Some of the more common grass hays include timothy, brome, orchard grass and bluegrass. With this in mind, check out our previous blog posting here and here regarding how to feed your horse, and always measure the amount of feed that is right for your specific situation. The Calcium in Alfalfa is higher, but the Phosphorus is about the same as grass hay, which could lead to an imbalance in the diet of a given horse. Most of the highly digestible nutrients in forages are present in the leafy part of the forage. Two primary factors that influence forage quality are nutrient concentration and nutrient digestibility. Neither does Bermudagrass hay or Teff hay. Alfalfa actually has slightly lower ESC, starch, and sugar than Timothy Hay. And in fact, it is usually a lower carbohydrate feed than most grass hays, making alfalfa ideal for feeding to horses with special needs like insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, laminitis, or even PSSM. Become a Partner. Orchardgrass has been cultivated for pasture and hay since colonial times and has been an important forage in horse husbandry since then. • Alfalfa Hay can mix with Timothy up to a 50:50 ratio. It is endophyte free … It has a consistent and balanced The compromise for many U.S. horses is a good quality grass-alfalfa mix hay. While grass hay is lower in protein and calcium it is still a great source of feed for most horses. Teff, a new type of grass hay, is touted to be an ideal choice for many horses (see sidebar at right). As a result, if you fed your horse enough alfalfa to make them feel full, then you would likely be feeding them too much energy in their diet, and they could certainly act “too hot”. Timothy and other grass hays tend to be lower in energy and protein and higher in sugars than alfalfa and other legumes, but the only way to know the nutrient value of hay is to test it. It’s also a much maligned feed. 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. The Hay Wars: The Truth About Grass Hay vs. Alfalfa Hay, http://www.mvsequine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/mvslogo1.gif, https://www.mvsequine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/horsegrazinginfieldviaPublicDomainPhotosFlickr-500x198.jpg. Orchard grass is a cool-season grass hay. Much of this tradition is due to the fact that Timothy was one of the first Timothy grass usually yields just two cuttings per year For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage Orchard grass and timothy have similar nutrient profiles, so you might be able to find an orchard grass hay with lower sugar levels that provides fewer calories than what you are currently feeding. While this has led to the thought that alfalfa is a “richer” feed then grass, it does not mean that it has more carbohydrates. Timothy Grass is also a rich source of fiber. With three cuttings instead of two cuttings, Orchard Grass produces consistent soft texture hay The best hay for horses depends entirely on the horse. Grass: Most commonly timothy, orchard, Kentucky bluegrass, bromegrass, and tall fescue. Timothy Grass contains a moderate amount of protein, usually testing at approximately 8% protein. in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. Timothy hay also measures at the low end of the normal range for starch, measuring between 1.5 percent and 4 percent. Alfalfa Hay is also higher in Calcium, with about 3 times as much as Grass Hay. ©2020 Standlee Premium Products, LLC® All Rights Reserved. You can supply protein and energy in the … Because it matures early in the growing season when the weather is wet, it can be susceptible to mold. 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. I would go with orchardgrass if you're going to plant grass in it. The impression that alfalfa makes a horse hot is usually the result of an improper amount of alfalfa being fed. We tried orchard grass here and it was so rich it gave over half of the horses the poopies. Some common forage species fed as hay to horses include the following: Timothy Hay The higher calorie content of Orchard Grass is a result of higher fiber digestibility compared to Timothy Grass. ESC is generally 4.2-8.2% and starch is around 0.8-3.2%. Orchard Grass is a highly palatable grass with a high nutrient content. Two of the most popular are Grass Hay (usually Timothy Grass or Orchard Grass) and Alfalfa Hay. Much easier to spray for weeds when there is o-grass vs timothy. Grass Hays are generally lower in overall nutrition than alfalfa hay, but this makes grass hay ideal to meet the needs of filling a horse up and making them feel full, while still meeting their nutrient needs. Nutritional values of grass hays vary greatly depending on harvest conditions. We're not around right now. You might choose to mix in a legume hay for extra protein, or you might pick a less nutrient-rich grass hay for a super easy-keeper. High quality Equi-analytical laboratories analyze feeds for hay producers as well as horse professionals around the country, and their 10 year averages are a good baseline for nutrition values. Others worry about the Calcium to Phosphorus ratio being too high. What kind to buy? We just stayed with the good quality local grass hay. Communities Served (exceptions apply) – Arvada, Aspen Park, Broomfield, South Boulder, Conifer, Evergreen, Gilpin County, Golden, Idaho Springs, Lakewood, Morrison, Pine, Shaffer’s Crossing, Wheat Ridge. Orchard cut late can be tough. Hay hay and more hay. Roughage is one of the most important parts of a horses’ diet, and a good source of roughage can provide almost all of a horses nutritional needs, outside of water. Nutritional values of grass hays vary greatly depending on harvest conditions. This quality pasture seed mix has a good profile. 12 Days of Standlee Christmas - Prizes every day December 12th - 23rd - ENTER NOW, Dr. Stephen Duren, Performance Horse Nutrition and Standlee Premium Western Forage® Nutritional Consultant. Does My Performance Horse Need Hock Injections? Contains perennial rye grass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Timothy, orchard grass, and white clover. grasses cultivated for horse hay. The hay is a late-maturing high fiber bunchgrass with a relatively low protein content. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. In about 1720, American farmer Timothy Hanson began to promote this grass as a hay crop in North America, and it has kept his name ever since. Like any other preserved forage, the quality of orchardgrass hay depends on multiple factors, primary of which are cultivation and harvesting techniques. These two factors along with its traditional popularity limit the supply of Timothy In both of these examples, it may be difficult to meet the horse's daily nutrient demands consistently, and behavioral problems associated with boredom can occur. They get alfalafa as a treat but no horse in our barn is fed 100% alfalfa after the vet said that was bad for them. Return to our list of hay … However timothy has a shallow root system and will be damaged much more than the root system of late maturing orchardgrass. There are many, many myths out there, but here is the Truth about Grass Hay versus Alfalfa Hay. And it is here that we enter into contentious territory. 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