Can Horses Eat Parsnips?

Did you ever confuse between parsnips and carrots? If yes then it’s ok because there is no difference between their nutritional value. They are very close to carrots and parsley with cream colour tubers.

Parsnips are not only healthy for humans but also for horses. Some horses love to eat them as a treat.

If you know how to prepare a proper treat, this can be the best one on your list.

Carrots, parsley and parsnips are regular treats for my horse. I used to feed them in different ways.

Parsnips are a rich source of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate and other micronutrients. In addition to these vitamins and nutrients, they also contain iron, calcium and riboflavin.

So straight to question, can horses eat parsnips? Yes, horses can eat them as a treat. Make sure to add them in the diet with proper precautions. They are only meant to feed in moderation.

Parsnips are healthy treat for horses

All root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, parsley, turnips can be fed to horses.

There are different vitamins, fibers and minerals present in this vegetable.

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin E
  • Phosphorus
  • Protein
  • Thiamine
  • Zinc 
  • Fat
  • Fibre
  • Carbs

Parsnips are not only nutritious but also contain different antioxidants. Water-soluble vitamins like ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) works as antioxidant agents from vegetables.

Source of Fiber

Horses can not digest fibre like humans. They lack essential digestive enzymes. Horses house a lot of bacterias in their gut which breaks fibre for use.

Providing horses with essential vitamins like Vitamin B1 and Vitamin K can help in bacterial fermentation of fibres and these both vitamins are present in Parsnips.

Fibre stores water and acts as a water reservoir in the horse. It provides energy and calories. Low fibre can lead to constant hunger, gastric ulcer, boredom and other colic diseases

Source of Vitamin C

Parsnips are rich with vitamin C. It helps the immune system to prevent tissue damage. It neutralizes radicals which are responsible for tissue damage.

There are different treats like oranges, carrots and parsley are also good sources of vitamin c. Deficiency of vitamin c causes inhibition of the immune system, delayed wound healing and lordosis

Source of vitamin k

Vitamin k is very important for horses. It stores in fat and later housed in body liver. It helps in coagulation and blood clot.

Horses get their most of vitamin k needs from forage. It is very rare to see vitamin K deficiency in horses.

It not only helps in coagulation but also strengthens bones.


Feeding Parsnips to horses

There are top recommendations to follow while feeding parsnips to horses.


Always feed in moderation. horse digestive tract has a balance between microbes and functions. Large amount will disturb the digestive tract. Chop them and feed in small amounts.

Never force to eat

Most of the horses love parsnips and carrots but never force them to eat. Some horses are even allergic to healthy treats.

Feed in correct way

There is always risk feeding with hands because horses can bite. Keep this vegetable on your palm and lay fingers behind it. Make sure the horse can see parsnips in your hands.

You can feed through a trough or basket. Do not keep in pockets or other hands because horses will nip on your clothes.

Feed in Cookies

You can make your own cookies by oatmeal and parsnips. Add one cup of flour, one cup oatmeal, chopped parsnips, one tablespoon corn of oil and molasses. Bake for 50 minutes and roll in the form of cookies.


Precautions while feeding Parsnip to Horses

Horse with HYPP

Hyperkalemic periodic paralysis is related to potassium intake. A horse owner should know the potassium requirements of horses.

One parsnip pf 100 gram contains 367 mg of potassium. source never feed it as a treat to horses suffering from HYPP.

Never feed horses with dental issues. These horses need soft and easy to chew food. If you feed the whole parsnip it can cause choke.

Insulin Resistant

Parsnips are low in carbohydrates and sugar amount so better to consult a vet before feeding. Feed two times maximum in a week to a horse suffering from insulin resistance.(Source)

Can horses eat parsnip leaves?

Parsnips tops or leaves are not harmful or poisonous to horses. Make sure to not overfeed them. Top portion or leaves have dirt and not clean, so wash them before adding in food. Leaves have equal nutrition value like a vegetable.

  • Here are quick tips to follow
  • Parsnips are a healthy and best alternative treat for carrots
  • Always feed in moderation and cut in small pieces before feeding
  • Do not feed to horses suffering from metabolic or dental issues
  • Try different treat methods

Other Treats for horses

Hi, I am Waqar and active in the horse world since 2012. I have MSc (Hons) in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad. I love to solve equine health care issues and note down in the form of research papers. I have written hundreds of equine health care, accessories, names, and history-related blogs. My equine related work is watering a lot of horse-related magazines and blogs.

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