It is grown on an estimated 35 million acres in the U.S. Want to Join AAEP? It is highly palatable and most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. Most animals like the taste of alfalfa hay, however it is too rich to use as the only daily hay for most adult animals. There is no treatment for this poisoning and poor prognosis of recovery. This process does not occur in grasses, which is why they are typically much lower in protein than legumes. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. The third cutting is good hay, and the fourth and fifth cuttings begin to have more stems and fewer leaves. Grass Hay for Horses Kentucky bluegrass, orchardgrass and timothy are all examples of common grasses used for hay. The symptoms of alsike poisoning vary and susceptibility seems to depend on the area where the clover is grown and the individual horse. What many owners may not realize is that there are some significant health risks associated with horses eating endophyte fungus-infected (El) tall fescue. Alfalfa can be grown successfully in most areas of the U.S. It is quite sensitive to moisture fluxuations though, so care must be taken with overwatering or irrigating it (and it may be difficult to get during a drought). Your email address will not be published. The resulting oat hay is high in protein and other nutrients, making it a nutritious option for horse hay. A hay analysis gives horse owners the level of crude protein, total digestible nutrients, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium in the hay, and can be a valuable investment. Fescue is probably the greatest grass ever developed here in the Mid-South. Orchard hay is another common type of grass hay – it usually has a thicker blade than timothy hay but can be softer in texture. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. To access member-exclusive content on our website, you must login. Substantial dry matter losses occur every day the hay remains in the field. This hay is high in protein, but lower in calcium than legume hay. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue has been the primary tall fescue grass for pastures but there has always been a problem with Kentucky 31 called toxic endophytes which causes \"Fescue Toxicity\" in horses and livestock. Clover hay can cause "slobbers" in horses. The benefits of feeding a legume, like alfalfa, but keeping the balance in your horse’s nutrition and energy levels by also feeding them a grass hay. Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit. Bermuda grass grows well in a variety of conditions so it is a common hay for horses. 4’x5’ net wrap, barn kept. If this is not a viable option, there are hormone stimulating drugs manufactured for mares which can counter the fungus’ effects on them. NSC is present in forages that supply fiber in the horse’s diet. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. Different ages, classes and workloads of horses require different levels of nutrients from the hay they eat. Hay or pasture containing a large percentage of alsike clover is generally not recommended for horses because of its toxicity. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. Pricing is highly regional. Hay should be green. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is about 6:1 and must be considered when feeding young, growing horses. In general, grass hays are less expensive than legume hays, but because of demand by the horse market in some areas, grass hays can be more expensive. Alfalfa hay is one of the most common hays available in the US, making it a popular choice for forage for horses. Bermuda is a less expensive alternative to Orchard or Timothy hay for those horses that are fed grain or supplements. Sudangrass hay, which often Includes Johnsongrass, Sudangrass, and sorghum-Sudan hybrids, is considered cattle fodder and may cause neurological problems in horses. Fescue Hay - posted in Alfalfa/Hay: Anyone making small squares with Fescue? Horse owners are warned not to allow horses to graze these plants as they may develop cystitis syndrome. But bermuda grass provides a good source of forage for horses. It is highly palatable. This fungus grows and lives in contaminated fescue and when ingested by your horse, toxicity will develop. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional. © 2012 by John Hilty. Horses love it too! Fescue Toxicosis in Horses . However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. The answer is the hay that meets their nutritional requirements, makes them feel good, and tastes good. Compendia articles, core healthcare topics and more are written and updated as a group effort. This digestive arrangement makes the horse better suited to grazing continuously than to having one or two large meals a day. Clover hay is usually mixed with grass hays. People once thought that feeding alfalfa hay to horses caused kidney damage because of increased urination and ammonia production. Hay can be broken down into two main categories: grass (e.g. Its proper Calcium to Phosphorus ratio. 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