What type of hay is fed to horses?

There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. 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.

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What type of hay is best 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.

Do horses prefer grass or hay?

Grass HayAlfalfa Hay
Calcium (Ca)0.28-0.75%1-4.39%

What is the difference between timothy hay and regular hay?

Alfalfa hay is higher in protein and calories, but timothy hay has more fiber and better calcium to phosphorus ratio. If you feed your horse a mixture of these two types of hay, it will get the best combinations possible for optimum nutrition.

What is the difference between orchard hay and timothy hay?

Timothy is very low-yielding when cut at a young age, so it is rare to see pure timothy hay that is without seed heads. On the other hand, orchardgrass can be cut before the seed heads emerge with a fairly high yield, producing a leafy, non-stemmy hay.

What is the difference between hay and alfalfa?

Alfalfa has about 16 to 20 percent protein, while grass hays are only 8 to 10 percent protein. Alfalfa has two to three times as much calcium as grass hays. I often hear people say they want to give their animals “the best” feed, and they assume alfalfa is best because it has more protein and calcium.

Is Timothy grass the same as timothy hay?

Timothy Grass has a slightly higher protein and is greener in appearance. Timothy Hay is a mix of leaves and stems from Timothy grass, which is a perennial bunch grass. Timothy Hay is high in fiber and low in protein which is a combination critical to the health of rabbits and other small animals.

Will horses eat any hay?

Horses typically eat hay that’s grown locally, which means their options are often restricted to what grows best in their area. While alfalfa is considered an ideal hay, horses can also eat timothy, clover and tall fescue hays as well as mixtures of these hays.

What is the difference between timothy hay and alfalfa?

When looking at which type of hay to feed a rabbit or guinea pig, Timothy hay and Meadow hay are often considered the better and healthier options. Alfalfa is known as a great hay for baby rabbits, as it contains higher calcium and protein levels to help support healthy growth and development.

How do you know if hay is good for horses?

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.

Do horses need alfalfa?

Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of energy, protein, calcium and some other nutrients for horses. Its concentrations of protein and calcium meet the nutrient needs of horses in high levels of production, such as growth and lactation, but exceed the nutrient requirements of horses in other life stages.

What is the difference between alfalfa and clover?

Alfalfa is like a clover, but has a bigger stem than grass. It also can produce higher protein levels than grass. Clover is a type of grass that does better in low ph levels, but doesn’t have the yield or longevity as alfalfa. Alfalfa is more drought resistance too.

Do horses need hay if they have grass?

We know horses need to eat either grass or hay. When horses eat grass, you will need to keep an eye on their condition and make sure that they are neither eating too much nor too little. Horses can overeat grass, especially if the pasture is lush, but it is also easy to let a horse get too fat from eating hay.

What is the difference between feeding hay and bedding hay?

‘Feeding hay’ is fresher, greener, smells better, tastes better, and has more nutrients in it. ‘Bedding hay’ is dryer, ideal for bedding, but not so great for nibbling, although, it’s not a problem if your rabbits occasionally eat it! Ideally, your rabbit should also have access to grass.

Is Timothy grass hay good for horses?

Benefits for Horses – 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.

Is pasture hay good for horses?

Roughage, such as hay and pasture is critical for the health and well-being of all horses. Understanding the design, function and reliance of the horse’s digestive system on roughage is the first step in appreciating the critical value of roughage.

What is the most popular hay for horses?

Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content.

Do horses like Bermuda hay?

Bermuda hay is a nutritious option that you can use for feeding your horses. For horses in training and back yard horses, Bermuda hay, in combination with alfalfa, will promote their optimal health.

What is lucerne hay?

Lucerne (also known as alfalfa) is grown throughout Australia, for use as a green fodder crop for pasture or for conservation as hay, silage or as a dried ground product. The leaves are the part of highest nutritive value but can be easily lost during the hay making process.

What hay is best for older horses?

A reduction in fiber fermentation means that older horses receive less nutrients from forage resulting in higher quality forages being required. Alfalfa hay and good quality grass hays are preferable to stemmy and mature hays that have tougher fiber to ferment.

What is the difference between alfalfa and Bermuda hay?

Bermuda vs. – But the primary difference between the two is that Alfalfa hay generally contains more protein than Bermuda hay. Higher protein content means that horses tend to feel full before they have absorbed all the necessary nutrients.

What happens if a horse eats too much alfalfa?

Alfalfa hay can cause diarrhea in a horse that overeats it because the hay is rich and full of nutrients. Overeating alfalfa can also cause a horse to have excess gas, develop laminitis, and founder.

Is clover hay bad for horses?

Clover can be a good feed source for most horses because it provides useful energy and adequate protein and fiber. You can use clover in hay or pastures. Clovers can sometimes mold, which causes slobbers, photosensitivity (reactive to light) and bleeding.

What is Tifton hay?

Tifton 85 is a hybrid strain of Bermudagrass Cynodon dactylon, a forage perennial grass that originated in Africa and was brought to the United States as a pasture and hay crop for the humid Southern states.

What hay is lowest in sugar?

Low sugar hay is extremely important in a horse’s diet due to its health properties and the enormous benefits it can offer. While lucerne usually has lower sugar than a lot of grass hays, it more often than not tests HIGHER in sugar, starch & protein compared to our Low Sugar Hay.

Is orchard grass OK for horses?

“As a source of fiber, well-made orchardgrass hay has a place in the diets of all types of horses. When it’s clean and sweet-smelling, its palatability is wonderful, and few horses refuse it,” said Kathleen Crandell, Ph. D., nutritionist for Kentucky Equine Research (KER).

Is Blue Grass hay good for horses?

Kentucky Bluegrass is low-growing and, therefore, low-yielding. Because of this, it is not ideal for hay but is excellent for horse pastures. It is highly nutritious, very palatable, and tolerant of close, frequent grazing. Kentucky Bluegrass also forms a tight sod, providing good pasture footing.

What kind of grass do horses eat?

Of the grass mixtures evaluated, horses preferred a stand of endophyte-free tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, and timothy. However, over time, these pastures evolved to mostly tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. Horses had less preference for any pasture mix with 30 percent or more orchardgrass.

How many different types of hay are there?

Hay can be classified into three general types: legume, grass, and mixed. Mixed hay is usually defined as a blend of grass and legume plants, though some hay producers and horse owners may define it as a combination of several grasses.

What kind of grass is hay?

Commonly used plants for hay include mixtures of grasses such as ryegrass (Lolium species), timothy, brome, fescue, Bermuda grass, orchard grass, and other species, depending on region. Hay may also include legumes, such as alfalfa (lucerne) and clovers (red, white and subterranean).

Can horses graze on alfalfa?

Alfalfa can be grazed as a single-species or mixed with grass. Red or white clover doesn’t regrow well when grazed by horses, so it’s best to mix with grass. Alfalfa and red clover can be appropriate pasture species for horses diagnosed with metabolic disorders.

What do you feed horses in the winter?

In all scenarios, in winter months horses should be given at least 1.5 to 3% of their body weight in some form of forage; it could be in the form of long stem hay, chopped hays, forage based cubes, or combinations thereof. They should also have access to salt at all times and unlimited ice free water.

Do horses eat hay or straw?

While quality hay and pasture grass are the ideal sources of forage for most horses, there are some cases in which eating straw is a suitable alternative or supplement. “Yes, horses can eat straw,” said equine nutritionist, Shannon Pratt-Phillips, PhD.

What type of hay is horse hay?

There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. 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.

What is timothy hay made of?

Timothy hay is dried versions of timothy grass (P. Pratense), which is thought to have originated on the European continent. Early colonists to the New World brought grass seeds accidentally, inspiring significant wild growth of the grass in the US too.

Is orchard grass or timothy hay better for horses?

The higher calorie content of Orchard Grass is a result of higher fiber digestibility compared to Timothy Grass. The high nutrient intake delivered by Orchard Grass hay translates into potentially less grain the horse would need to eat to satisfy energy and protein requirements.

How can you tell if hay is Timothy?

Alfalfa Hay vs. Timothy Hay How to tell the difference – YouTube

Is fescue hay good for horses?

Fescue infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum produces chemicals toxic to horses. Infected pasture and hay is toxic for horses to eat. The toxic chemicals in the stems and leaf sheaths tend to peak in late June and decline as the seeds develop.

What grass has the highest protein?

Grass and Hay With the Highest Protein – Bermuda grass, which is also a favorite of homeowners trying to grow a beautiful lawn, is relatively high in grass protein. Its crude protein levels can be as high as 16 percent, and it has a total digestible nutrient content of 55 percent.

Is ryegrass 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.

Is prairie hay good for horses?

A good-quality grass hay may meet most of the adult horse’s basic nutritional needs. Mature horses require 10 to 12 percent CP (crude protein) in their diets. Many native or prairie grass hays contain just 6 to 8 percent.


Types of hay for horse – Alfalfa, Rye, Oat – Rick Gore Horsemanship

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