Hay Help

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Hay Help

This is a discussion on Hay Help within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Help with hay for horses

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    12-15-2008, 09:30 PM
Hay Help

I'm wondering what it means when a hay is sold as 15% alfalfa. My horse is about to be moved in with another mare who needs "35% alfalfa" during cold months, and 15% the rest of the year. If someone can explain it in technical terms, I can go from there.

Also, does 15% alfalfa sound okay for my mare? Who gets moderate, easy-going trail rides in good weather and stays outside most of the time. She's 15.2h, QH, arround 15yrs, and doesn't hold weight well. If you could just give me basic guidelines...

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    12-15-2008, 09:40 PM
It means the bale is made up of 15% alfalfa and 85% whatever else was in the field. Could be local grass or it could contain brome, timothy or whatever grows in your area. There's nothing wrong with feeding a moderate amount of alfalfa, it's an excellant forage. You would want to switch her over very slowly though, so you may want to ensure you have a supply of what she's used to getting.

We feed 4 pounds of alfalfa/grass daily to two 15.2 QH's. It's about 25%.
    12-16-2008, 01:41 PM
What G&K said hit it right on the head... I would like to really emphasis the slow transition to the higher level of hay. If you just dump the richer stuff for her you could run into problems like founder or colic. You may also see her have a little more energy as well.
    12-16-2008, 06:54 PM
Thanks. I'll be sure to change her over gradually.

    12-16-2008, 11:16 PM
Wow, I don't think we have Percentage hay here... We just have meadow/pasture hay, or full Lucerne, which is the same as your alfalfa... I feed my horses straight lucerne, unless they will eb on hay for a week or more, then I get soem pasture hay as well. We never have any problems feeding the straight lucerne... do you think that your hay may be richer or something?
    12-17-2008, 12:04 AM
Wild Spot, we do have mixes here in AUs but most of the time people don't really look into it. They just ask for "grass" or lucerne.

On my property we cut a rye, kentucky blue and clover mix. Its probably 45%, 45%, 10% respectively. But you can't really measure that in the individual bales.
    12-17-2008, 12:46 AM
Oh really? I know fo different pasture mixes, which I think is what you described? I had just never heard of a percentage lucerne. I suppose because most horses here are kept on pasture, feeding straight lucerne isn't as big a deal as if they were on stall board or the like.

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