The Truth You Should Know – Can Horses Eat Meat?

Last Updated on March 8, 2023 by Woody Pet

Can Horses Eat Meat?

The truth that horse owners have accepted about equines’ diet, and most of us in general, is that it’s mostly comprised of grass and hay. It’s a fact that horses are herbivores who love grazing on green pastures. But have you ever wondered if ever can horses eat meat?

This idea sounds absurd, and perhaps it is, because why would horses eat meat? Even more so, can they even digest it? The truth is there are horse nutrition and behavioral facts that may affect tendencies to eat meat. As a straightforward answer, it is true that horses can eat meat and there are instances when they do.

However, not because they can and have access to meaty foodstuffs, doesn’t mean it should be going into their mouth, especially under forced conditions. If you want to know more about the truth behind the thought of meat-eating equines, keep reading on.

Can Horses Eat Meat? – Looking into the Digestive System of Horses

Before we can understand how horses choose the kind of food they eat, we should first delve into their digestive tract. Equines have one of the most complex digestive tracts among mammals, and it’s not a good thing at all. 

The one-way esophagus of horses prevents them from regurgitating, so when they eat something they shouldn’t, their body suffers a lot. Now, what sort of food items is their digestive system exactly designed for?

Plant-based foodstuffs are what the equines’ digestive tract needs. Their intestines are way far larger and bigger than carnivores, and it’s because it’s expected to digest grass and hay for a very long interval – unlike meat which is quick to digest.

The Ideal Diet – What Can Horses Eat and Should Eat

We yet have to specify the ideal diet for horses before traversing to the world of meaty options and whether can horses eat meat or not. We’ve already talked about how they’re built to digest for a longer time, now let’s go about their teeth. Canine teeth, the ones used by meat-eating mammals to bite through meat, are not present in horses. 

The teeth of the equines are flat rather than pointy, and it tells a lot about their conventional diet which includes fruits and vegetables. It would also be helpful to ask yourself whether wild horses eat meat because they’re the type of equine species that most people would describe as “feral,” therefore linking them with meat-eaters.

Horses not in Captivity – Do Wild Horses Eat Meat?

Mustangs, as what you’d call wild horses in America, are actually descendants of escaped horses that were domesticated when they were brought by the Spanish. You might have thought about how is their diet different from the horses that keep as pets. Is it true that they attack other animals? If that’s possible, then do horses eat baby chickens?

What you should keep in mind about horses is that they are herd animals, and they would do anything to protect their fellow. It is true that wild horses attack animals in the wild, but not as food. There are also instances when wild horses ambush bird nests and eat their eggs, but then again, it’s not out of pure intent to kill.

When Can Horses Eat Meat? – Exceptions and Factors to Consider

Coming from the grounds of reasoning for the nature of horses, we now answer the real question we’re seeking – can horses eat meat? Yes, horses can eat meat, but not for the purpose of food sources. Moreover, we should settle the debate on whether horses eat baby chickens or not.

It’s useful to retain the fact that sodium deficiency may occur among equines, and when it does, it’s possible that they resort to meat. They might eat meat offered to them because of the smell of sodium in it. Now, how about smaller animals? Do horses eat baby chickens?

Horse owners on the internet sometimes share videos of their horses eating chicks or whole eggs with shells on. When they do, it’s most likely because they feel that their territory is being threatened, so they scoop baby chickens into their mouth for a quick kill or stomp other smaller intruders.

Are Horses Herbivores or Omnivores? – The Truth to What Equines Really Are

After finding out that horses can eat meat, you’re now probably wondering, “Are horses herbivores?” The answer to that lies in the reality that animal classifications of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores pertain to their primary food source, not what they can simply eat or not eat.

It’s been validated that horses can eat meat, but that doesn’t make them less of a herbivore because grazing is still their main nutrient spring. The worst-case scenario is that horses would rely on eating meat because of malnutrition and lack of nourishment.

This brings the fact that many man-made implications might affect the diet of our dear equine friends. These include land conversion of grazing pastures and a forced meat-based diet as supplements. Integrating all of these considerations, are horses herbivores? Yes, horses are genuine herbivores by nature and physiology.

Settling Once and for All

Considering all the reasons behind an equine’s digestive system and the complex breakdown of their food nutrients, we can arrive at the conclusion that horses are through and through herbivores. There are times when the internet depicts them as ruthless animals in disguise, but there is no truth to that.

Like how herd animals should be, horses can tend to be protective. Meanwhile, humans also have a fair share of instances when horses resort to eating meat. We should be vigilant of the implications that might be causing distress to our loved equines. The answer to the question of the case can horses eat meat is clear. It’s true that they can eat meat, but that is not a reason for us to let them do so. Remember that the well-being of our equine friends lies on us, and let’s be thankful for their diligent work as farm helpers.


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