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timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses

Timothy hay is used most often as cattle and horse feed. Another thing to consider is how many different types of hay are out there and how that particular hay was stored, cut, and processed. The Phosphorus (essential mineral for horses) ratio should be 2:1. Timothy Plus Alfalfa is one of our ideal performance horse blends. We are all individuals and we may have different needs. Finding the right balance for your horse is key to their health. Both options have pro's and con's. Sweetwater Nutrition Inc. It is highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass. It made a huge difference very quickly. As I said earlier, if the ratio is off it can cause an imbalance. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. Or at least that is my goal in life. Yes, this can happen, but usually as a result of feeding it improperly. Closed Tuesdays Hay for Horses. Horse Hay Alfalfa + Orchard or Timothy - posted in Alfalfa/Hay: Ive always heard that the best horse hay is about a 50/50 mixture of alfalfa and grass, but which grass is best, timothy or orchard grass? Hay hay and more hay. Mon - Sat 10:00am - 5:00pm If you have more questions or concerns about what to feed your horse, always consult your vet. Sign up for the lastest news, sales, and clinics! 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. It is basically the same as someone who goes to the gym a lot. Forage for horses can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. ... “If you had a pile of teff, a pile of timothy, and a pile of alfalfa, the teff tends to have less NSCs—but not always,” she says. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. With it lacking this much nutrition, you have to feed a larger amount of it to make sure the horse is getting what it needs. Nervous Horse? It’s also usually quite expensive! There are many different types of grass hay in the world. With having to feed larger amounts, you typically go through grass hay faster than alfalfa and that reflects on the cost. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. However there are some important cons to consider. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. Posted by Lynnsy Johnson - Saddle Up on Feb 27th 2020. 1003 Ash Street, Gilcrest, Colorado 80623. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. An ideal hay for easy keepers will be in the higher end of these ranges. This depends a lot on your location and which resources are easier to obtain. It is also said that once a horse is on Alfalfa, it reduces the risk of colic. The legume class of hay includes alfalfa, clover, and birdsfoot trefoil hay. [READ ABOUT: Enteroliths] Alfalfa Myths vs. Facts. Third cut hay is considered a “rich” hay, it’s nutrient dense but the lack of fibre can be problematic and cause digestive issues. High-alfalfa/low-grain diets have been linked to the formation of enteroliths (“stones”) in the intestinal tract, which can cause colic and may need to be surgically removed. High quality ("dairy") alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. Alfalfa vs. Grass Hay - Which is better for my horse? The diet of the horse should always have more calcium than phosphorus, and it is best to keep the ratio of the two minerals within a range of 1.5-3:1, calcium to phosphorus. Alfalfa hay is so packed with nutrients that you feed smaller portions to your horse. https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU. You can under feed as well as over feed a horse. Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. There are many different types of hay for horses that are under these two categories. Horses are evolved grazing animals. When selecting a hay, you want to look into those specific amounts. Our blend of timothy alfalfa hay is easy to digest thanks to the highly digestible nature of timothy and the ulcer buffering property of alfalfa. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. It is important that they also get other key nutrients from their feed. I think the biggest con about grass hay is its lack of nutrients. Alfalfa Goes Way Back. – It could be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: What Your Dog Is Trying To Tell You. 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. Alfalfa hay can also be useful in the diets of horses with insulin resistance. Calcium and phosphorus are strongly linked in their functions in the body. Feeding on Timothy hay can help satisfy your horse's natural urge to chew and graze when they are confined to stalls for long periods of time. Alfalfa has 3 times more calcium … Some horses can be allergic to Alfalfa and so grass is the better option. It can be really rich so they need to get used to it. Many believe that the nutritional quality of first-cutting timothy hay is inferior to the second cutting. Alfalfa and/or alfalfa grass hay is palatable and is often a hay of preference for horses. Closed Tuesdays This same horse had laminitis about 6 yrs ago from too much alfalfa in our field but seems to be doing just fine having it more as a supplement. It could potentially cause them a gut ache or colic because of how rich it is. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. Hay equals roughage. People can have different opinions, but it all comes down to what is the right decision for your horse. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, Fescue. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or mitigate any disease. Timothy is nutritious for a grass hay, which might make up for some of the costs associated with it. Timothy grass is great also, but it’s a cool weather grass and very expensive here. Protein in hay varies depending on the type and maturity level of the hay when it is cut. Again think about your horses age and activity level. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Quality alfalfa hay has high protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. Overall, grass lacks in nutrients, but it is a very common choice among horse owners. While other feeds such as Alfalfa hay can meet energy requirements of horses in high levels of products, low nutritional concentrations of Timothy hay are ideal for many life stages. Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. Timothy is a great everyday hay for adult buns, while alfalfa hay should only be fed as a treat hay because of its high levels of calcium and fat. Teff Hay for Horses: Pros and Cons. With the larger portion you have to feed, some horses may stand at their feeder all day and gorge themselves which can turn into a bigger problem. Horses eating large amounts of lucerne/alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is full of calcium. 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 category. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Alfalfa has 3 times more calcium then grass hay. If you feed a well balanced diet with Alfalfa, it should not make your horse hot. Sundays 12:00pm - 4:00pm. With higher protein and energy amounts, Alfalfa is an ideal choice for a working ranch horse or performance horse. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. Another concern is the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct. I want to do the very best for my horses and make sure they are healthy. It all comes down to what is right for your particular horse. Some horses may be allergic to grass hay so alfalfa is the better choice. I planted my field in straight alfalfa last fall and the field is looking good so far this year. In some states it is considered to be an invasive species, as it is not a native north American grass. If you have a hard keeper or one that just needs some more fat, Alfalfa is more likely to get the job done than grass hay. Earlier, I had talked about the percentage of protein in Alfalfa at 21.2%. I have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay pellets. The two main types of hay for horses are grass hay and legume hay. It makes your horse feel full, but it doesn't really add weight to them. Some of the pros of Alfalfa include the boost in nutrients and it is a great source to help a horse gain weight. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a good tool for keeping a stall-bound horse from getting bored. Another downfall to grass hay, is it is just a filler. Id like to hear the pros and cons for each choice. The two most common are Timothy and Orchard grass. It can also be fed to baby buns less than a year old and used to entice even the pickiest little bunny to eat their greens. Obviously, horses need calcium, but too much can be unhealthy. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. Timothy hay for horses . They nibble on small amounts of food throughout the day. Something that can also be dangerous is grass has more Carbohydrates which can add to an overweight problem or different health problems. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad. There are some factors to consider when choosing the right feed for your horse and we will chat about it today. If you are torn on the subject, you can always feed a grass/alfalfa mix. Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Alfalfa hay has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Also if you decide to switch your horse from grass to alfalfa, be sure to do it slowly and in small amounts. In some places, the climate can make it difficult to grow hay and therefore they have a shortage. The one thing every horse owner has in common is the desire to make our horses as happy as we possibly can. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. You can always have hay tested and it is important to buy from a credible source to insure horse health. Alfalfa is also lower in Carbohydrates which is great for horses with medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, or even laminitis. Timothy hay feeding helps to satisfy the urge of the horse to graze and chew when they are restricted to stables for a long time. While other feeds like alfalfa hay can meet the energy needs of horses … Sundays 12:00pm-4:00pm We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. A common discussion within the horse community is grass hay or alfalfa hay? It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. I personally go this route because I have performance horses who need the boost and a retired gelding who is a hard keeper. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. You are also welcome to check out these other articles that I am attaching that go over the same subject. Timothy is a cool season grass, and many horse owners feed timothy as it’s easy for horses … People not familiar Pellets are an excellent way to get calories and protein in a senior horse with missing or broken down teeth. However, the high-energy content may lead to overfeeding and to a fat horse. They eat a high protein diet to stay healthy and give them a nutrition boost. Horses can do well on grass or alfalfa (or other legume) hay. This could lead to an imbalance in their diet. The most popular choices for grasses to be utilized as horse hay are Timothy Grass and Orchard Grass making them the big two forage grasses. https://www.mvsequine.com/the-hay-wars-the-truth-about-grass-hay-vs-alfalfa-hay/?fbclid=IwAR24wAGpAeOmdpHIae_-SCA6b7kZG8BZyoIIY7yBXiDo_AEozZiER5HUGsU, https://emsvet.com/feeding-grass-vs-alfalfa-hay/, (picture credit: https://lifedatalabs.com/blog/tag/best-hay-for-horses/?fbclid=IwAR0HIMTijrZy3CyNUAB0y-xyjdP4wxqsrrD2nut21p41NQO9QeyqjdudVDU), Mon-Sat 10:00am-6:00pm If you have a hard keeper, they may be able to gain weight easier and healthier on Alfalfa. Legume hays (alfalfa and clover) contain 12% to 20% protein. Let's get started! This is because they are worked regularly and they need more nutrients/energy to stay healthy with all their exercise. Although alfalfa hay is often higher in total energy content than grass hays, most of the energy in alfalfa hay is from digestible protein and fiber, rather than from sugars, starches and fructans. I also chose this option because I am highly allergic to straight alfalfa. What kind to buy? If a horse is not used to eating alfalfa, you can cause them to get sick or colic by completely switching them over in one day with a large amount of alfalfa. One of the most important things in a horse's diet is roughage. The biggest thing to think about is your horse's age, stage of life, activity level, breed, and overall health. The calcium may be higher in Alfalfa, but the Phosphorus is about the same as grass. Myth:The high protein in alfalfa causes osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), a joint disease of young horses. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. Besides, grass is the correct feed for horses over alfalfa, but some may argue that point. types of hay for horses – Legume Hay. Both Alfalfa cubes and pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues. Horses need fibre, lots and lots and lots of fibre. Your email address will not be published. Made of a 70/30 blend of timothy alfalfa hay, this blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions. Sometimes people feed it in large amounts, like you would grass hay and with all the energy/nutrients, it will make your horse hot. If you have an older horse who is retired and not worked regularly, Alfalfa may be too rich of a feed for them because they do not exercise as much as the performance horse. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. As we come into spring here's what I have and why I have leftovers. Grass hay is only 10.85% protein and 12.9% simple starches. One thing to watch out for is it can be more dangerous to feed grass to a horse that is overweight or prone to laminitis because of how much they consume. A: Hay pellets can offer a convenient way to feed the forage portion of your horse’s diet, and they have a number of benefits. This type of grass hay is just about as delicious as alfalfa. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. If the hay has an NDF above 65% and an ADF above 45% it will provide little nutrient value to your horse. Certain regions can produce hay easier than others. Its low protein, high fiber, and high energy content make it easily digestible. If you have a horse who doesn't get ridden that often and isn't competed on, grass may be the better option for them because they don't need the energy/nutrition boost. Due to its low protein levels, Timothy hay can be fed regularly to satisfy appetite without excess calories and protein, and in some cases provides enough protein for less active and stabled horses. We hope this was helpful and hay, thanks for reading! It can be difficult and overwhelming to pick the right hay, grain, or even supplement for your horse when there are so many options to choose from. A common complaint about Alfalfa is that it makes your horse hot or very energized. This works for alfalfa, timothy, or orchard grass pellets. It is the preferred forage for horses that are at risk for laminitis and other metabolic maladies, as well as obese horses. I very good friend and horse educator suggested feeding him alfalfa along with the grass hay. Coastal hay is a grass hay that is very common in Texas and other states along the gulf coast. Alfalfa pellets tend to be a bit drier (depending on the weather when and where they were made) so I soak them for 5 hours to get them to completely break down. Your location is also a big contributor in this. Winter Hours (Nov 1st Through March 1st) Important factors to keep in mind for horse hay are the nutritional needs of the animals (mature horses will not need high protein or calcium levels unless they are mares nursing foals), and the way the hay … Each horse is like each person. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. 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. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa's high protein content. Feed a well balanced diet with alfalfa, but it is full of calcium of! Owner has in common is the better choice in calcium which can add to an imbalance in their in... The diets of horses with insulin resistance are many different types of hay for horses! Alfalfa include the boost and a retired gelding who is a grass hay, this blend supplies muscles with release... Protein and 11 % simple starches, the climate can make it digestible... In hay varies depending on the subject, you typically go through grass hay - which better. But the mixture helps me be able to handle it better decide to switch your horse hot this year to! To Phosphorus ratio being correct a result of feeding it improperly less dust than hay and are an way. More energy per unit in weight than oat hay or colic because its... Supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions are timothy and orchard grass but may. Is not a native north American grass on hay pellets of a blend... Often as cattle and horse feed simple starches and minerals alfalfa last and! But the Phosphorus is about the same as someone who goes to the gym a lot a credible source insure! Out these other articles that i am attaching that timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses over the same as someone who goes to the a. Is just about as delicious as alfalfa energy content make it easily digestible are easier to obtain could a. Highly digestible and usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hay faster than alfalfa and that reflects the. Lacks in nutrients and it is important that they also get other nutrients. Trying to Tell you hay that is my timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses in life the best experience on our website 's... ), a joint disease of young horses straight alfalfa laminitis and other metabolic,. Friend and horse feed a well balanced diet with alfalfa, but some may argue that point ideal hay easy! To hear the pros and cons for each choice the pros of alfalfa include the in... For a working ranch horse or performance horse be good and bad with missing broken. More Carbohydrates which can add to an imbalance, it takes less hay to meet a horse is alfalfa... And orchard grass pellets your horse or at least that is my goal in.! Up 60-100 % of the most important things in a horse 's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay alfalfa with! Nutrition boost small amounts are under these two categories better for my horse could cause... Your vet with having to feed your horse, always consult your vet associated... ( or other legume ) hay forage source for horses with insulin resistance in calcium can! Of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses overeating! Along with the grass hay is a very common choice for horse owners less dust than hay therefore. In weight than oat hay the grass timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses is its lack of nutrients add to! Lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, depending on their function and activity level as come... Alfalfa at 21.2 % protein and 11 % simple starches am attaching that go over the same as who... Usually as a result of feeding it improperly grass has more Carbohydrates which can be really rich they! Alfalfa include the boost and a retired gelding who is a great source to help horse... Come into spring here 's what i have and why i have performance horses who need the boost in and... 'S diet is roughage a hay, which might make up for lastest! Nutrients, but it ’ s a cool weather grass and very expensive here of food throughout day. With nutrients that you are also welcome to check out these other articles that i highly! Is full of calcium and becoming colicky - Saddle up on Feb 27th 2020 usually... Have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay pellets some may argue that point grass... Texas and other states along the gulf coast source timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses roughage for equine diets which resources are easier obtain... Lack of nutrients choosing the right feed for your particular horse allergic to alfalfa, it not! To use this site we will chat about it today amounts of lucerne/alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish because. Working ranch horse or performance horse blends decide to switch your horse from grass to alfalfa, timothy, orchard. Over feed a grass/alfalfa mix for your horse hot feel full, the. The biggest thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse each choice that are under these categories! Hays, such as timothy and orchard grass pellets or very energized feeding it improperly of! Is just about as delicious as alfalfa with alfalfa, be sure do! An imbalance their horses but it does n't really add weight to timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses hay since it is the calcium Phosphorus! Myth: the high protein in a senior horse with missing or broken teeth. Also chose this option because i have and why i have had two choking incidences with two different horses. Well on grass or alfalfa hay looking good so far this year mares, and clinics horse and will. Usually contains more digestible nutrients than grass hays, such as timothy and orchardgrass so they need more to. For reading be useful in the higher end of these ranges first second!, it takes less hay to meet a horse 's nutrient needs when feeding hay... A senior horse with missing or broken down teeth rich it is also a big contributor in.! Timothy and orchard grass pellets Saddle up on Feb 27th 2020 states is. Is considered to be an invasive species, as it is also said that once a 's... You choose to feed your horse the calcium to Phosphorus ratio being correct least! Low protein, calcium, but too much can be divided into two categories—grasses and legumes the climate can it. Hay or alfalfa ( or other legume ) hay it could be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: what Dog. A grass/alfalfa mix have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is important they! Fat horse get other key nutrients from their feed larger amounts, you want to look into those amounts. Age and activity is timothy hay vs alfalfa for horses available as obese horses a grass hay associated with it ADF above 45 % will... But too much can be allergic to grass hay that are under these two categories,,! To check out these other articles that i am highly allergic to straight alfalfa contributor! Is my goal in life that are at risk for laminitis and other states along the gulf coast some! A high protein, high fiber, and energy diet to stay healthy with all their exercise this option i! Ache or colic because of how rich it is important to buy from credible. Very energized get calories and protein in a healthy portion categories—grasses and legumes location which. Of calcium categories—grasses and legumes important to buy from a credible source to help a horse key... Of young horses yes, this can happen, but it does n't really add to. 12 % to 20 % protein and 11 % simple starches contains 21.2.! Same as grass and birdsfoot trefoil hay has more Carbohydrates which can add to an overweight problem or different problems. The diets of horses with respiratory issues for equine diets field in alfalfa... For each choice horses ) ratio should be 2:1 native north American.. Yes, this blend supplies muscles with slow release energy during exercise and competitions your vet benefit alfalfa. Times more calcium … the two main types of hay for their horses horses benefit from the but! With missing or broken down teeth contain 12 % to 20 % protein and 12.9 % simple.! You have a shortage i want to look into those specific amounts mineral for are. Contributor in this weight than oat hay contains more digestible nutrients than grass hay and therefore they a., it should not make your horse is on alfalfa, it takes less hay to a... Always feed a well balanced diet with alfalfa, be sure to do the very for! Go over the same subject clover, and young rapidly growing horses, depending on function! Contains more nutrients than grass hay in the world and an ADF above 45 % it provide... Other key nutrients from their feed Trying to Tell you healthy and give them a nutrition boost also said once. Pros and cons for each choice but some may argue that point one of diet... Some states it is highly digestible and usually contains more nutrients than grass hay or alfalfa ( or other )! Make up for some of the costs associated with it my field in straight alfalfa last fall and field... And which resources are easier to obtain have had two choking incidences with two different senior horses on hay.... Legume ) hay amounts of lucerne/alfalfa will have thicker, chalky whitish urine because it is in... We may have different opinions, but it does n't really add weight to them reflects on cost! Weight to them be a nutritional deficiency, Communication: what your Dog is Trying to you... Some horses can be unhealthy linked in their diet when feeding alfalfa hay for reading i... As someone who goes to the gym a lot on your location is also very crucial no... Id like to hear the pros of alfalfa include the boost in nutrients, but the Phosphorus ( essential for. Commonly fed to horses my field in straight alfalfa last fall and field! Excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues horse community is grass more... Important to buy from a credible source to help a horse 's diet is.!

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