hay ??????????? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:39 PM Thread Starter
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hay ???????????

does anybody know the nutritional value of hay, I was told today "there is nothing in hay" and it is only used as a "belly filler" to satisfy the grazing need of the horse. I find it hard to believe that drying grass will lose its nutritional values completely. Thnx kev
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post #2 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:48 PM
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Hay does have nutritional value, some more than others, some richer than others. It also keeps your horse's system running continuously, keeps the stomach system going.
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post #3 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:49 PM
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LOL, love it when I hear that. Good quality hay can fulfill all of a horse's nutritional needs. Note that I said good quality. The things you may need to be worried about specifically depend on your region and the type of hay you're feeding. Some hays have very low protien or energy so if you have a horse that is worked more than a couple times a week it may need extra calories.

There is a really wide range of trace minerals in hay in every region, even from feild to field so it can be easy to supplement them. Also, after January 1st of the following year the Vitamin A and D in the previous year's hay is fairly negligible so you probably want to supplement that too. Ex. In January 2010 the hay harvested in Summer 2009 is low in A/D.

What area are you in? That may help people answer your question due the regional differences in grass types.
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post #4 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:50 PM
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each cutting can have different nutrients. You might be able to get a hay analysis, it will tell you what you need to supplement with (what they hay is nutrient poor in) if you buy hay in bulk its a good idea to do this.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:55 PM
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Smudger, the person who told you this apparently knows very little about hay.

Hay isn't just a 'filler' to keep horses happy. In fact, some horses get only hay and no grain, and are perfectly healthy.

Hay has a lot of nutritional value, but like grass, it will depend on the type of pasture, what's been seeded to grow, the time of year, and other factors for just how nutritious it is at any given time.

First, second, and third (and sometimes fourth) cuttings don't usually have the same nutritional value. Depending on the cut, some will be higher in starches than sugars, and others will be higher in sugars.

Fescue for example, should not be fed to pregnant mares in their last 3 months, because there's a fungus that grows on fescue that can damage the unborn foal. The mother could abort, or the foal born with physical deformities.

Hay isn't a one size fits all type of forage. You really have to study it to know what's in your hay and what time of year it was cut, in order to know whether or not it's the only feed necessary for your horses. Some will need supplemental grain rations, in order to make up for poorer quality hay.
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post #6 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:56 PM
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My fat miniature mare lives on hay and grass!
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 04:57 PM
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Minis and ponies are notoriously easy keepers, so should do better on lower quality grass/hay than a regular horse.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 07:03 PM
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others have stated the fact .. I am just laughing about someone telling you that hay has no nutritional value!

What does that person think most horses live on? Water and air?

:: Karley ::
Tucker WB/TB- 11 yr
Speedy QH/TB- 22 yr
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-29-2009, 07:23 PM
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LOL, I had one person tell me (regarding hay) that domestic horses just need "extra". I asked "Extra what?" They said, "Well, they just need extra. They aren't like wild horses."

*smacks head against table*
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-30-2009, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speed Racer View Post
Smudger, the person who told you this apparently knows very little about hay.

Hay isn't just a 'filler' to keep horses happy. In fact, some horses get only hay and no grain, and are perfectly healthy.
I can vouch for this! I feed only bermuda/timothy mixed hay. No supplements, no grain, no extra crap. My horses are in perfect health and have been for the past 10 years.

I suppose I should add that what you feed a horse does depend on what their profession is. I just ride trails for pleasure, so what I do isn't "hard work". Horses that are worked a lot or are undergoing vigorous training/prepping may need more than just hay because they're burning more calories. But more often than not one will find that hay suffices just perfectly.

Rachel


Last edited by dashygirl; 10-30-2009 at 11:55 AM.
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