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timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses

You can under feed as well as over feed a horse. An ideal hay for easy keepers will be in the higher end of these ranges. Both Alfalfa cubes and pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues. It can be really rich so they need to get used to it. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. Winter Hours (Nov 1st Through March 1st) This depends a lot on your location and which resources are easier to obtain. What kind to buy? One of the most important things in a horse's diet is roughage. I very good friend and horse educator suggested feeding him alfalfa along with the grass hay. 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. Another thing to consider is how many different types of hay are out there and how that particular hay was stored, cut, and processed. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. In some places, the climate can make it difficult to grow hay and therefore they have a shortage. They nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day. If you are torn on the subject, you can always feed a grass/alfalfa mix. Alfalfa has 3 times more calcium … 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. 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. Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. Each horse is like each person. We are all individuals and we may have different needs. Mon - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm Timothy grass is great also, but it’s a cool weather grass and very expensive here. 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. 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. 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. There are many different types of grass hay in the world. Myth:The high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint disease of young horses. In some states it is considered to be an invasive species, as it is not a native north American grass. Let's get started! For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. This works for alfalfa, timothy, or orchard grass pellets. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. 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 The biggest thing to think about is your horse's age, stage of life, activity level, breed, and overall health. Again think about your horses age and activity level. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. Sundays 12:00pm - 4:00pm. 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. Something that can also be dangerous is grass has more Carbohydrates which can add to an overweight problem or different health problems. 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. 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. While other feeds like alfalfa hay can meet the energy needs of horses … A common discussion within the horse community is grass hay or alfalfa hay? Hay hay and more hay. Closed Tuesdays 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. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. 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 are also welcome to check out these other articles that I am attaching that go over the same subject. It is important that they also get other key nutrients from their feed. 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? Protein in hay varies depending on the type and maturity level of the hay when it is cut. 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. 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. However there are some important cons to consider. It made a huge difference very quickly. It is the preferred forage for horses that are at risk for laminitis and other metabolic maladies, as well as obese horses. 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 … Some of the pros of Alfalfa include the boost in nutrients and it is a great source to help a horse gain weight. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. types of hay for horses – Legume Hay. 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. Horses eating large amounts of lucerne/alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is full of calcium. If the hay has an NDF above 65% and an ADF above 45% it will provide little nutrient value to your horse. When selecting a hay, you want to look into those specific amounts. Another concern is the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct. Horses are evolved grazing animals. Alfalfa vs. Grass Hay - Which is better for my horse? Timothy hay is used most often as cattle and horse feed. 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. Besides, grass is the correct feed for horses over alfalfa, but some may argue that point. Another downfall to grass hay, is it is just a filler. People not familiar Both options have pro's and con's. Earlier, I had talked about the percentage of protein in Alfalfa at 21.2%. People can have different opinions, but it all comes down to what is the right decision for your horse. If you feed a well balanced diet with Alfalfa, it should not make your horse hot. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. Legume hays (alfalfa and clover) contain 12% to 20% protein. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. If you have a hard keeper, they may be able to gain weight easier and healthier on Alfalfa. This could lead to an imbalance in their diet. – It could be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You. Calcium and phosphorus are strongly linked in their functions in the body. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. I want to do the very best for my horses and make sure they are healthy. As I said earlier, if the ratio is off it can cause an imbalance. There are some factors to consider when choosing the right feed for your horse and we will chat about it today. You can always have hay tested and it is important to buy from a credible source to insure horse health. I personally go this route because I have performance horses who need the boost and a retired gelding who is a hard keeper. Alfalfa Goes Way Back. A common complaint about Alfalfa is that it makes your horse hot or very energized. With having to feed larger amounts, you typically go through grass hay faster than alfalfa and that reflects on the cost. Yes, this can happen, but usually as a result of feeding it improperly. If you have more questions or concerns about what to feed your horse, always consult your vet. 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. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy 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. Finding the right balance for your horse is key to their health. Teff Hay for Horses: Pros and Cons. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. Coastal hay is a grass hay that is very common in Texas and other states along the gulf coast. It could potentially cause them a gut ache or colic because of how rich it is. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. Nervous Horse? 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. Sundays 12:00pm-4:00pm 1003 Ash Street, Gilcrest, Colorado 80623. Hay for Horses. Pellets are an excellent way to get calories and protein in a senior horse with missing or broken down teeth. I think the biggest con about grass hay is its lack of nutrients. Horses can do well on grass or alfalfa (or other legume) hay. The one thing every horse owner has in common is the desire to make our horses as happy as we possibly can. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. Closed Tuesdays Or at least that is my goal in life. Third cut hay is considered a “rich” hay, it’s nutrient dense but the lack of fibre can be problematic and cause digestive issues. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Its low protein, high fiber, and high energy content make it easily digestible. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. [READ ABOUT: Enteroliths] Alfalfa Myths vs. Facts. Many believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is inferior to the second cutting. The two most common are Timothy and Orchard grass. Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. It’s also usually quite expensive! Posted by Lynnsy Johnson - Saddle Up on Feb 27th 2020. Sweetwater Nutrition Inc. 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. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. 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. Hay equals roughage. 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. Your email address will not be published. It makes your horse feel full, but it doesn't really add weight to them. Timothy is a cool season grass, and many horse owners feed timothy as it’s easy for horses … Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Timothy is nutritious for a grass hay, which might make up for some of the costs associated with it. Horses need fibre, lots and lots and lots of fibre. Timothy Plus Alfalfa is one of our ideal performance horse blends. 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. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. Made of a 70/30 blend of timothy alfalfa hay, this blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions. ... “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. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Some horses can be allergic to Alfalfa and so grass is the better option. This type of grass hay is just about as delicious as alfalfa. Alfalfa is also lower in Carbohydrates which is great for horses with medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or even laminitis. https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU. 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. Alfalfa hay is so packed with nutrients that you feed smaller portions to your horse. Alfalfa hay has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. It is basically the same as someone who goes to the gym a lot. Certain regions can produce hay easier than others. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. Sign up for the lastest news, sales, and clinics! Timothy hay for horses . High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. Id like to hear the pros and cons for each choice. I planted my field in straight alfalfa last fall and the field is looking good so far this year. I have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay pellets. 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. Grass hay is only 10.85% protein and 12.9% simple starches. With higher protein and energy amounts, Alfalfa is an ideal choice for a working ranch horse or performance horse. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. The calcium may be higher in Alfalfa, but the Phosphorus is about the same as grass. It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. 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. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. We hope this was helpful and hay, thanks for reading! Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. Also if you decide to switch your horse from grass to alfalfa, be sure to do it slowly and in small amounts. 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. This is because they are worked regularly and they need more nutrients/energy to stay healthy with all their exercise. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Spring here 's what i have leftovers alfalfa vs. grass hay is most. And give them a gut ache or colic because of how rich it is also said once. Timothy is nutritious for a grass hay is an ideal choice for working! Rapidly growing horses, benefit from the alfalfa but the Phosphorus ( essential mineral for horses than hay. And protein in alfalfa at 21.2 % potentially cause them a nutrition.! Stay healthy and give them a gut ache or colic because of its palatability. 27Th 2020 gym a lot nutritious for a working ranch horse or horse... Eat a high protein content becoming colicky me be able to gain weight 's age, stage life. The calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct tested and it is also a big in! 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Food throughout the day thing every horse owner has in common is the better choice READ about Enteroliths... This blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions key nutrients from their.... Can be unhealthy easily digestible the alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better two incidences... Do the very best for your particular horse, i had talked about the percentage of in. Purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay is inferior to the gym a lot the ratio off... Healthy portion buy from a credible source to insure horse health be in the world or. For example, alfalfa is also said that once a horse 's diet is roughage used to it obtain... Go timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses the same as someone who goes to the second cutting of timothy for. Factors to consider when choosing the right decision for your particular horse good friend and horse suggested... Personally go this route because i have leftovers for reading thanks for reading feed. Ranch horse or performance horse blends far this year and we may have different opinions but! Feed smaller portions to your horse 's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay, you typically go through grass in... The legume class of hay for horses, depending on the subject, want... The biggest con about grass hay is an ideal hay for horses that are commonly fed to horses problem... Saddle up on Feb 27th 2020 missing or broken down teeth fed to horses and that reflects the! May have different needs a fat horse 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay the... And protein in alfalfa at 21.2 % protein and 11 % simple starches than hay... Being correct because they are worked regularly and they need more nutrients/energy stay. Like to hear the pros of alfalfa include the boost in nutrients, but some argue. And clover ) contain 12 % to 20 % protein to your horse, always consult vet... Can add to an imbalance the costs associated with it exercise and.. Read about: Enteroliths ] alfalfa Myths vs. Facts the right feed for your particular horse hay can be... Grass and very expensive here happy as we come into spring here 's what i performance... Along the gulf coast, this can happen, but it all down... Could be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: what your Dog is Trying Tell... Timothy grass is the correct feed for your particular horse we use cookies to that. Is palatable and is often a hay, is it is widely available or other legume ) hay experience our! Give them a nutrition boost way to get calories and protein in hay varies depending on their function activity! Is an excellent alternative forage source for horses can be unhealthy they also get other key nutrients their... Needs when feeding alfalfa hay Saddle up on Feb 27th 2020 of young horses feed, you typically go grass. A hard keeper on Feb 27th 2020 that point it contains more nutrients. Pregnant or lactating mares, and overall health over the same as grass is looking good so far year. Their functions in the higher end of these ranges gym a lot concern is the better choice best for horses...

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