Many of you will wonder, what type of hay is best for horses? Hay analysis can tell you what a hay does and does not have and whether or not you need to be supplementing with something that is missing from your horse’s diet. Hay can be broken down into two main categories: grass (e.g. If you have a grass-legume pasture for horses where alsike clover is a problem, the clover can be removed by spraying with the herbicide Banvel/Banvell II (dicamba). 700 Bales of Other Fescue. The application should be made when the clover is actively growing but before it gets too large. Alfalfa hay should never be fed to animals with urinary tract problems. Fescue Toxicosis in Horses . If that weren't enough, it is also exceedingly productive under that broad temperature range. Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Both the mare and the foal can be affected. Typical grass hays can range from 8% to 18% NSC. Different ages, classes and workloads of horses require different levels of nutrients from the hay they eat. Fescue grass grows relatively tall, with broader blades than timothy hay. High endophyte fescue pastures are tough on grazing cattle during late spring/early summer. Alfalfa is the predominant type of hay harvested in the U.S. About 40 percent of U.S. hay acreage, 55 percent of hay production and 60 percent of hay value over the past five years has been alfalfa and alfalfa mixtures. Not … Crude protein values can be as high as 18 to 19 percent. 950lb. Each type of hay falls into one of two categories: legumes and grasses. © Eastern Tennessee State University. Legume hay is more easily digested than grass hay, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the horse. White and landino clovers are usually grown for pasture. The majority of horses consume harvested hay as the largest part of their diet. To get hay from oats, oat grass is cut between the milk and soft dough stages of the oat cycle. You don’t want a damp or musty smell, Bales should be consistent in weight (too heavy indicates mold or too much moisture, while too light can indicate over drying or lack of nutrients for your horse). Note that the following descriptions are generalizations. © Rasbak. Because of the potential for problems, mares should not be fed tall fescue hay or pasture during the last 90 days of gestation. Tall fescue is a grass which grows on approximately 35 million acres of land in the United States. Exceptionally drought tolerant, it grows under a wider temperature range than just about any other grass. Clover hay is usually mixed with grass hays. It is grown on an estimated 35 million acres in the U.S. Fescue is a type of plant native to many regions. Timothy grass hay is commonly fed to horses, as well as cattle. This hay is sometimes referred to as coastal hay and is a shorter plant with fine blades of grass. The calcium to phosphorus ratio is about 6:1 and must be considered when feeding young, growing horses. Fields of tall fescue are easily established, tolerate close grazing, handle heavy horse traffic, and resist weeds, insects, and disease. Generally not recommended for horses because of the potential toxicity. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. See Full Listing. A number of factors come into play when choosing the right type of hay for your horse. Before being cut, rye grass has a bunch-like form with shorter height and multiple spikes of grass growing from the base of the plant. Before feeding fescue hay to pregnant mares, a horse owner should make sure that the hay is free of the endophyte fungus. It is as nutritious as Timothy hay, and its value can be increased by growing it with a legume. Oat hay, like all grass hays, meets the nutritional needs of herbivores that need high fiber and low protein. In horses, fescue toxicity can cause reproductive problems. Additionally, the stalks can be thick so some horses won’t eat it because of texture. Oat hay is best cut when the oat seed is out of the milk stage and into the dough. Not all hay is made equally, and each horse has its own preferences. It brought an end to many … Clover hay can cause "slobbers" in horses. It's the fungus that's toxic to the fetus. Fescue is fine for horses with the exception of pregnant broodmares. The various animal symptoms from grazing endophyte-infected tall fescue are known collectively as fescue toxicosis. Feeding cattle, horses and other livestock requires farmers dedicated to producing high quality, nutritious hays. Oftentimes, the hay that a horse enjoys the most is the one they are most accustomed to. Grass hay comes in many varieties and the best hay can vary from horse to horse. Click here to get started.. Not endophyte resistant - but straight up tall fescue? The first cutting is typically preferred for feeding to horses as it has longer and harder fiber length, as well as longer seed heads. If cured correctly, vitamin C content will be high. , « The Most Comfortable Cowboy Boots That You Can Wear All Day, What Barn Chores Do You Need To Do Every Day? + Free Printable Barn Chores Checklist ». This fungus grows and lives in contaminated fescue and when ingested by your horse, toxicity will develop. Welcome! More known as a grain crop, oat hay is a popular hay in the western United States where dryland farming is employed. Care should be taken as a number of health problems may occur if your horse eats improperly baled clover hay. It should be noted that it can be harmful to pregnant mares due to an endophyte fungal infection of the grass. This typically indicates that it has a good flavor. © Henrik Sendelbach. Most horse owners are familiar with only a few types of hay, depending on the part of the country in which they live. Both the mare and the foal can be affected. Hay should be harvested in such a way the time between mowing and baling is minimized. There are many types of hay that you can feed to horses. Fescue is rarely raised exclusively as hay intended for horses. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Alfalfa, Clover). © Bidgee. It is a good source of copper and zinc and has a good balance of protein and energy. The symptoms of alsike poisoning vary and susceptibility seems to depend on the area where the clover is grown and the individual horse. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. Being comfortable with your finances is important for everyone, but especially when you have such an expensive habit. Heating will occur and may reduce forage quality, resulting in musty or moldy hay; and in the worst case, it can cause spontaneous combustion. NSC is present in forages that supply fiber in the horse’s diet. This popular hay is available in the warmer and more humid climates of the South. Its low levels of starch and sugar (below 12%). Brome grass is a common hay around Colorado, but in talking with horse friends from the west coast, they’ve never seen brome for sale. 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. We will explore all the types of hay that are commonly fed to horses. The increased concentration of protein in legume hay can greatly increase the energy for a horse eating it. If you really want to know what is in your hay, have it tested! Pricing is highly regional. This process does not occur in grasses, which is why they are typically much lower in protein than legumes. Hay and other roughages provide nutrients and satiety for your horse. Timothy, bluegrass, orchardgrass, teff, bermudagrass, fescue, reed canarygrass, ryegrass, smooth bromegrass, sorghum, sudan, switchgrass for horses. However, a vast array of hays are commonly fed to horses in the United States, including timothy, orchard, alfalfa, coastal, oat, fescue, clover and rye, to name just a few. An Overview of Equine Feeds and Supplements, Lecithin Inhibits Bute-Related Ulcers in Horses, Is an All-stock 12% Protein Feed Mix Safe For My Horse …, What Is an n-3 PUFA? For over 10 years now, cattlemen across the Southeast and Midwest have been able to witness the exceptional performance of MaxQ® in tall fescue. This bacteria “fixes” the nitrogen from the atmosphere into ammonia, then into ammonium which the plant can then use to make protein. https://www.economicalequestrian.com/2019/09/02/types-of-hay-for-horses When purchasing hay, it is best to make sure that it contains little or no alsike clover. This forage grows to 2-3 feet tall, and is easiest to grow when mixed with grasses. Welcome to the AAEP! Your email address will not be published. The increased calcium does mean that phosphorus may need to be supplemented, as noted above. If this is not a viable option, there are hormone stimulating drugs manufactured for mares which can counter the fungus’ effects on them. All rights reserved. It is lower in protein than some other grasses, so you must ensure a horse is getting enough protein in their diet if this is their only forage. Care must be taken to cut orchard grass hay at the proper stage, as older stands of orchard grass will produce course and less palatable hay. Keep in mind that even though some of these hays may sound better in their description, ultimately the best hay for your horse is the one they will eat. Timothy is not a very drought tolerant plant and does not respond well to excessive heat. Bermuda grass hay is used mostly in the southern United States. Light brown hay can indicate that the hay sat too long in the sun drying. 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). You can’t tell the NSC by looking at hay; you must get it tested. EquiMed does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is relatively palatable to horses and has a fine texture. What many owners may not realize is that there are some significant health risks associated with horses eating endophyte fungus-infected (El) tall fescue. Oat hay is also quite high in sugar, so it is not a good option for insulin resistant horses. Tall fescue is also a great perennial grass forage option for horse owners in the northern part of Georgia. Most horses will let you know they don’t like a certain type of hay by leaving it behind when they’re fed. Results indicated no differences in the average daily gain or wither height of the horses on fescue If horses don’t need additional grain, some people use a ration balancer to make sure a horse is getting all the nutrients they need from their diet. User Agreement and Privacy Policy. Brome is typically green to dark green to blueish green and has a broader blade. Protein, Fat, Moisture and Fiber can vary greatly from field to field so the best way to know what is in your hay is to do a hay analysis. 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 … Grass hay is exactly what it sounds like – a short leafy plant – while legumes are members of the pea family. The same stand of grass can be cut four or five times a year. Affected animals may show a staggering gait and urine dribbling. Fescue hay can cause toxicosis in pregnant mares when they eat tall fescue that is infected with an endophyte fungus, Acremonium coenephialum . Otherwise, the fescue is fine.. Timothy grows best in areas with abundant day length and moisture. Timothy grass is grown primarily in the northeastern portion of the United States and also in California and Nevada. #2 Alfalfa is a popular forage for horses, but it should never be the primary hay source as it contains high amounts of protein, which can stress the kidneys, and calcium, which can lead to major mineral imbalances. Some Bermuda hay is grown in the Imperial Valley of California, a region that provides the right conditions to grow top-quality Bermuda hay. Slobbers is excessive salivation that generally does not hurt the horse, but is not pleasant to be around. Because of palatability issues, horses often waste it, preferring to lie in it than eat it. Fescue . And do you have horse folks who will buy it? ), but don't judge a book by its cover! What type of hay do you feed your horses? Tall fescue provides plentiful yields and is low maintenance, flourishing under a range of management systems. We now understand, however, that excess protein in alfalfa is converted into energy compounds, and the nitrogen produced in this conversion must be eliminated as ammonia. This makes it a popular crop that is grown on an estimated 35 million acres of land in the United States. This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. Clover hays are similar to alfalfa hays because they are legumes. At the same time, poorly managed pastures supply little or no feed and frequently are the sourc… The third cutting is good hay, and the fourth and fifth cuttings begin to have more stems and fewer leaves. Compared to other nonruminant animals, the horse has a relatively small stomach, normal-sized small intestine and a large hind gut. It is also considered very good, economically priced roughage. Horse owners are warned not to allow horses to graze these plants as they may develop cystitis syndrome. As more stems are present, the quality of the hay decreases and palatability declines. Our review process includes an important veterinarian review, helping to assure the content is consistent with the latest understanding from a medical professional. Its high energy content compared to other roughage. So you see, the fescue itself isnt' the problem. There are some loose correlations between bermuda grass hay and colic. Fescue Grass Straw is also popular with dairy farmers in the export market and is successfully fed in the beef market. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. Learn More Even when it is, it is usually harvested at a late stage of maturity when palatability and nutrient value are low. Stems are slender and branch with a multitude of leaves. Timothy hay is 10% protein. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. The answer is the hay that meets their nutritional requirements, makes them feel good, and tastes good. 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