Legume hays for horses - alfalfa and clover. While alfalfa is an excellent source of calcium, it generally falls short when it comes to phosphorus. When making seasonal adjustments to your horse's diet, you'll need to give his digestive tract time to adapt. The roots of the alfalfa plant can reach 100 feet into the ground so it can reach minerals that are absent in shallow soils. According to Dr. Getty, "Oat hay is an excellent feed for horses. Since this is where the bulk of the nutrition is, this can be a considerable loss. Alfalfa is prone to have more "fines" (broken, crumbled leaves that fall out when you open the bale). 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 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. Horse hay comes in two forms: grass and legumes. Molds growing in the bales can cause respiratory tract symptoms, but the same molds can--and do--grow in any type of hay. Others view it as a kind of poison. Keep in mind that alfalfa usually has more energy per equal weight of a grass or mixed (grass/legume) hay. evidently the grass isnt any good … 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. But with this said, I will go on to say that there are situations in which alfalfa hay is very good for horses. It provides informa-tion on purchasing, storing, and feeding Kentucky Equine Research (KER) recommends feeding at least 1% of a horse’s … Supply fiber in the diet of all older horses, as soft hay or even beet pulp, an excellent fiber and energy source. 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. Horse Nutrition: Alfalfa hay for horses supports a healthy intestine and removes excess acids from the blood. Fresh alfalfa hay is the best to use as a horse feed. Older horses with bad teeth can benefit from these enzymes even if they just mouth the hay but don’t actually swallow it. There are a few caveats, but the key here is balance. Alfalfa is also affordable in most areas. And unlimited access to such a highly palatable food as alfalfa may lead to significant weight gain. Rice bran or wheat bran confer few health benefits for horses and carry some risks. Veterinarians recommend adding some long stemmed soft leafy alfalfa hay to the horse's diet. Prior to soaking, both alfalfa hays were below 10 percent NSC (Table 1). Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. 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. 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. 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. Grasses have higher NSC levels because they store their carbohydrates as fructan. Alfalfa hay will not meet all of the young horse’s nutrient requirements, however. A forage test will tell you. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. 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. Legume hay - ie, soybean hay, peanut hay, alfalfa, clover, pea, can all be good to excellent - they can also be poor to pathetic. This higher content of protein and calcium can come with problems. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Myth: Alfalfa cannot be fed to HYPP horses because of the high potassium. While the lower relative nutrition level of grass hay makes it a good filler, it does have relatively more carbohydrates. Alfalfa and… Good-quality alfalfa hay is appropriate for weanlings, yearlings, and other young horses. There are many horses who need extra calcium or protein in their diets, and alfalfa is an excellent natural source of those nutrients. Some say there's nothing better. Thus, this hay didn’t need soaking for horses with PSSM and laminitis. Alfalfa is rich in protein which is made up of the building blocks amino acids. 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. Horses become overweight for the same reason we do—they eat more calories than they burn. Horse Nutrition: Pros of alfalfa as a horse feed, Contains enzymes which aid in assimilation of protein, fats and carbohydrates, High in calcium, beta carotene, chlorophyll, vitamins and trace minerals, Horse Nutrition: Cons of alfalfa as a horse feed, Excess energy content and mineral imbalance not good for growing horses, Enterolith formation in the intestines of some horses, Overall the pros of alfalfa as a horse feed out weigh the disadvantages but its high nutrient content makes if unsuitable for most non working horses. Understanding the kinds of carbohydrates your horse is eating will help you select a right carb diet for him. In this case feed a slurry of complete pelleted feed and/or mashed alfalfa pellets. Fresh alfalfa hay contains enzymes which help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. 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. The difference between good hay and poor hay is often in the harvesting. 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. Most adult horses seem to tolerate this, but it's not ideal for pregnant mares and growing horses. the horses on kalua ranch in Hawaii are fed bags full of those cubes. This is counter intuitive for most horse people, but is certainly something to keep in mind in regards to your horse. There are many areas of the country where alfalfa is more readily available than grass hays and very reasonably priced. Horses without teeth still want to chew on fiber. Therefore, less alfalfa hay may be fed to meet energy requirements. 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. It contains, on average, only 7% sugar, which is less than what you would find in standard horse hay. Fact: Grass hays can be high in potassium too. Some Advantages Horses love it! © 2020 by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc., an Active Interest Media company. 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." Horses with high energy requirements can eat enough alfalfa to meet both energy and fiber requirements. But then I come here, and see folks suggesting alfalfa pellets or cubes for forage, and the like. 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 … Alfalfa is quite delicious, and horse will readily eat it. Bran mashes will not protect your horse's digestive health. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Hay & haylage. Pellets and cubes should be green, not brown or black on the outside. But alfalfa also isn’t for every horse—when making a decision about whether to incorporate alfalfa into your feeding program, it’s important … It is harvested before it becomes too mature so that the cubes and pellets hold together well. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. It isn't any healthier for them than it is for us. Let's look at the pros and cons of alfalfa, and explore some of the myths. The Downside Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. 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. In comparison, alfalfa hay generally has a ratio of 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. I talk about why Alfalfa Hay is good for horses. To order any of the products mentioned in this post or other  products for you or your horses, please visit my online store. Protein, on the other hand, is an inefficient source of energy for horses. However, extra protein is metabolized to ammonia, which must be excreted by the kidneys. The high calcium also causes hormonal shifts that make it difficult for the horse to rapidly mobilize calcium from bone stores in times of need. Inferior Product 2. It makes particular sense to introduce alfalfa hay gradually, because an abrupt switch from purely grass hay to alfalfa often seems to … 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. A good price on a product comes from 1. Basically just dumped out in a 20 or 30 foot long trough. You can also find me on Facebook where I always appreciate a LIKE. Credit: asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg asset_upload_file377_6647.jpg. 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. 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