Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. Feeding horses Alfalfa reduces or even eliminates the need for supplements which often have a … However, some hays may be deficient in an essential nutrient or, depending on the breeding status and activity level, some horses may need more or less hay in order to be in good body condition. Both are reining-bred, and both are easy, easy keepers. The average thousand-pound horse who relies on hay for all their forage typically eats fifteen to twenty pounds of hay per day. A simple formula to decide how much alfalfa to feed will enable the caretaker to monitor this intake. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. Horses also have a fiber requirement and tend to get bored when roughage (hay) is limited. THREE RISKS OF FEEDING TOO MUCH ALFALFA TO HORSES: Feeding more protein than your horse requires can result in gastric indigestion as well as fermentation and putrefaction in the hindgut. Alfalfa cubes are handier than hay flakes as they are much … How much alfalfa hay do you feed a 1,200 pound horse and how often? Storage condition and age have a significant effect on vitamin content of hays. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa… Hay for ponies should be good quality grass hay. They carry alfalfa pellets and that's what I'll have to use until they get more. A typical horse weighing 1,100 lbs. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. Adding Alfalfa pellets to your horse's daily diet has its reasons. Ultimately, alfalfa is preferred forage for horses because it digests easily, is high in fiber and contains many essential nutrients. Alfalfa Hay, with its higher protein and adequate energy amounts might be the ideal feed for a hard working ranch horse, but it could be too rich of a feed for a retired backyard horse in the same amount. Adding horses to, or taking horses out of, a pasture containing an old horse changes the herd dynamics and sends the old horse to the bottom of the pecking order. Equine Feed Calculator Fortunately, horses do quite well on a forage based diet of hay along with minerals and good clean water. He maintained his weight on pasture and 1% of his body weight in pellets in the growing season, and then 1.5% of his body weight in pellets in the winter. Not all older horses are hard keepers. For horses housed and fed outside in the more severe winter climates, it is strongly recommended that forages be offered in feeders located under a three-sided shelter. of their body weight. A bleached, yellow, brown or black color may indicate aged hay, mold or poor storage conditions. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa… Your hay analysis should show the DM content of your forage. Until further research is done, he recommends, horses weighing between 1,000-1,300 pounds should be fed about 1 pound of alfalfa after a grain meal. Most of these horses are owned and managed for recreation or sport rather than for profit. If the horse is unable to chew alfalfa hay, substitute alfalfa cubes or pellets soaked in water during the initial refeeding period. Nutritionally speaking, however, they are very different. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. Alfalfa hay and timothy hay are different nutritionally. The basic principles of feeding laminitic horses are well-established: Avoid high-sugar and … It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. Alfalfa is also very high in calcium (5 to 1 Ca/P ratio). If your horse falls into the at-risk category, consider these diet changes. Try putting your alfalfa bale on an empty feed bag before you open the bale, and feed the small pieces that fall out in the feed trough or bucket. Therefore, the key to feeding older horses is to use high quality protein from sources like alfalfa, soybean … For example, a 1,100 pound horse requires at least 11 pounds of roughage. Therefore when horse owners use alfalfa cubes in a diet for horses, the cubes replace hay of … With the alfalfa cube, the forage is coarsely chopped and then mechanically compressed into a 1.25 by 2-inch cube. To sustain a healthy weight, a horse needs to consume a daily ration of 2 to 3 percent of his body weight each day; of that, at least 1.5 to 2 percent needs to be some form of forage. Based on what we know right now, for horses that are kept in confinement, eating feed and getting forced exercise, it makes sense to consider some alfalfa as part of their diet, he said. If you are feeding 100% hay and your hay contains 90% DM (or 10% moisture), your 1000 lb horse should be fed 20 lb of hay (18 lb DM/0.9) straight from the bale each day. High-quality (“dairy”) alfalfa supplies 20 to 25 percent more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. A mature horse can eat 3% of its body weight daily. That’s 30 lbs of hay per day for a 1000 lb horse. Can I feed them all-they-can-eat alfalfa hay? For my horses, I feed grass hay (1 1/2-2% of their body weight per day), alfalfa at 10% of their body weight per day, pasture and an herbal mineral supplement to make up for the nutritional deficiencies in the hay. So if a flake weighs about four pounds, you’ll need to feed your one thousand pound horses five flakes every day. Nutritional value. When it comes to feeding your horses you know how important it is for me to look out for healthy organic and natural products. The optimal compromise for higher forage quality and dry matter yield of alfalfa is to harvest the first cutting at the late-bud to first-flower stage and to make subsequent cuttings at 32-to-35 day intervals until late August or early-September, often referred to as a “4 summer-cut system.”13 мая 2010 г. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). The common vegetable oils used in horse feeds are corn oil, soy oil and flax oil (linseed oil). A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Timothy, high-quality grass hays, and 50% alfalfa mixes make good forage for older horses, Ralston says. Flakes are a thin, easy to separate rectangular portion of a horse bale. Feeding rates recommended for concentrate feeds are based on feeding with good quality grass hay. High-quality (“dairy”) alfalfa supplies 20 to 25 percent more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. Always have your hay analyzed so you can match the grain supplementation to your horse’s needs. But, it's essential to know that Alfalfa pellets won't replace hay. Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. Required fields are marked *. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. This is only a rough guide. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Your email address will not be published. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy. Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. A horse needs a fairly small amount of protein per day. This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. 1 Flake timothy hay [email protected] x 4 flakes per day = 20 pounds per day x 800 calories = 16Mcal (16,000 calories) 1 Flake Alfalfa hay [email protected] x 4 flakes per day = 12 pounds per day x 1000 calories = 12Mcal (12,000 calories). This will give the appropriate poundage of alfalfa to give the horse daily in addition to grass hay. I have two Quarter Horse broodmares, one 11 and one 17 years old. Answer. When it comes to feeding your horses you know how important it is for me to look out for healthy organic and natural products. Horses that are fed alfalfa cubes tend to eat all the cubes provided, whereas horses fed long-stem alfalfa hay will sort through the hay and not eat all the hay offered. After observing the horse for a period of time, the amount fed may be increased or decreased by 10% to obtain the desired body condition and weight. For the horse who might have some respiratory sensitivities, fines can be mixed into a meal or wet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to actually be inhaled into the lungs. Your email address will not be published. Is alfalfa hard on horses’ kidneys? If a horse is in training or working hard, its calorie needs increase. But, it's essential to know that Alfalfa pellets won't replace hay. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. Adding Alfalfa pellets to your horse's daily diet has its reasons. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. The amount of alfalfa cubes you feed a horse is dependant on the size and workload of the animal. Canola oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and palm oil are also used, but less frequently. Nutritional value. Overweight. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. of hay per day. You’ll now be able to calculate the approximate number of flakes you should feed your horse daily. At the same time, p… If using good quality alfalfa hay, reduce the amount of Purina feed recommended by 1/2 to 1 lb/day. Horses require fiber in their diet for the gut to function normally It is recommended that the diet contain no less than 1 percent of body weight of roughage such as hay, pasture, etc. Adding Alfalfa Cubes to Your Horse’s Diet Start by replacing 1/4 of your horse’s old feed with … Geriatric horses can also become especially hard keepers during the cold months as they use energy to keep warm. Because of this huge drought in Texas, they are having to get their hay out of state and they're having some problems. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. This can contribute to leaky gut and will create too much ammonia which is toxic to the liver and kidneys if accumulated in excess amounts. Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. Your pony probably won't need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers. The diuretic and laxative effects may be useful in a weight loss plan, but they are generally used to help to increase weight. Feeding rates recommended for concentrate feeds are based on feeding with good quality grass hay. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. The short answer is yes, it is perfectly acceptable to feed your mares alfalfa hay. These fodders, which are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, are often too rich for a pony. It is … This can also lead to weight loss since the old horse is not given adequate access to feed. Feeding a foundered or prone-to-founder horse usually means a magnesium/chromium supplement, with or without an amino-acid supplement, and an essential (as in Omega 3) fatty acid supplement. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. … After years of working with horses, it appears that it may, in fact, lead to laminitis in some horses. I've been feeding my mare one flake of alfalfa … Getting your horse high quality Alfalfa Pellets, best organic pellets, is of foremost importance. Feed grass hay, possibly a little alfalfa hay, or rinsed sugar beet, BUT stay away from corn, oats, barley, and especially stay away from sugar as molasses. of hay per day. For the horse who might have some respiratory sensitivities, fines can be mixed into a meal or wet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to actually be inhaled into the lungs. Alfalfa contains higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay (Table 1). 2015-41595-24254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Remember to feed in as many small portions as possible. Try putting your alfalfa bale on an empty feed bag before you open the bale, and feed the small pieces that fall out in the feed trough or bucket. should eat approximately 16 pounds of alfalfa cubes per day. This need can be met by supplying Alfalfa as half of a horse’s roughage. After observing the horse for a period of time, the amount fed may be increased or decreased by 10% to obtain the desired body condition and weight. Generally, horses eat between 1 1/2-2 lbs. Getting your horse high quality Alfalfa Pellets, best organic pellets, is of foremost importance. Most hay is dispensed in flakes; however, the amount of hay in a flake can vary greatly, depending on the size of the flake and the kind of hay. For variety in the diet, I found timothy and orchard grass pellets, and then a few pounds of alfalfa pellets for protein. Calcium is crucial for structural integrity of bone. Take 1-2% of the horse’s body weight and divide this by four. Protein, which is used for energy, has the added tax associated … early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. Many myths surround alfalfa’s use, and horse owners often underutilize or misuse it, even though it’s a high- quality horse feed. Ponies need only the fraction of the feed that horses do. If using good quality alfalfa hay, reduce the amount of Purina feed recommended by 1/2 to 1 lb/day. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. Most good grass hay (oat and rye) is 10-12% protein and 45% TDN and will have a 2 to 1 Ca/P ratio. Clearly, weighing hay is the most effective way to measure the correct amount. It is also an important component of hoof horn and research by the Royal Dick Vet School showed that including alfalfa in the … These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. When a horse refuses alfalfa hay products completely, then substituting other types of hay or soaked beet pulp without molasses with small amounts of Purina ® Equine Senior ® may entice the horse to eat more feed. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. The optimal compromise for higher forage quality and dry matter yield of alfalfa is to harvest the first cutting at the late-bud to first-flower stage and to make subsequent cuttings at 32-to-35 day intervals until late August or early-September, often referred to as a “4 summer-cut system.”13 мая 2010 г. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. More myths are associated with feeding horses than with feeding most other animals, in part because an increasing number of horse owners are unfamiliar with the basics of horse nutrition. Alfalfa seeds and sprouts, however, contain the non essential amino acid canavanine, which does interfere with the metabolism. Alfalfa horse feed contain nearly three times as much calcium as grass. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. The difference between alfalfa hay and the alfalfa cube is the size of the package. In addition, some older horses with reduced liver and kidney function find it difficult to excrete waste products associated with eating too much protein. 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. Our feed store is out of alfalfa hay and will be for sometime. One of the main expenses in owning a horse is feed. Roughly 3/4 to 1 pound of digestible protein (DP) will meet most horses’ daily requirement. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. They are not just fed to fill the tummy up but to treat several health issues as well. early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. Alfalfa cube is a highly nutritional feed option for horses. Horses kept outdoors will have higher energy requirements and the higher energy forages such as alfalfa or … For gut health and welfare reasons, she says owners should offer forage at no less than 1.5% of the horse’s body weight per day on a dry matter basis, unless a … Good quality hay should be bright green in color with little fading. Well, that all depends on the horse’s size, age and work load. 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