaller quantities. However, even though they can, their digestive system is not built for it.
Horses are herbivore animals. Their body should process plant matter rather than meat. Their teeth are flat, and are built for chewing plants.
Carnivores have different teeth. Their teeth are sharp. This is to make it easy for them to tear apart the meat of other animals.
Also, the digestive system of horses is large. It will take a longer time to digest food compared to carnivores.
Carnivores need food to move quickly inside their bodies. Their digestive system will handle meat protein and material without any issues.
But the digestive system of horses was not made with the same goal in mind. The liver of horses will not flush out residue left behind by meat protein in an efficient manner.
It is a rare occasion for horses to eat meat. Horses only eat meat if humans give it to them. They don’t often hunt or look for meat on their own.
Icelandic people usually feed their horses some fish. The reason why they do this is to give their horse some protein. However, researchers said that meat-eating horses might be more attracted to the salt than the fish itself.
Is Meat Bad For Horses?
Meat is not bad and toxic for horses. However, meat can still pose a threat to horses, especially if taken too much. The reason is that meat and animal products often go bad quickly.
The spoiled meat might have some toxins that can’t be removed through cooking. It can be an issue because horses are sensitive to botulism.
Botulism has a high fatality rate among horses when left untreated. Horses can get this disease by consuming horse feed contaminated with rodent or bird carcasses.
Horses have no defense mechanism in eating dangerous food. They are not capable of vomiting like we can when we eat something bad.
Horse owners like you should go to the vet and ask your vet to come into the barn of your horse for a checkup if this kind of situation happens.
What Happens If Horses Eat Meat?
If your pet horse managed to eat some meat, then you don’t have to panic. Your horse can deal with it without any issue present itself.
Horses are massive animals and a little bit of meat should not harm them. However, this is not an excuse to constantly give your pet horse some meat.
You need to make an effort to make sure that your horse sticks to its vegetarian diet. Horses are curious animals that will try even hot dogs or sandwiches.
If you notice some side effects or issues after your horse eats meat, you need to call a vet immediately.
The reason why horses eat chicks is that horses have no choice but to eat chicks. This usually happens when horses are starving to death and have no choice but to eat chicks or other small animals around them. However, even though this is possible, you still don’t give your horse some meat on a regular basis. This can hurt your horse.