alfalfa hay for horses good or bad
Poor timing of harvest processes or bad harvesting conditions can render a good hay crop poor or unsafe for horses… Due to alfalfa's high protein content, excess protein will be burned as a fuel and the waste is eliminated in the urine as urea, which is convert- ed to ammonia. Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium. Learn how to control their diet while making sure they get all the nutrition they need. Alfalfa is most beneficial for horses with high energy needs due to their moderate to high level of exertion. It isnât a âperfectâ food, but alfalfa can be a good staple in the horseâs diet. 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. Hay needs air circulating to keep it healthy. It provides informa-tion on purchasing, storing, and feeding 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. It makes particular sense to introduce alfalfa hay gradually, because an abrupt switch from purely grass hay to alfalfa often seems to … Hay & haylage. Commonly fed legume hays are Alfalfa and clover. Cubed and pelleted alfalfa tends to be very high quality. Credit: asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg. Horses are designed to eat fiber. 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. If you choose to feed alfalfa always keep in mind that a little bit goes a long and don’t overfeed it. 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. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. 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. Horse hay comes in two forms: grass and legumes. The choice between alfalfa and oat hay depends on price per unit of energy or protein and the type of horse being fed. Grazing on an alfalfa pasture requires the same precautions as feeding alfalfa hay, plus some additional considerations. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. Legume hay is higher in protein and calcium than grass hay is. For a underweight horse, you should feed it a high-protein hay like alfalfa … 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. It has a bitter flavor which helps detoxify the body. 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. 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. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Alfalfa is rich in protein which is made up of the building blocks amino acids. 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! It contains, on average, only 7% sugar, which is less than what you would find in standard horse hay. Fiber is provided by roughage sources such as hay, chaff, pasture, and beet pulp. 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. 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, … Kentucky Equine Research (KER) recommends feeding at least 1% of a horse’s … Since this is where the bulk of the nutrition is, this can be a considerable loss. Here's why and what your horse really needs. Good alfalfa hay for horses should be leafy, with minimum stems and bright green in color. 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 say there's nothing better. Instilling good manners is the essential first step. Alfalfa is also a rich source of calcium. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. 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. In this case feed a slurry of complete pelleted feed and/or mashed alfalfa pellets. Most horses love this leafy, green hay. Alfalfa is prone to have more "fines" (broken, crumbled leaves that fall out when you open the bale). Concentrated high levels of protein can lead to kidney stress. Low NSC is common in alfalfa since legumes store carbohydrates as starch. If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, let me know by leaving a comment below. 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. A forage test will tell you. Hay Stacking. To order any of the products mentioned in this post or other products for you or your horses, please visit my online store. Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Any hay they get would have to be shipped in, so as you can see compressed cubes is alot cheaper and easier to ship. Feeding apple cider vinegar will help prevent stone formation if alfalfa is the only hay available. The increased concentration of protein in legume hay can greatly increase the energy for a … Alfalfa is also rich in vitamin k and bioflavanoids. According to Dr. Getty, "Oat hay is an excellent feed for horses. But with this said, I will go on to say that there are situations in which alfalfa hay is very good for horses. 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. Adequate mineral levels, in correct proportions, is the key.Myth: Alfalfa's high protein causes kidney problems.Fact: High protein is not harmful to the kidneys. Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. Tradition holds that timothy hay and oats are the best feeds for horses, and that alfalfa and corn spell disaster. 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. 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. The Downside Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. 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. Horses without teeth still want to chew on fiber. 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. The cause isn't entirely clear, but it may be related to alfalfa having more sugar in the form of glucose, and higher starch. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. Grasses have higher NSC levels because they store their carbohydrates as fructan. 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. Alfalfa hay will not meet all of the young horse’s nutrient requirements, however. Legume hay - ie, soybean hay, peanut hay, alfalfa, clover, pea, can all be good to excellent - they can also be poor to pathetic. In comparison, alfalfa hay generally has a ratio of 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Adequate fiber intake is vital for a healthy digestive tract in all horses. There are a few caveats, but the key is balance. Alfalfa is tasty to horses. Horses who are overweight and not in work can gain additional weight and develop behavior problems relating to excess energy. Prior to soaking, both alfalfa hays were below 10 percent NSC (Table 1). 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. 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. The ideal calcium to phosphorus ratio for a young horse is between 1.5 to 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Horse Nutrition: Alfalfa hay for horses is a very rich horse feed containing ample protein, beta carotene, chlorophyll and trace minerals. The major quality issue to be concerned with is overheating during processing, which will damage the protein. 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. 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. And unlimited access to such a highly palatable food as alfalfa may lead to significant weight gain. Alfalfa has a neutral thermal nature which means it does not create a heating or cooling effect in the body. For the horse who might have some respiratory sensitivities, fines can be mixed into a meal or wet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to actually be inhaled into the lungs. A good price on a product comes from 1. It isn't any healthier for them than it is for us. A good hay for a nervous horse would be grass hay, NOT alfalfa because alfalfa would get him even more jumpy. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. Horse Nutrition: The high levels of protein, calcium and simple sugars in alfalfa can be a disadvantage if it is not balanced out with less nutritious foods that contain phosphorous. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. Molds growing in the bales can cause respiratory tract symptoms, but the same molds can--and do--grow in any type of hay. There are a few caveats, but the key here is balance. 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 is quite delicious, and horse will readily eat it. What kind to buy? Bran mashes will not protect your horse's digestive health. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. The most productive and popular legume hay is Alfalfa as it is a highly nutritious and a high yield crop. The roots of the alfalfa plant can reach 100 feet into the ground so it can reach minerals that are absent in shallow soils. Alfalfa hay has been both heralded and maligned as a feed for horses. In fact, depending on when they were cut, they could be even higher. 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. This means that grass hay, not alfalfa hay, is a more dangerous food for an obese horse, or a horse with laminitis concerns. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. In fact, high starch or sugar diets are usually the culprits. the horses on kalua ranch in Hawaii are fed bags full of those cubes. It is now also possible to buy alfalfa haylage. Pellets and cubes should be green, not brown or black on the outside. 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