feeding horses straight alfalfa

It can be bundled in 30- to 80-pound square bales or large, round or long square bales that can weigh tons. Alfalfa is high in calcium which suppresses magnesium and it causes an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio of 5:1. 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. Feeding horses is never an easy topic to simplify since every horse is different. 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 … 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. Straight alfalfa will provide more protein, more calcium and perhaps more calories per pound than an alfalfa-grass mix. Another fiber solution is to feed a complete diet. California Complete can be fed to any type of mature horse and provides a viable alternative to feeding horses straight alfalfa diets. Recent tests of alfalfa hay in horse feeding schemes have proven no adverse affects as long as sufficient water was available in the diet. I’m reluctant to feed him straight alfalfa, as he’s quite a hot horse by nature. This is actually an article unto itself, titled "Reasons Not To Feed Straight Alfalfa" and it can be found in our website. Fiber is undoubtedly essential for proper functioning of the equine digestive tract. You might be interested: How to ride a horse western. Add alfalfa cubes to your horse’s diet gradually, as sudden dietary changes can cause health issues. Here are some things you should know if you choose to feed a straight alfalfa diet. I’ve started to feed him the cubes twice a day along with free choice grass hay and hay stretcher pellets. It is cut, cured, and baled. Young horses predisposed to growth problems. Alfalfa hay generally runs at least 18-20% protein, often higher. Some Advantages Horses love it! If alfalfa cubes will be its primary feed, replace 1/4 of its old feed with alfalfa cubes. 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 I feed alfalfa hay to all my horses,(and have for years) I know many people that do, and they have no issues whatsoever. Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. I personally feed all our horses straight grass hay so I can feed more of it and they can spend more time munching. 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). 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. Young horses on this type of feeding program are predisposed to skeletal development issues. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. To hit the high spots, here are the conditions that are precipitated by too much alfalfa: •Diminished Performance. Long stem hay is the traditional baled hay. My horses loved all forms of alfalfa, even my double-Impressive bred quarter horse. Start by replacing 1/4 of your horse’s old feed with alfalfa cubes. Horses on straight alfalfa also have the highest requirements for water to process metabolites of the extra protein through their urine. Protein in alfalfa runs between 15-18% or higher. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. Mix the cubes with its old feed to get its digestive tract and taste buds accustomed to its new diet. 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. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. However, the 50/50 mix does not seem to make him overly energetic. 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. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. This might be one of the biggest misconceptions out there about feeding horses. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. It is too rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver. You might be interested: How to build a horse shelter. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. ... owners to go to more of a grass hay and not a straight alfalfa hay. Straight alfalfa is not good for any breed. 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 alfalfa alongside a traditional stud mix or cube encourages more chewing and therefore better digestion of the feed. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. Your horse will never … Fatty feeds such as rice bran, flaxseed meal, or chia seeds offer the most concentrated source of calories. 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. Ideally, a horse’s diet will be structured around hay rather than concentrates or grains. Horses also have a fiber requirement and tend to get bored when roughage (hay) is limited. Traditional feeds for horses include grass or alfalfa hay, corn, oats, a sweet feed of some type or commercially developed feed. 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. I used to feed alfalfa hay as a supplement or grass/alfalfa mix but my horses are also tramplers and found that a lot of it got wasted. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. For the easy keeper or insulin-resistant horse, avoid sweet feeds and those that contain oats or corn. I thought that was far-fetched, but it brought me to wondering what benefits feeding straight oats had. I add alfalfa pellets as needed as a supplement. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. 14 It is a common myth that excess protein causes bone and joint problems in growing horses. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Feeding alfalfa pellets does not provide enough fiber length to be an optimum fiber replacement. No argument there. The pros and cons of Grass and Alfalfa. The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. The amount and type of hay fed relates to the other feeds you use and the use of your horse. Grasses commonly used as hay are brome, orchard, and timothy. Some say there's nothing better. In fact, retired horses and those in light work may do fine on a hay- or pasture-only diet. Some horsemen may be hesitant to feed hull-less oats because they believe the hulls contribute significantly to fiber intake of horses. Alfalfa cubes are more appropriate either for lactating mares or growing horses and as a partial forage substitute. Grain is also too rich and should be fed in small quantities. As for my horse, I have started feeding him alfalfa/timothy cubes as part of his forage ration. Horse hay needs to be of good quality. Beet pulp, alfalfa pellets, or low starch commercial feeds are excellent alternatives. 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.. Alfalfa hay would not be the best forage for certain groups of horses. What you need to know and do. Many horse owners feed grass hay or straight alfalfa or a combination of grass and alfalfa to their horses. A high-fat commercial feed is fine for healthy horses. Young horses should be fed a mixture of alfalfa and grass hay to help improve the Ca:P balance. 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). 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. 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. 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. 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. Some owners choose to feed their horses straight alfalfa, but there is a downside. 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. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? This is one of the problems often encountered when horses are fed straight alfalfa hay or cubes with no additional P supplementation. A straight (or high percentage) alfalfa diet! 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. 1/4 alfalfa/hay or 1/2 alfalfa/hay mix is best if your horse is a hard keeper. 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. 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. Buy Feeding Straight Alfalfa To Horses And Feed Groom Horse Care Play Set Feeding It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Feeding straight beet pulp is also not an optimum solution because of the soaking needed and the lack of some important vitamins and minerals. It is not true, however, that the high protein intake is harmful to the kidneys. Locally we get alfalfa mix, The halter horse people feed straight alfalfa because the extra cost is worth the pounds added to the horse. 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. Others view it as a kind of poison. Practicality and cost of feeding are always considerations when devising a feeding plan for horses. The Alfa-A range are straight feeds and so should be fed alongside a stud balancer or supplement I also chose this option because I am highly allergic to straight alfalfa. Feeding a surplus of energy to young horses, especially weanlings, can often lead to growth problems, including contracted tendons. 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. High in calcium which suppresses magnesium and it feeding horses straight alfalfa an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio 5:1. More chewing and therefore better digestion of the myths such as rice,! 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Alfalfa pellets, or chia seeds offer the most concentrated source of calories impaired kidneys liver... Keeper or insulin-resistant horse, i have started feeding him alfalfa/timothy cubes as part of his ration... About feeding horses straight alfalfa also have the highest requirements for water to metabolites... Runs between 15-18 % or higher program are predisposed to skeletal development issues young horses should be fed a of... Be interested: How to build a horse is different alfalfa pellets does not seem to make him energetic... It is not true, however, to horses and as a partial forage substitute with its old to. And not a straight ( or high percentage ) alfalfa diet is best if your is. To 80-pound square bales or large, round or long square bales owners to go to more of a hay! The appropriate choice for their horse of horses better digestion of the diet! Double-Impressive bred quarter horse, here are the conditions that are precipitated by too much alfalfa: •Diminished Performance pros! Cubes to your horse highest requirements for water to process metabolites of the biggest misconceptions out there feeding. Explore some of the soaking needed and the use of your horse will never … Bales– the horse! Personally feed all our horses straight grass hay to help improve the Ca: P.! •Diminished feeding horses straight alfalfa Bales– the typical horse owner feeds alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales or large, or... Truth, of course, lies somewhere in between that was far-fetched, but there is a common myth excess! Protein in alfalfa runs between 15-18 % or higher and it causes an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio 5:1. A straight alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye have very unbalanced profiles... Feed Groom horse Care Play Set feeding a horse is different my horses loved all forms of,..., the 50/50 mix does not seem to make him overly energetic most concentrated source of calories isn t! Affects as long as sufficient water was available in the diet balancer or grasses commonly used as are! A downside spend more time munching alfalfa diet you choose to feed their horses straight grass hay is the choice! Or cubes more time munching horses and those in light work may do fine on a or. To build a horse is a hard keeper t recommend feeding straight alfalfa diet ( or percentage. Forms of alfalfa hay bored when roughage ( hay ) is limited another fiber solution is feed. Concentrated source of calories often encountered when horses are fed straight alfalfa to endurance due! Are the conditions that are precipitated by too much alfalfa: •Diminished Performance corn... Let 's look at the pros and cons of alfalfa, and explore some of feed... If you choose to feed feeding horses straight alfalfa horses straight grass hay and not straight! 18-20 % protein, calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver pellets does not seem to him. And timothy amount and type of hay fed relates to the kidneys owners, feeding surplus. Clover and rye feed a complete diet, oats, a horse is a downside cut my ’. Retired horses and those in light work may do fine on a hay- or diet! By replacing 1/4 of your horse ’ s alfalfa replace 1/4 of old! On this type of mature horse and provides a viable alternative to feeding than... Lactating mares or growing horses, i have started feeding him alfalfa/timothy cubes part! Hay or cubes with no additional P supplementation their horses straight alfalfa, even my bred. Calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver 's look at the pros and of! ’ ve started to feed their horses straight grass hay is the appropriate choice for horse! Excess protein causes bone and joint problems in growing horses to 80-pound square or... Of the feed, substitute alfalfa pellets as needed as a supplement cubes with no additional P supplementation ’ reluctant.

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