Can horses eat pine needles?

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Can horses eat pine needles?

This is a discussion on Can horses eat pine needles? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    10-27-2013, 01:31 PM
Can horses eat pine needles?

In our pasture we have a few pine trees. We have them (or thought we did) trimmed so that the branches don't start until above the horses's heads.

We've never had horses do this before. Our new guy, Nick, stretches and eats the needles off the branches. Not the bark, just the needles. And not the needles on the ground.

Just curious if they're bad for horses.
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    10-27-2013, 02:23 PM
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Of course they can! Also, pines and spurce trees can be a great and natural source of vitamins during winters. My boy and his herd eat them all the time!
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    10-27-2013, 11:28 PM
No, fresh needles are fine. Cedar is bad for them, and hemlock can be mistaken for pine, but actual pine is edible. The needles are very high in vitamin C, and the inner bark is an excellent source of fiber. I have drank pine needle tee, and have been known on more than one occasion to chew on some pine bark to satisfy a hungry belly when hiking :P
    10-28-2013, 12:18 AM
Pine needles can cause abortion in pregnant animals but other than that they are fine, as far as I know.
    10-28-2013, 12:23 AM
Yup, not for pregnant mares. I used to give our Christmas pine to my gang. They stripped it, then played tug of war. I also cut pine branches for them in winter.
    10-28-2013, 12:46 AM
We have friends who toss fir branches to their mules. The critters love the stuff. I'm sure they love a good wind storm.

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