Feeding straight alfalfa - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 03:52 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding straight alfalfa

I bought a bag of alfalfa pellets the other day upon my friends insistence... She knew I was looking for feed and said that the alfalfa would help my horses keep weight on and stuff and that it was ok to feed it straight, with no other feed... I wasn't sure, but I went ahead and bought it anyway...

Anywho... is it safe to feed straight once a day, a pound a day...? Should I soak it first?

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post #2 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 04:15 PM
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Alfalfa is fine to feed straight; however, if your horse has never had any, you may want to mix it with your current feed for a few days just to avoid kinda shocking their system with the high fat/protien content. As for how much, just follow the recommendations on the bag at first then you can adjust it according to your horses needs. All my horses get straight alfalfa in the winter time (in the form of a big bale/constant access) and it does help them to keep weight on better than grass and IMHO, it is healthier than grain. I have never had a bout of colic or founder since we stopped feeding grain.

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post #3 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Ok. Thanks a bunch... I've always heard that it isn't good to feed alfalfa by itself from my uncles and other family members... I did notice that the alfalfa was about 7 dollars cheaper than the grain feed I normally buy... so I'm hoping that it 'satisfies' me enough to make the switch... I would rather go with the alfalfa on a permanemt basis, as it's so muh cheaper and seems a bit healthier too.

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post #4 of 11 Old 07-07-2009, 07:45 PM
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I zero graze alfalfa. Which means we cut it with a mower, blow it in a wagon daily and then let the horses eat it like that. We fork piles around the field so the horses don't bunch up. Yes straight alfalfa.
I also prefer 2nd of 3rd cut straight alfalfa for hay.
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post #5 of 11 Old 07-08-2009, 03:13 AM
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In the SouthWest, many horses are fed primarily or only alfalfa. Just make sure you introduce it slowly, as with any feed change (but I do think it's even more important concerning alfalfa to go slow)
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post #6 of 11 Old 07-08-2009, 12:16 PM
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I feed alfalfa pellets with no other feed, but with grass hay. A 3qt feed scoop will hold 3-3.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets. I need 1/2 to 1 scoop a day for maintenance, 1-3 scoops a day for weight gain. I add in a vitamin supplement to round out nutrition. Look for a complete vit/min supplement, especially one geared toward horses not on nay fortified feed. I add a little water, but only enough to make the powdered vitamins stick to the pellets.
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post #7 of 11 Old 07-08-2009, 12:36 PM
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The only thing I have noticed with feeding alfalfa cubes is that they eat it really fast and have nothing left after their rations done. With hay it takes more work to chew/eat it making it last longer, and since horses want and should graze all day, then the processed pellets go down really quick leaving nothing left to chew on. I'm not saying your aren't nutritionally giving your horse the same as a flake of alafalfa, but it just is gone in a second. Could you switch to hay or possibly A+M which contains more to chew on. If you don't agree with giving molasses mixed in or can't get straight alfalfa hay then by all means, alfalfa pellets are fine. I'm just saying the things that I noticed when we were stuck feeding hay cubes, It's like chinese food, they are hungry an hour later.

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post #8 of 11 Old 07-08-2009, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TroubledTB View Post
The only thing I have noticed with feeding alfalfa cubes is that they eat it really fast and have nothing left after their rations done. With hay it takes more work to chew/eat it making it last longer, and since horses want and should graze all day, then the processed pellets go down really quick leaving nothing left to chew on. I'm not saying your aren't nutritionally giving your horse the same as a flake of alafalfa, but it just is gone in a second. Could you switch to hay or possibly A+M which contains more to chew on. If you don't agree with giving molasses mixed in or can't get straight alfalfa hay then by all means, alfalfa pellets are fine. I'm just saying the things that I noticed when we were stuck feeding hay cubes, It's like chinese food, they are hungry an hour later.
It sounds like she's using it to supplement her hay.
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post #9 of 11 Old 07-08-2009, 05:36 PM
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I use alfalfa cubes to supplement my hay. I soak the cube thoroughly to avoid choke. My horses are getting about 5 pounds of alfalfa cubes a day, and the other hay from coastal bermuda + pasture. I do feed grain too. My horses are fed three times a day. They are spoiled ;)
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post #10 of 11 Old 07-09-2009, 01:03 AM
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I heard somewhere that some breeds are sensitive to alfalfa because it is higher in calcium, I think the breed it was the worst for was arabians because it causes them to colic.
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