09-11-2010, 12:51 PM
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I've been feeding oat hay after a long talk with a reputable and knowledgeable shire breeder. Two of the drafts in my pasture coliced when the owner was feeding primarily alfalfa. One of them died. Not to say that alfalfa was to blame, but it makes you wonder. The shire breeder is completely against feeding only alfalfa. He does get real fancy with supplements, though.
One reason I like the oat is because the drafts eat the goods from it (grain stalks) and leave the rest when satisfied. They come back through out the day and "graze" on the left overs. I like that they can keep their gut more constantly working through the day. It's a bit better than free-feeding, as you still give them an allotted amount that you can adjust. Our horses get too fat when free fed and we worry about founder.
My pasture mate started feeding alfalfa in the morning and oat at night. I'm unsure as to why. Probably because she's trying to prepare them for a cart show.