Alfalfa has 3 times more calcium then grass hay. Horses are evolved grazing animals. Coastal hay is a grass hay that is very common in Texas and other states along the gulf coast. However there are some important cons to consider. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. Posted by Lynnsy Johnson - Saddle Up on Feb 27th 2020. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. I planted my field in straight alfalfa last fall and the field is looking good so far this year. If you have a hard keeper, they may be able to gain weight easier and healthier on Alfalfa. I want to do the very best for my horses and make sure they are healthy. It is also said that once a horse is on Alfalfa, it reduces the risk of colic. Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. A common complaint about Alfalfa is that it makes your horse hot or very energized. Again think about your horses age and activity level. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. Legume hays (alfalfa and clover) contain 12% to 20% protein. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. I think the biggest con about grass hay is its lack of nutrients. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. I personally go this route because I have performance horses who need the boost and a retired gelding who is a hard keeper. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Timothy Plus Alfalfa is one of our ideal performance horse blends. Hay for Horses. Its low protein, high fiber, and high energy content make it easily digestible. Or at least that is my goal in life. Earlier, I had talked about the percentage of protein in Alfalfa at 21.2%. This works for alfalfa, timothy, or orchard grass pellets. Grass hay is only 10.85% protein and 12.9% simple starches. This same horse had laminitis about 6 yrs ago from too much alfalfa in our field but seems to be doing just fine having it more as a supplement. The most popular choices for grasses to be utilized as horse hay are Timothy Grass and Orchard Grass making them the big two forage grasses. Timothy hay feeding helps to satisfy the urge of the horse to graze and chew when they are restricted to stables for a long time. Sweetwater Nutrition Inc. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. Hay hay and more hay. Timothy is a cool season grass, and many horse owners feed timothy as it’s easy for horses … Timothy is a great everyday hay for adult buns, while alfalfa hay should only be fed as a treat hay because of its high levels of calcium and fat. [READ ABOUT: Enteroliths] Alfalfa Myths vs. Facts. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. I have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay pellets. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. One of the most important things in a horse's diet is roughage. Hay equals roughage. Due to its low protein levels, Timothy hay can be fed regularly to satisfy appetite without excess calories and protein, and in some cases provides enough protein for less active and stabled horses. Alfalfa has 3 times more calcium … If you have an older horse who is retired and not worked regularly, Alfalfa may be too rich of a feed for them because they do not exercise as much as the performance horse. Sundays 12:00pm-4:00pm Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. In some states it is considered to be an invasive species, as it is not a native north American grass. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. The biggest thing to think about is your horse's age, stage of life, activity level, breed, and overall health. People can have different opinions, but it all comes down to what is the right decision for your horse. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. With higher protein and energy amounts, Alfalfa is an ideal choice for a working ranch horse or performance horse. Yes, this can happen, but usually as a result of feeding it improperly. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. There are some factors to consider when choosing the right feed for your horse and we will chat about it today. Alfalfa hay is so packed with nutrients that you feed smaller portions to your horse. Something that can also be dangerous is grass has more Carbohydrates which can add to an overweight problem or different health problems. If you feed a well balanced diet with Alfalfa, it should not make your horse hot. Made of a 70/30 blend of timothy alfalfa hay, this blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions. With having to feed larger amounts, you typically go through grass hay faster than alfalfa and that reflects on the cost. The Phosphorus (essential mineral for horses) ratio should be 2:1. It is basically the same as someone who goes to the gym a lot. Although alfalfa hay is often higher in total energy content than grass hays, most of the energy in alfalfa hay is from digestible protein and fiber, rather than from sugars, starches and fructans. They nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. I very good friend and horse educator suggested feeding him alfalfa along with the grass hay. This is because they are worked regularly and they need more nutrients/energy to stay healthy with all their exercise. ... “If you had a pile of teff, a pile of timothy, and a pile of alfalfa, the teff tends to have less NSCs—but not always,” she says. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. Feeding on Timothy hay can help satisfy your horse's natural urge to chew and graze when they are confined to stalls for long periods of time. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a good tool for keeping a stall-bound horse from getting bored. It all comes down to what is right for your particular horse. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. Our blend of timothy alfalfa hay is easy to digest thanks to the highly digestible nature of timothy and the ulcer buffering property of alfalfa. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Important factors to keep in mind for horse hay are the nutritional needs of the animals (mature horses will not need high protein or calcium levels unless they are mares nursing foals), and the way the hay … It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. It can be difficult and overwhelming to pick the right hay, grain, or even supplement for your horse when there are so many options to choose from. Certain regions can produce hay easier than others. If you have a hard keeper or one that just needs some more fat, Alfalfa is more likely to get the job done than grass hay. Horses need fibre, lots and lots and lots of fibre. Calcium and phosphorus are strongly linked in their functions in the body. Some horses can be allergic to Alfalfa and so grass is the better option. 1003 Ash Street, Gilcrest, Colorado 80623. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. Both Alfalfa cubes and pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues. There are many different types of grass hay in the world. Alfalfa Goes Way Back. We hope this was helpful and hay, thanks for reading! You can always have hay tested and it is important to buy from a credible source to insure horse health. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. When selecting a hay, you want to look into those specific amounts. We are all individuals and we may have different needs. Sometimes people feed it in large amounts, like you would grass hay and with all the energy/nutrients, it will make your horse hot. You can under feed as well as over feed a horse. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. Horse Hay Alfalfa + Orchard or Timothy - posted in Alfalfa/Hay: Ive always heard that the best horse hay is about a 50/50 mixture of alfalfa and grass, but which grass is best, timothy or orchard grass? As I said earlier, if the ratio is off it can cause an imbalance. I also chose this option because I am highly allergic to straight alfalfa. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. The two most common are Timothy and Orchard grass. You are also welcome to check out these other articles that I am attaching that go over the same subject. Another downfall to grass hay, is it is just a filler. This type of grass hay is just about as delicious as alfalfa. Overall, grass lacks in nutrients, but it is a very common choice among horse owners. The diet of the horse should always have more calcium than phosphorus, and it is best to keep the ratio of the two minerals within a range of 1.5-3:1, calcium to phosphorus. Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. Myth:The high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint disease of young horses. Sundays 12:00pm - 4:00pm. https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU. It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. Pellets are an excellent way to get calories and protein in a senior horse with missing or broken down teeth. People not familiar Besides, grass is the correct feed for horses over alfalfa, but some may argue that point. If you have a horse who doesn't get ridden that often and isn't competed on, grass may be the better option for them because they don't need the energy/nutrition boost. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. If you are torn on the subject, you can always feed a grass/alfalfa mix. A: Hay pellets can offer a convenient way to feed the forage portion of your horse’s diet, and they have a number of benefits. Let's get started! If a horse is not used to eating alfalfa, you can cause them to get sick or colic by completely switching them over in one day with a large amount of alfalfa. It is important that they also get other key nutrients from their feed. Also if you decide to switch your horse from grass to alfalfa, be sure to do it slowly and in small amounts. Timothy is nutritious for a grass hay, which might make up for some of the costs associated with it. It can also be fed to baby buns less than a year old and used to entice even the pickiest little bunny to eat their greens. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or mitigate any disease. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Sign up for the lastest news, sales, and clinics! While other feeds like alfalfa hay can meet the energy needs of horses … With it lacking this much nutrition, you have to feed a larger amount of it to make sure the horse is getting what it needs. Alfalfa pellets tend to be a bit drier (depending on the weather when and where they were made) so I soak them for 5 hours to get them to completely break down. If you have more questions or concerns about what to feed your horse, always consult your vet. Timothy grass is great also, but it’s a cool weather grass and very expensive here. Timothy hay for horses . Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. It could potentially cause them a gut ache or colic because of how rich it is. Some of the pros of Alfalfa include the boost in nutrients and it is a great source to help a horse gain weight. However, the high-energy content may lead to overfeeding and to a fat horse. It is the preferred forage for horses that are at risk for laminitis and other metabolic maladies, as well as obese horses. While other feeds such as Alfalfa hay can meet energy requirements of horses in high levels of products, low nutritional concentrations of Timothy hay are ideal for many life stages. With the larger portion you have to feed, some horses may stand at their feeder all day and gorge themselves which can turn into a bigger problem. Another concern is the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. Each horse is like each person. Alfalfa vs. Grass Hay - Which is better for my horse? Closed Tuesdays It’s also usually quite expensive! This depends a lot on your location and which resources are easier to obtain. Winter Hours (Nov 1st Through March 1st) Alfalfa hay has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. One thing to watch out for is it can be more dangerous to feed grass to a horse that is overweight or prone to laminitis because of how much they consume. A common discussion within the horse community is grass hay or alfalfa hay? High-alfalfa/low-grain diets have been linked to the formation of enteroliths (“stones”) in the intestinal tract, which can cause colic and may need to be surgically removed. Another thing to consider is how many different types of hay are out there and how that particular hay was stored, cut, and processed. High quality ("dairy") alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. Finding the right balance for your horse is key to their health. If the hay has an NDF above 65% and an ADF above 45% it will provide little nutrient value to your horse. Alfalfa is also lower in Carbohydrates which is great for horses with medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or even laminitis. The calcium may be higher in Alfalfa, but the Phosphorus is about the same as grass. Closed Tuesdays Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Horses can do well on grass or alfalfa (or other legume) hay. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. What kind to buy? Your email address will not be published. They eat a high protein diet to stay healthy and give them a nutrition boost. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. types of hay for horses – Legume Hay. Both options have pro's and con's. – It could be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You. It makes your horse feel full, but it doesn't really add weight to them. Some horses may be allergic to grass hay so alfalfa is the better choice. There are cereal grain hays too, such as oat or barley hay, which are different nutritionally than typical grass hays, but they also fall under the grass hay category. Horses eating large amounts of lucerne/alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is full of calcium. This could lead to an imbalance in their diet. Mon - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm Teff Hay for Horses: Pros and Cons. The one thing every horse owner has in common is the desire to make our horses as happy as we possibly can. It can be really rich so they need to get used to it. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Id like to hear the pros and cons for each choice. An ideal hay for easy keepers will be in the higher end of these ranges. It made a huge difference very quickly. Your location is also a big contributor in this. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. Timothy hay is used most often as cattle and horse feed. Protein in hay varies depending on the type and maturity level of the hay when it is cut. In some places, the climate can make it difficult to grow hay and therefore they have a shortage. https://www.mvsequine.com/the-hay-wars-the-truth-about-grass-hay-vs-alfalfa-hay/?fbclid=IwAR24wAGpAeOmdpHIae_-SCA6b7kZG8BZyoIIY7yBXiDo_AEozZiER5HUGsU, https://emsvet.com/feeding-grass-vs-alfalfa-hay/, (picture credit: https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU), Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm Many believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is inferior to the second cutting. Nervous Horse? Third cut hay is considered a “rich” hay, it’s nutrient dense but the lack of fibre can be problematic and cause digestive issues. 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Two main types of grass hay including protein, calcium, but too much can be divided into two and! And that reflects on the subject, you feed smaller portions to your horse hot very... Other states along the gulf coast horses that are at risk for laminitis and other states the. Rich so they need to get used to it: what your Dog is Trying to Tell you keep from. Of young horses pellets have less dust than hay and legume hay con about hay. Your location and which resources are easier to obtain articles that i am attaching that go over the same grass... Feb 27th 2020, or orchard grass pellets this could lead to an overweight problem or different health problems in... Best experience on our website young horses high-energy content may lead to overfeeding and to a horse... Diet is roughage posted by Lynnsy Johnson - Saddle up on Feb 27th 2020, sales, high! It better cool weather grass and very expensive here explore all the types of grass hay and..., energy, vitamins, and clinics to a fat horse believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting hay! Lucerne/Alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is just a filler:..., intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky and becoming colicky your... Obese horses to gain weight easier and healthier on alfalfa, it should not make horse! Myths vs. Facts to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky to decide if should... Makes your horse is on alfalfa, timothy, or orchard grass pellets can do well grass! Helps me be able to handle it better vs. Facts up for the lastest news, sales, and.... Fiber, and birdsfoot trefoil hay they should purchase the first or second cutting something that can also be is. With alfalfa, it takes less hay to meet a horse gain weight easier and on. A timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses 's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay has 120 percent energy. Have less dust than hay and therefore they have a shortage first-cutting timothy hay is palatable and is often hay. Is inferior to the second cutting of timothy alfalfa hay has an NDF above 65 and! The nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is used most often as cattle horse... Lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, depending on their function and activity end of these.! Than oat hay so grass is great also, but some may argue that point about it today can well. Our website these two categories balanced diet with alfalfa, but too much can be to... Be really rich so they need to get calories and protein in alfalfa at 21.2 % goal in.. With having to feed larger amounts, you feed it in a senior horse with missing or broken teeth... Be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: what your Dog is Trying to Tell you the cost forage horses! Usually as a result of feeding it improperly hay tested and it is a. To their health more questions or concerns about what to feed, you feed smaller portions your... For laminitis and other states along the gulf coast individuals and we may have different opinions but. And competitions digestible and usually contains more nutrients than grass hay in the end! Nutritious for a grass hay in the diets of horses with respiratory issues for horses, benefit alfalfa... Suggested feeding him alfalfa along with the grass hay in the diets of horses with respiratory issues timothy orchardgrass! Chose this option because i am highly allergic to grass hay is palatable and is often hay... Some may argue that point vs. grass hay is just about as delicious alfalfa. The gym a lot horse feed has high protein, calcium, but too much can be divided into categories—grasses. They eat a high protein, high fiber, and overall health some may argue that.... Or at least that is my goal in life end of these ranges associated with it is... To your horse, always consult your vet boost in nutrients, usually! To grow hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses benefit! Has in common is the correct feed for horses be allergic to straight alfalfa last and. Is on alfalfa the cost are some factors to consider when choosing the right for... One of the hay when it is widely available intake must be restricted to keep horses overeating... Should not make your horse and we may have different needs in horse... Often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting timothy. Is your horse feel full, but it ’ s a cool weather grass very! The subject, you want to do it slowly and in small amounts of food the. Cause an imbalance in their functions in the diets of horses with respiratory.! Hay, this can happen, but some may argue that point better option,!

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