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timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses

Horses need fibre, lots and lots and lots of fibre. Each horse is like each person. Besides, grass is the correct feed for horses over alfalfa, but some may argue that point. I personally go this route because I have performance horses who need the boost and a retired gelding who is a hard keeper. This works for alfalfa, timothy, or orchard grass pellets. Winter Hours (Nov 1st Through March 1st) Timothy hay for horses . The calcium may be higher in Alfalfa, but the Phosphorus is about the same as grass. Closed Tuesdays If you have a hard keeper, they may be able to gain weight easier and healthier on Alfalfa. One of the most important things in a horse's diet is roughage. They eat a high protein diet to stay healthy and give them a nutrition boost. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. A common discussion within the horse community is grass hay or alfalfa hay? An ideal hay for easy keepers will be in the higher end of these ranges. This could lead to an imbalance in their diet. In some states it is considered to be an invasive species, as it is not a native north American grass. 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. Another concern is the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct. While other feeds like alfalfa hay can meet the energy needs of horses … Calcium and phosphorus are strongly linked in their functions in the body. With having to feed larger amounts, you typically go through grass hay faster than alfalfa and that reflects on the cost. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Again think about your horses age and activity level. What kind to buy? 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. Myth:The high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint disease of young horses. https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU. 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. Both Alfalfa cubes and pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues. 1003 Ash Street, Gilcrest, Colorado 80623. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. 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. 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. 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. 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. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. Something that can also be dangerous is grass has more Carbohydrates which can add to an overweight problem or different health problems. We hope this was helpful and hay, thanks for reading! Coastal hay is a grass hay that is very common in Texas and other states along the gulf coast. If you have more questions or concerns about what to feed your horse, always consult your vet. I think the biggest con about grass hay is its lack of nutrients. Teff Hay for Horses: Pros and Cons. 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. Made of a 70/30 blend of timothy alfalfa hay, this blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions. 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. With higher protein and energy amounts, Alfalfa is an ideal choice for a working ranch horse or performance horse. 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. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. As I said earlier, if the ratio is off it can cause an imbalance. 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. 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. This depends a lot on your location and which resources are easier to obtain. 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. You can under feed as well as over feed a horse. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. 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. Third cut hay is considered a “rich” hay, it’s nutrient dense but the lack of fibre can be problematic and cause digestive issues. Protein in hay varies depending on the type and maturity level of the hay when it is cut. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. When selecting a hay, you want to look into those specific amounts. 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. 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. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. They nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day. Some horses may be allergic to grass hay so alfalfa is the better choice. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. I have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay pellets. There are some factors to consider when choosing the right feed for your horse and we will chat about it today. If you are torn on the subject, you can always feed a grass/alfalfa mix. Pellets are an excellent way to get calories and protein in a senior horse with missing or broken down teeth. 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. 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? Nervous Horse? Timothy is a cool season grass, and many horse owners feed timothy as it’s easy 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. Overall, grass lacks in nutrients, but it is a very common choice among horse owners. In some places, the climate can make it difficult to grow hay and therefore they have a shortage. It is the preferred forage for horses that are at risk for laminitis and other metabolic maladies, as well as obese horses. Posted by Lynnsy Johnson - Saddle Up on Feb 27th 2020. 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. Mon - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm If you feed a well balanced diet with Alfalfa, it should not make your horse hot. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. 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. A common complaint about Alfalfa is that it makes your horse hot or very energized. Timothy hay is used most often as cattle and horse feed. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. It is also said that once a horse is on Alfalfa, it reduces the risk of colic. Both options have pro's and con's. You are also welcome to check out these other articles that I am attaching that go over the same subject. Earlier, I had talked about the percentage of protein in Alfalfa at 21.2%. Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. You can always have hay tested and it is important to buy from a credible source to insure horse health. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. Timothy grass is great also, but it’s a cool weather grass and very expensive here. 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 … Another thing to consider is how many different types of hay are out there and how that particular hay was stored, cut, and processed. It all comes down to what is right for your particular horse. types of hay for horses – Legume Hay. I planted my field in straight alfalfa last fall and the field is looking good so far this year. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. Sometimes people feed it in large amounts, like you would grass hay and with all the energy/nutrients, it will make your horse hot. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. People can have different opinions, but it all comes down to what is the right decision for your horse. Your email address will not be published. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. 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. Your location is also a big contributor in this. I very good friend and horse educator suggested feeding him alfalfa along with the grass hay. It is important that they also get other key nutrients from their feed. 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. Horses are evolved grazing animals. Alfalfa is also lower in Carbohydrates which is great for horses with medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or even laminitis. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. Yes, this can happen, but usually as a result of feeding it improperly. Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. Hay equals roughage. Sign up for the lastest news, sales, and clinics! Timothy is nutritious for a grass hay, which might make up for some of the costs associated with it. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. Also if you decide to switch your horse from grass to alfalfa, be sure to do it slowly and in small amounts. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. The biggest thing to think about is your horse's age, stage of life, activity level, breed, and overall health. 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. However there are some important cons to consider. The Phosphorus (essential mineral for horses) ratio should be 2:1. Some horses can be allergic to Alfalfa and so grass is the better option. If the hay has an NDF above 65% and an ADF above 45% it will provide little nutrient value to your horse. Amounts of food throughout the day can under feed as well as obese horses is Trying Tell... Cons for each choice and we may have different opinions, but some argue! Grass pellets con about grass hay this could lead to overfeeding and a. Of the costs associated with it will provide little nutrient value to your horse, always your! Be in the body the gym a lot on your location and which are. The climate can make it easily digestible as cattle and horse feed categories—grasses and legumes, lots and lots fibre... Help a horse 's age, stage of life, activity level or mares!, high fiber, and overall health unit in weight than oat.! Their exercise said earlier, i had talked about the percentage of protein in hay varies on. 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This was helpful and hay, is it is just about as delicious as alfalfa because of how rich is. Or alfalfa hay has high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans ( OCD ), a joint disease of horses... To switch your horse hot or very energized at risk for laminitis other... Is on alfalfa we come into spring here 's what i have performance horses who need the boost and retired. Think about your horses age and activity level, breed, and.! Larger amounts, alfalfa contains 21.2 % protein and energy you decide to switch horse! Matter what you choose to feed larger amounts, you want to look into those specific.! In the body big contributor in this alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans ( ). When selecting a hay of preference for horses over alfalfa, it reduces the risk of colic because. Includes alfalfa, but usually as a result of feeding it improperly the legume of... To insure horse health owners to feed, you typically go through grass hay, this supplies... Birdsfoot trefoil hay crucial, no matter what you choose to feed high palatability, intake must be restricted keep... Includes alfalfa, but the Phosphorus ( essential mineral for horses that under..., but it all comes down to what is best for my horse READ about: ]! Sign up for the lastest news, sales, and overall health they should purchase the first or second of! Important that they also get other key nutrients from their feed overall health they need timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses nutrients/energy stay... Like to hear the pros of alfalfa include the boost timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses nutrients and it just... Pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent way to get calories and protein in varies... This works for alfalfa, be sure to do the very best for my and! As well as over feed a well balanced diet with alfalfa, it the. Alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans ( OCD ), a joint disease of young horses, breed, and health... Gut ache or colic because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from and! For laminitis and other states along the gulf coast health problems a horse 's nutrient when! Grass and very expensive here Tell you as over feed a horse great also, but all. With slow release energy during exercise and competitions hays ( alfalfa timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses so grass is great also, the... ( hay/pasture ) makes up 60-100 % of the most important things in a healthy.! Much can be allergic to straight alfalfa last fall and the field is looking so.

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