Are Turnips Toxic Horse Feed? | Can horses Eat Turnips?

Four freshly harvested turnips with green stems and leaves on a black platter

No, turnips are not considered toxic to horses and can be offered as a treat in moderation as part of a balanced diet. Horses like vegetables as part of their feed and vegetables are normally added to their daily diet. Variations in their diet are highly appreciated by horses. Turnips can be a good treat for horses, but it is important to keep an eye on your horses to make sure they don’t munch on them too much. The most frequently asked question by horse owners about turnips, the most common is “Can Horses Eat Turnips?” so let’s get into it!

Can Horses Eat Turnips?

Yes, Horses can eat turnips. Turnips are not harmful to horses. However, they can be potentially risky. Turnips contain Glucosinolates which can be toxic if they are fed in large quantities. Therefore, turnips should only be fed in small amounts and not too frequently. If given in moderation, turnips are a healthy vegetable that can be added to your horse’s diet.

Root vegetables are not poisonous if given in moderation.

Do’s & Don’ts

Do not Overfeed

Limiting turnips to 5 to 8 pounds is safe to avoid constipation and colic. Turnips are very high in protein and can cause bloating if they are consumed in very large amounts. It is better to limit the intake of turnips.

Roughage with Turnips

If dry roughage is not given before turnips, it can cause your horse Diarrhea. A horse’s digestive system will not be ready to have the turnips.

Check of Botulism

Turnips have a high moisture content that can cause the development of bacteria called Clostridium-botulinum. This can cause botulism in your horse with symptoms including tremors, muscle weakness, drooping eyelids, and difficulty swallowing.


Cut turnips into small pieces and then give them to your horse, as big chunks can cause choking.

Wild Turnips

Never feed your horse wild turnips, as they are not safe. They contain toxic content. So it is better to avoid wild turnips.

Nutritional Value of Turnips

Turnips are low in sugar and calories. Medium-sized turnips contain fats, carbohydrates, and sugars. Being highly nutritious vegetables, they belong to the group of vegetables like cabbage[1], Brussels sprouts, and kale. They have a lot of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial and can have a positive impact on the health of horses.

The vitamins and minerals may differ between turnips and other vegetables of the same family. Turnips, their leaves, and their roots can be fed to horses. Leaves, roots, and main turnips are full of nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, phosphorus, and calcium.


Four freshly harvested turnips with green stems and leaves on a black platter

  • Vitamin C helps in the growth, repair, and development of tissues in the bodies of horses.
  • Vitamin A helps in a horse’s vision. It also improves the immune system and organs including kidneys and lungs.
  • Vitamin K is essential for the health of bones and bone metabolism. Vitamin K also helps in protecting the bones of your horse from severe fracturing and helps in improving overall bone health.
  • Being a good source of calcium, turnips are extremely important for the health of bones and teeth. It aids in the development and maintenance of your horse’s structural health. It supports normal muscle functioning and is very helpful in producing energy.
  • The essential mineral, phosphorus can also be found in turnips, and it is important to give your horse feeds that have phosphorus in them. Phosphorus plays an important role in filtering waste and repairing cells and tissues in the body. It supports in gaining health and strength in horse’s bones and improves energy level.

Can Horses Eat Turnip Leaves?

Turnip leaves are safe and full of nutrition for horses. They have more nutrients than turnips themselves. They are edible and can be easily digestible. Turnip leaves are an excellent option to be added to your horse feed.

Can Horses Eat Turnip Roots?

These can be a good feed for your Bella. Leaves and roots are very commonly referred to as turnip greens. Both are safe and healthy for the horse’s health and are a good source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium.

The thing to remember is that when feeding your horse with leaves, roots, or main turnip, keep it moderately portioned. However, it should not be used as a replacement for any regular ingredient in a nutritious diet. It can only be used as a treat or snack for horses.

Preparing Turnips

There are many ways through which you can prepare food containing turnips, leaves, and roots for your horses. But to start, you must wash them thoroughly and take care of whether it’s fresh, not rotten or Mold, and healthy. It should be free of pesticides.

Ways to Feed Turnips

Freshly harvested radishes with green leaves and white roots on a gray stone surface

  1. You can give your horse plain turnips. That means chopping them down into small pieces and giving them in raw condition. It is more nutritious. It is fine to simply feed turnips to your horse raw. They will love chomping on it and will enjoy the crunchy texture.
  2. Roast the turnips and give them to your horse. Roasting is a delicious way of preparing them. It is an interesting and fun way for your horse. Do not over-roast them, or they will have a bitter taste.
  3. You can mix them up with different horse feeds. Horse feeders can also mix this root vegetable with different nutritious fruits like apples[2], carrots[3], and different vegetables as well. It makes your horse enjoy his food and makes it more interesting and fun.

[1] Cabbage
[2] Apples
[3] Carrots


Horses may like it so much that they risk filling up on celery rather than their feed, which they need to support optimum health. Other vegetables you might consider offering to your horse in small amounts include turnips, cucumbers, and beetroots. Vegetables that are off limit for horses include onions and potatoes.
Horses do not readily eat radish and turnip. Berseem clover, annual ryegrass, and winter rye are an ideal mixture for horse pastures.
Being one of the healthiest root vegetables with low calories and sugar, turnips are a great vegetable to feed to horses. Of course, moderation in portion sizes is key, with one or two pieces being recommended daily
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • If your horse consumes any of these three things in excess, then it can lead to very bad gas and colic problems that could hurt them. Better to avoid these three vegetables!

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