Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Carla (WI)
I have been horseless for nearly 3 years now but still follow the forum daily here.
My husband and I noticed that our neighbors down the road, with 6 horses, have set a big round bale of dried corn leaves in the pasture.  They may be feeding hay too, we don't know. 
We got to talking, grass, when dried, becomes 'hay'.  And that is edible.
How would that be different than feeding dried corn leaves?  Would there be a nutritional difference?   Seems there certainly would be.  Is this very common place now?  Are people feeding dry corn leaves to horses?  I did know that they are being used as bedding in barns but didn't know they were considered a food source to horses.  Someone shed any light on this topic?
A place I boarded several years ago used corn round bales and soybean stubble as bedding for the pasture horses.  My huge idiot would eat the corn when it was fresh and untrampled, but not the soybeans, and I don't think any of the other horses did.  He definitely preferred hay over the corn.  I don't think it's a good food source for horses, but maybe in a pinch.  I'm sure it gives tons of fiber for warmth generation, but I doubt there's any nutrition in it. 
Mara, I would say your horse was brilliant and not an idiot.  Raw soy beans are toxic to horses.  Raw soy beans contain two toxic enzymes: Urease and lipoxdase.  This makes it very important to roast them before using them in horse feeds. The flame-roasting process eliminates these “anti-nutrients” and turns the soybeans into an efficient source of the particular amino acids useful to the horse, as well as concentrated energy. 

Carla, I'm not sure what the nutritional value is in the dried corn stalk leaves, but there must be some, as I know a lot of farmers will allow their cows out to eat off of the dried up corn pastures.  I know they get some left-over corn that way also.  I would have to look that up, and maybe someone else will see this post and answer that if they know.
Wow, I didn't know that unroasted soybeans were toxic to horses.  I've seen them in feeds. 

And ahh, my idiot.  My moron idiot.  It's an endearing term I use for him.  He's a Belgian who has a knack of doing stupid things, causing problems, being scared of tiny little things, and getting into trouble.  (He's just like Bob -- big, blond, but spooky on the trails).  At least he was smart enough to stay away from the soybeans.


We have soybeans in our feed...but they are roasted, they don't use raw soybeans in horse feed.  (and if someone did, stay away)

Abby M

I live and farm in NE WI, and around here there are dairy farmers that feed corn stalks to their cows and hiefers. They mix it with some type of syrup, more or less they use the stalks as filler, all the nutrients come from the syrup. As far as pasturing on corn ground, the animals are just cleaning up the grain that made it threw the combine!

Michelle S.

I was just going over some questions for one of my finals today that related to this.  The question was: Supplying roughages such as straw or corn stalks is not recommended because... And the answer was because they have low nutritional value and an increase chance of gastrointestinal tract impact.

Good to see most of our instincts are followed up by a text book! Thanks for posting that Michelle.  I would think if they are eating the corn husks & stalks, they are either nibbling out of boredom, or actually eating it because they are hungry & not getting the correct amount of hay. I know even my browser, that thinks he needs to eat all the time, would only pick at the husks & would rather sleep on it than eat it. I had read that moldy corn also contains a toxin called Fumonisin, which can cause leukoencephalomalacia (ELEM), a serious disease in horses (quoted). Here's a link: http://www.addl.purdue.edu/newsletters/2003/spring/finaldx.shtml

Here's another link, if you scroll down a bit, you will find a few Q/A's that pertain to this conversation too: http://esc.rutgers.edu/ask_expert/ate_nutgfm.htm 

We have fed round bales of corn stalks for years as a "anti-boredom" source. We had horses on our place that chewed wood like beavers but once we started this practice they no longer cared to remodel the framework on our barns/stalls. We also feed hay and grain which the horses readily leave the corn stalk pile to come and eat so am pretty sure there is no real nutritional value in the stalks unless there has been some left-over corn left on the ears. I would NOT recommend feeding corn bales in place of hay.

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