Can I feed my horse alfalfa hay?

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.

How much alfalfa hay is it safe to feed a horse?

Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. of hay per day. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy.

Is alfalfa hay bad for horses?

It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content.

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Can you feed a horse just alfalfa?

Alfalfa is tasty to horses. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. … Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa’s high protein content. Alfalfa is also a rich source of calcium.

Can you feed horses free choice alfalfa?

Alfalfa or grain hays (such as oat or rye) can be fed free choice too, and most horses will probably regulate their intake of these as well. … Alfalfa and oat hays are often somewhat higher in calories so will put weight on many horses.

Is timothy hay or alfalfa better for horses?

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. For racehorses, fiber is a good cornerstone for any feeding program.

Does alfalfa hay cause gas in horses?

Horses should be consuming feed (hay or concentrate) for a minimum of 8-10 hours/day, with a maximum of 4-5 hours without food. … High-quality alfalfa can cause excess gas in some horses.

Do horses need alfalfa hay?

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.

Does alfalfa hay make a horse hot?

Alfalfa hay will make a horse hot, or crazy.

Not so, if fed appropriately. Alfalfa provides a significant amount of calories; however, an excess of calories in any form, whether from alfalfa, grain or oil, without the exercise to burn them, can result in an excessively energetic horse.

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Is alfalfa hay good for older horses?

The hindgut loses some of its ability to ferment fiber. 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.

Does alfalfa cause colic in horses?

Rich alfalfa hay can also cause colic, so we recommend feeding a grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix. Changes in management or a horse’s routine can be stressful and contribute to colic risk as well. … Intestinal parasites can lead to colic, particularly in the young horse.

How do you feed alfalfa cubes to horses?

Add alfalfa cubes to your horse’s diet gradually, as sudden dietary changes can cause health issues. If alfalfa cubes will be its primary feed, replace 1/4 of its old feed with alfalfa cubes. Mix the cubes with its old feed to get its digestive tract and taste buds accustomed to its new diet.

How much alfalfa cubes should a horse eat a day?

Alfalfa cubes are more appropriate either for lactating mares or growing horses and as a partial forage substitute. While up to 15 lbs or more can be fed per day, as little as 2 to 6 lbs of cubes per day can be used as a “hay extender” if only poor quality hay is available in limited quantities.

Will horses stop eating when they are full?

In general, horses will spend less time grazing good-quality pasture, but this is not always true. … Horses do not have the ability to control their eating so that they will stop eating when they have met their nutrient requirements. They will continue to eat, which can lead to digestive and lameness problems.

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What cutting of alfalfa is best for horses?

Third (and later) cut alfalfa, develops a higher leaf to stem ratio because of the slower growth during the cool part of the season. Therefore, third cut hay will usually have the highest nutritive value. Horses which are not accustomed to a good, leafy hay may experience flatulent (gaseous) colic or a loose stool.

What is the best hay to feed 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.

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