alfalfa hay for horses good or bad
As are peanuts, and all are members of the pea family. Hi-Fi Lite combines alfalfa and high-quality soft straw with a light molasses coating. 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. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. Kentucky Equine Research (KER) recommends feeding at least 1% of a horse’s … It contains, on average, only 7% sugar, which is less than what you would find in standard horse hay. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Alfalfa buffers stomach acid for up to 6 hours after it is consumed which makes it an ideal horse feed for working horses subject to stomach ulcers. According to Dr. Getty, "Oat hay is an excellent feed for horses. But then I come here, and see folks suggesting alfalfa pellets or cubes for forage, and the like. It provides informa-tion on purchasing, storing, and feeding But with this said, I will go on to say that there are situations in which alfalfa hay is very good for horses. Inferior Product 2. Concentrated high levels of protein can lead to kidney stress. Because of its taste appeal, higher digestibility, and the fact it is easier to chew, it is often a valuable addition to the diet of sick horses or senior horses. But alfalfa also isn’t for every horse—when making a decision about whether to incorporate alfalfa into your feeding program, it’s important … The cause isn't entirely clear, but it may be related to alfalfa having more sugar in the form of glucose, and higher starch. There are a few caveats, but the key is balance. 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. The high levels of calcium in alfalfa make it a valuable horse feed for mares in late pregnancy and early lactation. Instilling good manners is the essential first step. Most adult horses seem to tolerate this, but it's not ideal for pregnant mares and growing horses. You can also find me on Facebook where I always appreciate a LIKE. Having an alfalfa-grass mixed pasture may not help much because there's a good chance that the horses will seek out and eat the alfalfa first, exclusively. The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a young horse is between 1.5 to 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Pregnant and lactating mares benefit from being fed an alfalfa/Timothy mix- it helps them make milk, and it gives the developing foal the calcium and phosphorous that it needs. Since this is where the bulk of the nutrition is, this can be a considerable loss. Understanding the kinds of carbohydrates your horse is eating will help you select a right carb diet for him. Give a horse the opportunity to choose among flakes of all-grass hay, grass-alfalfa mix, and all-alfalfa, chances are he will chow down the alfalfa flake first. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. Older horses with bad teeth can benefit from these enzymes even if they just mouth the hay but don’t actually swallow it. Alfalfa is most beneficial for horses with high energy needs due to their moderate to high level of exertion. The choice between alfalfa and oat hay depends on price per unit of energy or protein and the type of horse being fed. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. A horse ranging freely in search of food consumes nutrients such as carbohydrates and fats in a very diluted form because grasses and other plants are at least 75 percent water. We don?t really know exactly why, but research bears this. Molds growing in the bales can cause respiratory tract symptoms, but the same molds can--and do--grow in any type of hay. Horses have evolved to handle a wide variety of vegetation in their diet, but with a few key differences between the feral horse and the domesticated horse. It isnât a âperfectâ food, but alfalfa can be a good staple in the horseâs diet. It has a bitter flavor which helps detoxify the body. 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." The Downside Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. Horses will drink more, leading to wetter and smellier stalls. Some say there's nothing better. Credit: asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg. Good alfalfa hay for horses should be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color. For horses, alfalfa and clover are the two legume hays that are most commonly fed. Horses who are overweight and not in work can gain additional weight and develop behavior problems relating to excess energy. Madalyn. What kind to buy? What's true, though, is that the very unbalanced mineral profile in alfalfa could contribute to OCD.Myth: The high calcium in alfalfa can prevent OCD and other bone problems in developing horses.Fact: Calcium is important to developing bone, but so is phosphorus, magnesium, protein, and the trace minerals. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. Bran mashes will not protect your horse's digestive health. For more information about Holistic Horse care check out Holistic Horsekeeping, This is a little blog about my move to Fischer, Texas, the horses, and other miscellaneous personal stuff that I don't normally get the share in my newsletters. Alfalfa is also a rich source of calcium. Let's look at the pros and cons of alfalfa, and explore some of the myths. evidently the grass isnt any good … and good roughage value.Well-preserved alfalfa hay should be the foundation of a feeding program for young growing horses, recreational horses, and active horses.This publica-tion describes the horse’s digestive system and nutritional needs and how to select alfalfa hay. Alfalfa hay will not meet all of the young horse’s nutrient requirements, however. If you ask most horses they will tell you that alfalfa is a wonderful horse feed. The high calcium content of alfalfa causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio if not corrected by other feeds or supplements. 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. It makes particular sense to introduce alfalfa hay gradually, because an abrupt switch from purely grass hay to alfalfa often seems to … Tradition holds that timothy hay and oats are the best feeds for horses, and that alfalfa and corn spell disaster. Alfalfa and… In fact, depending on when they were cut, they could be even higher. Good quality alfalfa hay is one of the most palatable and digestible forage sources that can be offered to any class of horse. There are many areas of the country where alfalfa is more readily available than grass hays and very reasonably priced. Alfalfa can be trickier to cure and bale than grass hays. If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, let me know by leaving a comment below. There are a few caveats, but the key here is balance. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. © 2020 by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., an Active Interest Media company. Alfalfa is a Source of Quality Protein Protein has historically been thought to be the cause of all evil in horses, but research has shown that this is not the case. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. However, extra protein is metabolized to ammonia, which must be excreted by the kidneys. Rather, low protein is a risk factor for OCD. Protein, on the other hand, is an inefficient source of energy for horses. Veterinarians recommend adding some long stemmed soft leafy alfalfa hay to the horse's diet. Keep in mind that alfalfa usually has more energy per equal weight of a grass or mixed (grass/legume) hay. 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. Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium. Store it with string side on the vertical to … It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. To order any of the products mentioned in this post or other products for you or your horses, please visit my online store. Fresh alfalfa hay contains enzymes which help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The difference between good hay and poor hay is often in the harvesting. Rice bran or wheat bran confer few health benefits for horses and carry some risks. Alfalfa is also affordable in most areas. It is now also possible to buy alfalfa haylage. Prior to soaking, both alfalfa hays were below 10 percent NSC (Table 1). Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. A forage test will tell you. This is counter intuitive for most horse people, but is certainly something to keep in mind in regards to your horse. Horses with high energy requirements can eat enough alfalfa to meet both energy and fiber requirements. If you use alfalfa as your sole hay type, just be sure to get advice from a nutrition professional on how to properly balance your feeding program. THREE BENEFITS OF FEEDING ALFALFA TO HORSES: Alfalfa is a high protein forage, so it makes an excellent supplement for horses that are protein deficient or for horses that have higher protein ... Alfalfa is nutritionally dense. Myth: The high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint disease of young horses.Fact: High protein does not cause OCD. 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 … Some Advantages Horses love it! Any hay they get would have to be shipped in, so as you can see compressed cubes is alot cheaper and easier to ship. Thus, this hay didn’t need soaking for horses with PSSM and laminitis. Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. Ignorant Seller 3. If you choose to feed alfalfa always keep in mind that a little bit goes a long and don’t overfeed it. Pellets and cubes should be green, not brown or black on the outside. And unlimited access to such a highly palatable food as alfalfa may lead to significant weight gain. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. Good-quality alfalfa hay is appropriate for weanlings, yearlings, and other young horses. Hay & haylage. Here's why and what your horse really needs. Alfalfa is not a good feed for growing horses as it will allow them to grow too rapidly and bone development can be affected by the imbalance of calcium and phosphorous. Alfalfa dries excess dampness in the body. There are many horses who need extra calcium or protein in their diets, and alfalfa is an excellent natural source of those nutrients. Not the Perfect Food, but … In summary, while alfalfa isn't a complete, "whole" food for horses, it doesn't have to be avoided either-if you make it a point to balance your horse's diet so he's getting everything he needs in the right amounts. the horses on kalua ranch in Hawaii are fed bags full of those cubes. A good hay for a nervous horse would be grass hay, NOT alfalfa because alfalfa would get him even more jumpy. Low NSC is common in alfalfa since legumes store carbohydrates as starch. Adequate fiber intake is vital for a healthy digestive tract in all horses. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. Poor timing of harvest processes or bad harvesting conditions can render a good hay crop poor or unsafe for horses… The most productive and popular legume hay is Alfalfa as it is a highly nutritious and a high yield crop. I hope you enjoy these often humorous posts as I explore the journey of moving out to the country and will post replies and share your own experiences! No argument there. Learn how to control their diet while making sure they get all the nutrition they need. In fact, high starch or sugar diets are usually the culprits. Feeding your horse a high-protein diet may not be the right way to go for increased performance. Okay, so call me clueless or just brainwashed or somethin ( ), but I grew up ALWAYS with the impression that alfalfa, straight alfalfa, is not good for most easy-keeper, in moderate work horses.That it was ONLY for high-octane, performance, worked 7 days a week horses. Fact: Grass hays can be high in potassium too. 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. Many horse owners advise that Alfalfa hay is the best kind of hay to feed a horse. Alfalfa is tasty to horses. Desperate Seller 4. Horse Nutrition: Alfalfa hay for horses supports a healthy intestine and removes excess acids from the blood. This can cause "thumps" or muscular problems in horses working hard, or weakness and muscular problems in mares when they first start to produce milk. I talk about why Alfalfa Hay is good for horses. 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. Horse hay comes in two forms: grass and legumes. You can motivate your horse and keep your fingers intact by following the equine research foundation's positive reinforcement methods. Molds growing in the bales can cause respiratory tract symptoms, but the same molds can--and do--grow in any type of hay.Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium.Fact: Grass hays can be high in potassium too. 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. In comparison, alfalfa hay generally has a ratio of 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Others view it as a kind of poison. Fiber is provided by roughage sources such as hay, chaff, pasture, and beet pulp. Horse Nutrition: Alfalfa hay for horses is a very rich horse feed containing ample protein, beta carotene, chlorophyll and trace minerals. Although haylage can have a higher nutritional value than hay, if good quality hay is in short supply it is better to feed haylage, and make sure your horse is getting enough forage in their diet, rather than providing a lesser amount of hay. 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. Alfalfa, and clover hay for that matter, are both legumes. 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