The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young growing horses. Horses prefer 'hard' hay which is different to 'meadow hay' suitable for other stock. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. All horses need fiber in their diet and some of it must be the form of long hay. Baling and cutting alfalfa is a whole other topic too. Beyond that, even the best hay may be low in certain nutrients, especially minerals. It usually has lots of litter in it from the winter--weeds like redstem pigweed is abundant that time of year, cow patties if cattle were wintered on the field, trash that blew in, leaves from the autumn shedding, etc. An equine nutritionist offers advice on the best hay to feed a horse who is at risk of developing laminitis. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, both in content and quality. Hay dried in the field for at least a day or two–even rained on a bit–is considered safer (i.e., first or second cutting, depending on the year, from the Eastern states). Alfalfa is also a good winter feed because heat is created by digestion of protein, so a horse can keep warmer on a cold night. Cisco Farm Seeds. It is highly palatable. Horses tend to throw their hay around as they rummage for the good bits, so you’ll need a good 8’ by 8’ of ground cover for your horses feeding area. Early maturity hay would be perfect for growing horses and lactating mares, but it may not be the best choice for horses with low nutrient requirements. All horses require supplemental salt to replenish what is lost in sweat. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. Choose one designed for horses (those made for cattle have a bar across the top that can injure horses when they pull back from the hay). Later cuttings make great horse hay. Young horses predisposed to growth problems. The Tough1 feeder slows down your horse’s consumption and reduces wasted hay, while also being stronger than many slow-feeder nets on the market. Several characteristics of alfalfa make it an excellent hay for horses. The top plastic frame aids in loading hay, while the adjustable hanging strap has snaps at both ends to close the top of the bag. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. Practicality and cost of feeding are always considerations when devising a feeding plan for horses. Teff is a warm-season annual grass that is now being grown in many regions of North America for livestock and by commercial hay producers who want a fast-growing, high-yielding crop with good forage quality. While pasture may be best, pasture grass may not be adequate during hot weather, drought or winter conditions and this means owners need to feed hay. The Upper Peninsula isn’t the only place where hay is only cut once in mid-summer. However, if you want more sugar in your hay OMAFRA suggests cutting hat later in the day. The cutting of hay doesn’t matter nearly as much as other factors – like species, maturity at harvest, storage conditions, leafiness, and the presence of contaminants. Visit Website. Horses being maintained, mares in the first two-thirds of gestation, and mature horses working at light or moderate levels can do nicely on immature grass hay. Generally speaking, the second and third cuttings are "best" because first cutting tends to get a bit mature before it gets cut. Cutting hay has been, and can be, done in many ways. Hay has been important historically and is still essential today. The “fiber” percentage on the label isn’t what you need to know. Cutting Hay. Optimum horse hay moisture ranges from 10 to 16 percent. So I asked when you should cut hay. A high performance racehorse may benefit from alfalfa or mixed alfalfa. Best for: Easy keepers, horses in light work (or retired horses), and as a tool to help buffer stomach acid and add roughage without adding too many calories or excess protein. Use your good judgment when purchasing hay for horses. If hay becomes wet, or if it sits in the sun, nutrients can be lost. If the hay isn't cured properly, if it's handled too much (which causes lots of leaf loss), or if it's rained on, it could be very poor quality. On farms in more moderate climates where time and labor are in short supply, maximum yield is not essential and top hay quality is not required, a single cut system may be adequate. Generally, a mixed grass bale will work best for most horses. By horse-drawn machine: In the 19th century, many machines that could cut hay were invented that could be pulled with horses. Have enough round bales to accommodate the number of horses in a given field, and take care to provide new bales as needed so horses always have access to fresh hay. The best time to cut hay is when your hay-field is just about to flower. Preference of horses for grass conserved as hay, haylage or silage C.E. There are cereal grain hays too, such as oat or barley hay, which are different nutritionally than typical grass hays, but they also fall under the grass hay … Alfalfa hay would not be the best forage for certain groups of horses. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and … This doesn't mean all second or third cutting is better than first though. The hay is good quality, fragrant and soft. It's not okay to feed just any dried fodder to horses. Many types of hay provide enough calories and crude protein to meet the needs of adult horses at maintenance or light work. A high quality cereal grain hay, like oat hay, is preferable to a poor quality alfalfa. A number of factors come into play when choosing the right type of hay for your horse. In fact, a steady diet of legume hay can lead to excessive weight gain. Muller ∗, P. Uden (2007) *Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences As can be seen from the table, some nutrients don’t vary much as their levels are determined more by the grass species than the conservation technique. It's said that hay revolutionized horse care, and man's ability to be mobile. Your target is about 30% ADF. Hay for Boarded Horses Even so, hay rarely meets all the needs of any horse. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. On the other hand, horses usually don’t require such rich forage. Older horses may have tooth problems that mean they may have trouble with long stem forage like grass hay & if lami prone, the hay may need to be soaked, to reduce sugar. Dairy cows require the highest quality legume hay to keep up with milk production. A basic hay analysis costs about $20. By hand: For thousands of years, hay was cut with hand-held tools like a scythe. That’s the answer I got for first cut. Best way to combat mites, besides spraying Sevin, is to build the sugar up in your Timothy. 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.. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. As grazing animals, research has shown that horses do best when their feeding patterns follow a natural grazing pattern. That is a topic for a whole article. Also offer both 1 st cut (high fibre) and 3 rd cut (high nutrients) in this range.. Meadow grass hay for rabbits. In the case of mature horses, alfalfa forage will certainly provide enough protein to … 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.” Beet pulp is predominantly fibre too, and it is often very high in sugar, depending on the type & brand, so be careful with your advice & feeding your own. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. Horses challenged by metabolic syndrome should be offered hays that are low in non-structural carbohydrates or NSC. Smorgasbord of hay and grain for horses Flickr.com - Smerikal. ADF values between 30 and 35 percent are good for horses. Hay is the best, maybe the only, economic option. early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. Later cuttings may have them in it and they are toxic to horses. OMAFRA suggests cutting hay in the morning just after the morning dew is off for better drying. While hay alone may not meet the total dietary requirements of young, growing horses or those used for high levels of performance, high-quality hay may supply ample nutrition for less active adult horses. Most 1st cut OG hay is chopped for haylage or made into baleage. We get brome and prairie grass hay in this part of the country. This class of carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and fructan. Alfalfa hay is one of the best hays fed to horses. 12lb box of 2 nd cut Timothy hay, which is supplied by Small Pet Select in a breathable box to keep the hay fresh (card keeps sunlight out but allows air to circulate). I know there is a lot of hype out there about laminitic-prone horses but, honestly, if it isn't broken, don't fix it! 1st cutting hay is the first cutting off a field in the spring (obviously!) For horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the best choice. Timothy works best for us, no problems with mites (knock on wood). If all the hay is soaked, then some of the soluble trace-mineral, vitamin and salt content can be leached out into the soaking water. Tough-1 Mini Web Hay Feeder, $25.49. Alfalfa Hay. ADVERTISEMENT. Alfalfa hay is one of the best legume hays fed to horses. Meadow grass is a longer, softer stemmed grass than Timothy hay. This will give maximum yield of very clean material and can be a very profitable crop. Teff Hay for Horses Field of teff grass hay ready for harvest. Thanks for watching! You want the ADF. I think 1st cutting on alfalfa is best since the likelyhood of blister beetles is less. Some specialists even prefer to grow a new ley every year. The best way to determine the feed you choose will provide fiber of a similar type to the fiber in hay is to call the manufacturer and ask what the ADF, or acid detergent fiber, level is. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses … Q: Which cutting of hay is best for horses? Once you’ve determined the best category of hay for your horse, most people select hay based on how it looks, smells and feels. NDF values between 40 and 50 are good for horses. The adult horse at maintenance should have a Ca to P ratio between 3:1 and 1:1. Our hay guys only do one cutting so don't have a choice. Legume hay is also ideal for goats and lambs. Heather Smith Thomas - 06/26/2020 Nutrition. The Horse Studio Team and The Merry Band at Catskill Horse hope this article has helped you with your horses’ hay. Young foals and mares in the first three months of lactation can benefit by the best legume hay available. 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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