As for my horse, I have started feeding him alfalfa/timothy cubes as part of his forage ration. In fact, retired horses and those in light work may do fine on a hay- or pasture-only diet. Horse owners are or should be concerned about the presence of mold in the hay they are feeding regardless of what type of hay it is. Grain is also too rich and should be fed in small quantities. Your horse will never … Alfalfa hay generally runs at least 18-20% protein, often higher. A high-fat commercial feed is fine for healthy horses. I thought that was far-fetched, but it brought me to wondering what benefits feeding straight oats had. LMF California Complete is a pelleted feed that consists of beet pulp, alfalfa hay and other highly digestible fiber sources along with rice bran, oats and a complete vitamin and mineral package. Feeding a surplus of energy to young horses, especially weanlings, can often lead to growth problems, including contracted tendons. Feeding alfalfa alongside a traditional stud mix or cube encourages more chewing and therefore better digestion of the feed. 1/4 alfalfa/hay or 1/2 alfalfa/hay mix is best if your horse is a hard keeper. Horses on straight alfalfa also have the highest requirements for water to process metabolites of the extra protein through their urine. Traditional feeds for horses include grass or alfalfa hay, corn, oats, a sweet feed of some type or commercially developed feed. However, as a general rule, the preferred feed for particularly idle or light work horses is grass hay and/or grass/alfalfa mixed hays rather than straight alfalfa. The pros and cons of Grass and Alfalfa. You might be interested: How to ride a horse western. Beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, or low starch commercial feeds are excellent alternatives. Some horsemen may be hesitant to feed hull-less oats because they believe the hulls contribute significantly to fiber intake of horses. She eats about 12-14 pounds of alfalfa per day (half in the morning, half at night) along with about 5-6 pounds of pelleted feed per day (half at morning, half at night). Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. What you need to know and do. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. Others view it as a kind of poison. It is not true, however, that the high protein intake is harmful to the kidneys. In general, feed hay twice a day; limit alfalfa to one-half of your roughage; and feed grain according to body condition and use of the horse. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. Some say there's nothing better. This is actually an article unto itself, titled "Reasons Not To Feed Straight Alfalfa" and it can be found in our website. For the easy keeper or insulin-resistant horse, avoid sweet feeds and those that contain oats or corn. Horses also have a fiber requirement and tend to get bored when roughage (hay) is limited. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. The Alfa-A range are straight feeds and so should be fed alongside a stud balancer or supplement … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. Both grain hays and alfalfa also have very unbalanced mineral profiles that will require careful supplementation. For most horse owners, feeding a horse is the major cost of ownership. Feeding straight beet pulp is also not an optimum solution because of the soaking needed and the lack of some important vitamins and minerals. Alfalfa is high in calcium which suppresses magnesium and it causes an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio of 5:1. Ideally, a horse’s diet will be structured around hay rather than concentrates or grains. It is too rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver. Mix the cubes with its old feed to get its digestive tract and taste buds accustomed to its new diet. I add alfalfa pellets as needed as a supplement. Feeding horses is never an easy topic to simplify since every horse is different. Grasses commonly used as hay are brome, orchard, and timothy. Many horse owners feed grass hay or straight alfalfa or a combination of grass and alfalfa to their horses. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. No argument there. I heard somewhere if you feed your horse 1 cup (or scoop, or whatever) of straight oats with their feed, they'll replant your field through their poo. However, the 50/50 mix does not seem to make him overly energetic. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Long stem hay is the traditional baled hay. Straight alfalfa will provide more protein, more calcium and perhaps more calories per pound than an alfalfa-grass mix. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. 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 might be one of the biggest misconceptions out there about feeding horses. Horses descended from that stallion are often known to have HYPP, and can't tolerate alfalfa if they have it; but this horse did extremely well on it. Alfalfa cubes are more appropriate either for lactating mares or growing horses and as a partial forage substitute. Let's look at the pros and cons of alfalfa, and explore some of the myths. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. You might be interested: How to build a horse shelter. Start by replacing 1/4 of your horse’s old feed with alfalfa cubes. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. in the urine, so horse owners that feed alfalfa to adult horses may find that the horses drink more water and urinate more than when they use a grass hay. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. It can be bundled in 30- to 80-pound square bales or large, round or long square bales that can weigh tons. California Complete can be fed to any type of mature horse and provides a viable alternative to feeding horses straight alfalfa diets. The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. Young horses on this type of feeding program are predisposed to skeletal development issues. I personally feed all our horses straight grass hay so I can feed more of it and they can spend more time munching. Feeding alfalfa pellets does not provide enough fiber length to be an optimum fiber replacement. High quality hay can be an excellent source of nutrition for - including protein and calcium - for horses and ponies and is a very palatable feed.. To hit the high spots, here are the conditions that are precipitated by too much alfalfa: •Diminished Performance. Practicality and cost of feeding are always considerations when devising a feeding plan for horses. If alfalfa cubes will be its primary feed, replace 1/4 of its old feed with alfalfa cubes. A combination of naked oats and alfalfa may keep the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in balance, an important factor to consider when formulating diets for young horses. I have a 14 year old Arabian mare, and ever since I stalled her up she started losing a bit of weight, so I switched her to straight alfalfa (as opposed to coastal hay). Add alfalfa cubes to your horse’s diet gradually, as sudden dietary changes can cause health issues. Straight alfalfa cubes will contain more protein and calcium than the normal adult horse needs, but will not harm the horse as long as its kidneys are functioning properly. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. When a former boarding barn ran out of mix and fed all the normal horses straight alfalfa my gelding became unrideable and basically unmanageable until … Recent tests of alfalfa hay in horse feeding schemes have proven no adverse affects as long as sufficient water was available in the diet. a farm feeding alfalfa hay to horses in the barn to have a significant ammonia problem in the barn because of the excessive protein intake. Some owners choose to feed their horses straight alfalfa, but there is a downside. Straight alfalfa is not good for any breed. Locally we get alfalfa mix, The halter horse people feed straight alfalfa because the extra cost is worth the pounds added to the horse. The last thing you want on an endurance ride where the horse is sweating for long periods is the increased body heat, water needs, and urine production described. Protein in alfalfa runs between 15-18% or higher. The amount and type of hay fed relates to the other feeds you use and the use of your horse. Fiber is undoubtedly essential for proper functioning of the equine digestive tract. I’m reluctant to feed him straight alfalfa, as he’s quite a hot horse by nature. The extra protein will be used for energy, although not very efficiently, and the excess nitrogen will be excreted by the horse, so urine output will be a little higher with a little more ammonia in the urine. My vet as a matter of fact, recommends feeding straight alfalfa (which is what I do) As far as grazing, I would imagine just like any lush field, you would want to use caution with how much access you give them. Young horses predisposed to growth problems. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. Target Feeding Rate (% of body weight to feed per day) Forage Format Feeding Change Timeframe (Duration to transition to feeding change) Horse: 0.05 to 0.2%: Pellets, Shreds: Soak in water for 15-30 minutes prior to feeding: Bison: 0.15% of total forage intake: Pellets, Shreds 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. ... owners to go to more of a grass hay and not a straight alfalfa hay. Fatty feeds such as rice bran, flaxseed meal, or chia seeds offer the most concentrated source of calories. It is cut, cured, and baled. A straight (or high percentage) alfalfa diet! The nutrition the horse needs, the cost of the hay, and the availability of the feed needs to be carefully balanced to make owning a horse possible for many people. I feed alfalfa hay to all my horses,(and have for years) I know many people that do, and they have no issues whatsoever. I’ve started to feed him the cubes twice a day along with free choice grass hay and hay stretcher pellets. Here are some things you should know if you choose to feed a straight alfalfa diet. Alfalfa hay would not be the best forage for certain groups of horses. My horses loved all forms of alfalfa, even my double-Impressive bred quarter horse. Horse hay needs to be of good quality. Another fiber solution is to feed a complete diet. 14 It is a common myth that excess protein causes bone and joint problems in growing horses. 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