Feed Bites

So You Bought Your 3-Year-Old a Unicorn: What You Need to Know

Written by: Lacie Dotterweich   |   April 1, 2020

Equine, Holidays, Exotic animals, Animal nutrition

If you are looking for a respite from coronavirus coverage, one of our staff’s four-year-olds asked what unicorns like to eat, so we thought today would be a great day to answer her question.

Many people think they know all there is to know about unicorns. They’re magical, they have horns on their heads and they make rainbows. But did you know that just like any other animal or equine species, unicorns have specific needs for nutrition?

To create their famous rainbows and glitter trails, unicorns require high levels of metallic minerals, such as copper and zinc. To fuel the short bursts of energy needed for their fanciful flights, they require sucrose. Another source of unicorn magic comes from eating four-leaf clovers, specifically, the rare “pink” clover, which is a secret mix of red and white clover. Currently, the special pink clover can only be grown in highland areas of Eastern Europe, but farmers in the U.S. have been working hard to produce it locally to strengthen the domestic unicorn industry.

The development of a unicorn’s wings requires special care and is a fundamental defense mechanism for their longevity and survival. Without proper nutrition, their wings fail to develop, leaving them as easy pickings for dark lords in forbidden forests. In addition, unicorn wings are important for rainbow and glitter production. To grow big and strong wings, and ensure successful flight, high protein diets and carefully balanced amino acids are essential for muscle growth and development.

For unicorns to grow their strong horns, they need a lot of vitamin C in their diets to support tissue integrity. Without a good source of vitamin C, unicorns will actually shed their horns, becoming nothing more than a regular horse. Historians believe that the citrus blight in 1705 and the ensuing shortage of citrus pulp led to a mass shedding of horns and is how unicorns ended up on the endangered species list. This theory is confirmed by the horse population boon of the 1700s.

Unicorns are quite picky eaters. Although grain is a top ingredient in equine species diets, unicorns prefer the multi-colored flint corn, or “Indian corn,” like we see at Thanksgiving for the rainbow colors. The American Feed Industry Association consulted with a unicorn industry expert who confirmed, “They also enjoy rainbow donuts and cupcakes with sprinkles.” The four-year-old expert went on to say that unicorns will also eat grass and cereal. Unicorns contribute to the sustainability of the feed industry too! By eating these bakery products that were upcycled into animal food, they help lower the environmental footprint of our industry.

Because unicorns are so rare, it is extremely important for them to eat safe and nutritious food so they can provide us with beautiful rainbows. And in case you haven’t read the date on this blog yet, Happy April Fool’s Day!

 

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