What is the best kind of hay for horses?

  • 1.) Alfalfa. Alfalfa hay is high-protein legume hay from the ‘pea’ family.
  • 2.) Clover. Clover hay is the other legume hay suitable for horses but not as popular with horse owners.
  • 3.) Timothy Grass.
  • 4.) Orchardgrass.
  • 5.) Fescue.
  • 6.) Reed Canary Grass.
  • 7.) Bluegrass.
  • 8.) Bromegrass.

What is the most nutritious hay for horses?

Legume Hay for Horses – Alfalfa, white clover, red clover and birdsfoot trefoil are common types of legumes, with alfalfa being the most popular choice. 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.

Is orchard grass good for horses?

Orchardgrass is one of the highest quality grasses that is a good hay option for horses, cattle and other livestock. In cattle, sheep and goat diets, it produces a superior body weight gain and milk production compared to other grasses, making it a great choice for pregnant, lactating and even growing animals.

Does alfalfa hay make horses hot?

Alfalfa hay will make a horse hot, or crazy. – Not so, if fed appropriately. Alfalfa provides a significant amount of calories; however, an excess of calories in any form, whether from alfalfa, grain or oil, without the exercise to burn them, can result in an excessively energetic horse.

What is the best cut of hay for horses?

Mid- to late-maturity hays are best for horses with low nutrient requirements, because the horses can eat more to satisfy their appetites without overeating and becoming fat. Horse owners also ask whether first or second-cut hay is better. There is more variation within a cutting than between cuttings.

Is 1st or 2nd cut hay better?

Hay is often cut three or more times each season. The first cutting in any cut will have thicker stems, perhaps have flowers (usually called tassel), and is the highest in fiber of any cut. The second cutting is softer, greener, has a higher protein but lower fiber than first cutting.

What is the difference between 1st 2nd and 3rd cut timothy hay?

To begin with, 1st cutting is the first hay cut from that field for the year. It tends to be more coarse and have more grasses in it. 2nd cutting is usually greener in color and has a sweeter smell. And lastly, 3rd cutting is very thick and rich.

What is the difference between #1 and #2 alfalfa?

First cut hay is coarser than second cut, this is because the spring growth (rain, etc.) leads to thicker stems and stalks and heavier leaves. Second cut hay has a finer texture and usually, a greener color and heavier leaves. It is more dense, the leaves are more tender and healthier, especially in protein.

Is timothy hay good for horse?

Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight. It is also excellent for colic prone, protein-sensitive, and obese horses.

How many bales of hay do horses eat a month?

A horse can eat anywhere from 15-25 pounds of hay a day, which generally equates to a half of a 45/50-pound square bale of hay per day (~15-30 bales per month).

Is it OK to feed horses fresh cut hay?

If hay is baled with a low moisture content, less than 12%, it can be fed right away, and horses shouldn’t have any problem with it,” said Kathleen Crandell, Ph. D., longtime nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

When should you cut timothy hay?

To help establish new stands, Undersander says the grass should be cut at 70 to 80 days after planting with one or two subsequent cuttings during the initial growing season. “Fall-planted timothy will produce seed the following calendar year.”

How long should you soak hay for horses?

Soak hay for 30 to 60 minutes to reduce the sugar it contains. Don’t soak the hay longer or you’ll risk leaching beneficial nutrients. Soaking hay to remove sugars that can exacerbate metabolic conditions such as insulin resistance takes more time.

Is peanut hay good for horses?

Since perennial peanut is highly nutritious and very palatable to horses, it is best used as a supplemental feed (instead of being self-fed) to prevent overconsumption.

Is late cut hay good for horses?

Late-cut hays can provide enough energy and nutrients (i.e., carbohydrate, protein, minerals, vitamins, etc.) for most horses to thrive, even if pregnant, lactating, or exercising. They typically contain fewer weeds than early-cut hay.

When should I feed my horse alfalfa?

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. Always have your hay analyzed so you can match the grain supplementation to your horse’s needs.

Is Rye hay good for horses?

Rye grass hay does work well for some horses. It is usually 8- 9% protein as fed and for horses that don’t tend to put on weight and have moderate to heavy workloads, it may serve as a supplement to regular feed. Straw from more mature cereal grains can be fed to horses almost exclusively as a fiber source.

What kind of hay do you feed horses?

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.

How do you choose hay for horses?

  1. It’s what’s inside that counts.
  2. Choose hay that is as fine-stemmed, green and leafy as possible, and is soft to the touch.
  3. Avoid hay that is overcured, excessively sun-bleached, or smells moldy, musty, dusty or fermented.

What is good quality hay?

Good quality hay should be bright green in color with little fading. A bleached, yellow, brown or black color may indicate aged hay, mold or poor storage conditions. Storage condition and age have a significant effect on vitamin content of hays.

Can you feed straight alfalfa to horses?

It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content.


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