This means that grass hay, not alfalfa hay, is a more dangerous food for an obese horse, or a horse with laminitis concerns. As Hi-Fi Lite is so low in sugar it is particularly suitable for horses and ponies that require a low sugar ration and those prone to laminitis. Therefore, less alfalfa hay may be fed to meet energy requirements. Poor timing of harvest processes or bad harvesting conditions can render a good hay crop poor or unsafe for horses… To handle this extra demand, the horse will drink more water and make more urine.Myth: Alfalfa's high protein makes a horse "hot. The Downside Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. Horses will drink more, leading to wetter and smellier stalls. There are many horses who need extra calcium or protein in their diets, and alfalfa is an excellent natural source of those nutrients. The high calcium content of alfalfa causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio if not corrected by other feeds or supplements. Alfalfa is most beneficial for horses with high energy needs due to their moderate to high level of exertion. alfalfa hay, also known as lucerne hay, which is a nutrient-packed legume hay with a high protein content, suitable for poor-doers, youngstock and horses in hard work TOP TIP Legumes are different from grasses in that they contain productive bacteria in … If you ask most horses they will tell you that alfalfa is a wonderful horse feed. Common grass hay includes orchard grass, timothy and coastal Bermuda, less common are bromegrass and fescue. For a underweight horse, you should feed it a high-protein hay like alfalfa … Switching hay type abruptly may be risky for horses with a history of colic, so it's smart to gradually mix in the new hay with the old over a couple of weeks. Adequate fiber intake is vital for a healthy digestive tract in all horses. Hay needs air circulating to keep it healthy. Any hay they get would have to be shipped in, so as you can see compressed cubes is alot cheaper and easier to ship. A forage test will tell you. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. While the lower relative nutrition level of grass hay makes it a good filler, it does have relatively more carbohydrates. Alfalfa can be trickier to cure and bale than grass hays. Credit: asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Veterinarians recommend adding some long stemmed soft leafy alfalfa hay to the horse's diet. Alfalfa is prone to have more "fines" (broken, crumbled leaves that fall out when you open the bale). You can also find me on Facebook where I always appreciate a LIKE. Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. Ignorant Seller 3. Alfalfa and… Rather, low protein is a risk factor for OCD. What kind to buy? The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a young horse is between 1.5 to 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. This is counter intuitive for most horse people, but is certainly something to keep in mind in regards to your horse. Alfalfa dries excess dampness in the body. the horses on kalua ranch in Hawaii are fed bags full of those cubes. Most horses love this leafy, green hay. Legume hay - ie, soybean hay, peanut hay, alfalfa, clover, pea, can all be good to excellent - they can also be poor to pathetic. We don?t really know exactly why, but research bears this. Supply fiber in the diet of all older horses, as soft hay or even beet pulp, an excellent fiber and energy source. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. Poor quality alfalfa may be used for pellets and any pelleting will destroy much of the whole food value of alfalfa while maintaining the high protein levels. A good hay for a nervous horse would be grass hay, NOT alfalfa because alfalfa would get him even more jumpy. A study conducted at Cornell University showed that when given a choice, horses preferred untreated alfalfa to alfalfa that was treated with a mixture of propionic and acetic acid. Pellets and cubes should be green, not brown or black on the outside. This is not good for easy keepers, as you exceed their energy requirement while trying to meet their fiber requirement, which leads to fat or hot horses. Madalyn, Holistic Horse Care: How to Deal With the “No Drug” Rules for Horse Shows, Horseman’s Health: Digestive Help for the Holidays, Holistic Horsekeeping Newsletter December 2020, Horseman’s Wealth: Don’t Give Up on your Dream. Since this is where the bulk of the nutrition is, this can be a considerable loss. Others view it as a kind of poison. There are many areas of the country where alfalfa is more readily available than grass hays and very reasonably priced. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. I mention that US Davis, a leading Vet School is a fan of Alfalfa so I put a link to their PDF about horse nutrition. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. Alfalfa is also affordable in most areas. Alfalfa, and clover hay for that matter, are both legumes. Alfalfa hay has been both heralded and maligned as a feed for horses. It needs a low enough moisture level so that it doesn't mold, without being put up so dry that all its leaves shatter and fall off. Good quality alfalfa hay is one of the most palatable and digestible forage sources that can be offered to any class of horse. But then I come here, and see folks suggesting alfalfa pellets or cubes for forage, and the like. In fact, depending on when they were cut, they could be even higher. And unlimited access to such a highly palatable food as alfalfa may lead to significant weight gain. Alfalfa is tasty to horses. It is harvested before it becomes too mature so that the cubes and pellets hold together well. The difference between good hay and poor hay is often in the harvesting. Alfalfa is a good source of nutrients for sport horses, but owners might want to avoid offering it when horses are working hard in hot weather, … As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. When making seasonal adjustments to your horse's diet, you'll need to give his digestive tract time to adapt. It isn't any healthier for them than it is for us. Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. The choice between alfalfa and oat hay depends on price per unit of energy or protein and the type of horse being fed. Experts in horse nutrition recognize alfalfa as a high protein, mineral rich forage but few look at the energetic properties of this hay for horses. Depending on the area of the country in which it is grown, oat hay can be low in protein and contain only marginal calcium, phosphorus and carotene." Horses are designed to eat fiber. 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. Kentucky Equine Research (KER) recommends feeding at least 1% of a horse’s … For example, digestive upsets may be an even bigger problem, especially in the spring and fall when wide temperature swings can lead to rapid changes in the composition of the plant. Horse Nutrition: Alfalfa hay for horses supports a healthy intestine and removes excess acids from the blood. Alfalfa is rich in protein which is made up of the building blocks amino acids. It is now also possible to buy alfalfa haylage. But with this said, I will go on to say that there are situations in which alfalfa hay is very good for horses. However, extra protein is metabolized to ammonia, which must be excreted by the kidneys. Horses with high energy requirements can eat enough alfalfa to meet both energy and fiber requirements. No argument there. Clinical measures of the horses' wellbeing were not affected by consumption of preservative-treated hay, indicating that the hay had no negative effects on the horses. Fact: Alfalfa is no more likely to cause an allergic reaction than any other type of hay. When an alfalfa crop is properly cared for, baled, and stored, the high leaf to stem ratio can provide a very high quality forage product. 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