Can my horse eat Kale?

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09 Aug Can my horse eat Kale?

So, my wholesome herd of well-fed fillies, you know a superfood when you see one…just in case you don’t I’ve included a pic of a fresh bunch I picked up from the markets this morning!

Fresh bunch of Kale from out local markets - yum, get in my tum!

Fresh bunch of Kale from out local markets – yum, get in my tum!

I’m all about adding forage vitality and variety to our own and our horses’ diets, and I often get asked if ‘human’ foods are also appropriate to feed to our horses.  For the most part, horses can eat just about anything we do (they’ve even been documented as eating meat and fish…I know, I was shocked too!) BUT it doesn’t mean to say they always should!

Kale belongs to the ‘cruciferous’ family of vegetables, along with things such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip, Brussel sprouts, to name a few (oh how I LOVE Brussels!).  It’s low in saturated fat, and very low in cholesterol (not a big deal for the horse).  It’s a good source of Dietary Fibre, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. 

Now, while it is packed full of nutrients and is touted as a superfood in the human diet, it has been shown in studies to affect iodine metabolism which can lead to thyroid damage over time.  True hypothyroidism in horses is very rare, however, we do not have any controlled studies on the effects of feeding kale in large amounts, over long periods of time.

So, add it in for a bit of variety…sure, but limit it to occasional ‘treats’ of about 2-4oz (60-120g) per day, or about half of a typical bunch (2-3 stems), to avoid any potential issues with feeding it in large amounts.  Make sure you change it up in your own diet too!

 

 

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