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Horses

What is the best cut of hay for horses?

The most common choice of hay is second cutting, but first cutting is also good for horses, plus it is usually cheaper than the other two. Choose hay that is soft, green, and leafy, with thin stems, so it is easier for horses to eat.

Is alfalfa hay good for horses?

Benefits: Legumes are higher in protein and calcium than grass hay, and may also provide more energy and a higher level of total digestible nutrients, such as vitamin A. Alfalfa is very palatable to horses, so they tend to waste less of it compared to grass hay.

Should I Feed my horse legume or grass hay?

Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. A mixed bale (or feeding a flake from each type of bale) provides medium energy and protein counts, adds relatively high (compared with solely grass hay) calcium, and a more appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than straight alfalfa.

Why is first cutting hay better for your horse?

This is because it is lower in nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and is typically softer, greener and leafier. And first cutting hay may also have more digestible fiber than later season grasses due to the influence of cooler temperatures.

How to choose the best hay for horses?

If you want to make sure of its nutrition content, you can also arrange hay analysis. The most common choice of hay is second cutting, but first cutting is also good for horses, plus it is usually cheaper than the other two. Choose hay that is soft, green, and leafy, with thin stems, so it is easier for horses to eat.

What is the best alfalfa hay for horses?

Good alfalfa hay for horses should be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color. 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. Concentrated high levels of protein can lead to kidney stress.

Is legume hay better for horses than grass?

Ultimately, in terms of nutrition for the horse, legume hay or pasture tends to be more nutrient dense than grasses, because of the additional protein. Legumes also tend to have higher calcium concentration and slightly higher energy (calorie) content than grasses (see Table 1).

Should I Feed my horse alfalfa or grass hay?

Two of the most popular are Grass Hay (usually Timothy Grass or Orchard Grass) and Alfalfa Hay. And it is here that we enter into contentious territory. Sometimes it seems that horse people have as many opinions and feelings about feeding Grass versus feeding Alfalfa as there are horses in the world.

Why is immature Hay better for horses?

Immature hay is both more easily digested by, and more appetizing to, horses. This is because it is lower in nonstructural carbohydrates (sugars and starches) and is typically softer, greener and leafier. And first cutting hay may also have more digestible fiber than later season grasses due to the influence of cooler temperatures.

Is it better to cut hay first or second cutting?

Because maturity of the grass at harvest dictates nutritional value, a late second cutting could be lower in nutritional value, while an early first cutting could be higher. Additionally, hay that sits on the field too long once it has been cut, or that gets wet, can leach nutrition before it gets baled.

Is first cutting timothy hay better for horses?

Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. Many believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is inferior to the second cutting.

Why do horse owners prefer conventional bales of hay?

Commercial farmers turned their backs on conventional bales years ago, but horse owners generally prefer them because they’re easy to feed out, and you don’t need machinery to handle them. Horses are very fussy about their hay, and are likely to take it as a personal insult if their owners don’t deliver the good stuff. Neil Clarkson reports.

What is the difference between legumes and hay?

Grass type horse hays have a lower nutritional value than legumes, but are considered ‘safe’ hays, because it is harder for a horse to over eat or have a reaction to grass hay.

Should I Feed my Horse Grass hay?

The benefits of grass hay are that it cost less than legume hay, is high in fiber, and provides sufficient protein and energy for most horses, even those doing light work. Therefore, unless a horse is working hard, growing, or lactating, you should feed it grass hay.

What is the best type of hay for horses?

There are two primary types of horse hay: legume and grass. Alfalfa is the best variety of legume hay, and Orchard grass is the grass hay I recommend; however, Timothy, bermudagrass, bahiagrass, and Kentucky bluegrass are also excellent choices.

How much alfalfa should I Feed my horse?

In 17.5 pounds of alfalfa, you get 19.25 mega calories of digestible energy, 3.62 pounds of crude protein, and .24 pounds of calcium. Alfalfa clearly provides more than the daily recommended amounts for all three. So it would be best for your horse in this situation to cut back on the alfalfa and substitute grass hay. What is alfalfa?

Is alfalfa good for horses with liver problems?

You shouldn’t feed horses with liver or kidney problems high protein diets, including alfalfa. It’s is also not a good idea to feed endurance horses too much alfalfa. Alfalfa provides high protein levels, and when this metabolizes, it creates heat, which isn’t good for endurance horses.

What is the difference between legumes and grasses for horses?

There are important differences between legumes (legume hay) and grasses (grass hay) that directly affect which you might choose to feed your horse. Legumes are different from grasses and other plants because they form a symbiotic relationship with bacteria, rhizobia, in the nodules of their roots.

Is alfalfa hay or grass hay better for horses?

Grass Hays are generally lower in overall nutrition than alfalfa hay, but this makes grass hay ideal to meet the needs of filling a horse up and making them feel full, while still meeting their nutrient needs. While grass hay is lower in protein and calcium it is still a great source of feed for most horses.

Is legume hay good for horses?

Again, legume hay provides more than two times the protein required by some horses, though is still low for a growing horse. If protein intake from hay is not being met, one could simply provide more hay, a higher protein hay (some legume, if only grass hay is being offered) or offer another high-protein source such as soybean meal.

Why shouldn’t you feed your horse legumes?

Just by looking at the excellent nutritional quality of legumes, one might wonder why they shouldn’t feed their horses legume hay. Hay is the result of the cutting, drying and storage of long stem plants, such as various grass or legume species.

How to feed alfalfa to horses?

The best method to feed alfalfa to most horses is as a supplement with grass hay. Grass hay typically can’t meet the increased demand for horses’ energy when they are worked; this is especially true for racehorses, sport horses, and endurance horses.

Is alfalfa hay high in calcium?

Alfalfa Hay is also higher in Calcium, with about 3 times as much as Grass Hay. This can become important when considering the ideal Calcium:Phosphorus ratio for horses, which should be about 2:1.

What is immature Hay?

Immature hay is more easily digested by the horse (lower ADF percent) and more readily consumed (lower NDF percent), thus it is worth more to the horse owner. The maturity of the plant is not related to a particular cutting, but rather to the stage of maturity of the plant when cut. Figure 1.

Is grass hay or legume hay better for horses?

Although grass hay is generally lower in protein and energy and higher in fiber than legume hay, this is, in part, what makes it a good choice for many adult horses. It can satisfy the horse’s appetite and provide necessary roughage without excess calories and protein.