Switching to feed alfalfa
 
 

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Switching to feed alfalfa

This is a discussion on Switching to feed alfalfa within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Alfalfa or grass
  • Where can i buy a flake of alfalfa

 
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    08-19-2008, 12:38 PM
  #1
Yearling
Switching to feed alfalfa

I think I have decided to switch my horse's feed from Triple Crown Low Starch to alfalfa.

I am switching because they do not offer the Triple Crown Low Starch feed in the town I moved to. I have read that alfalfa is naturally low starch/low sugar so I figure that is my best choice for a horse with laminitic tendencies. I know that he could get obese easily on alfalfa because of the high protein so I need to be very exact about the quantity I feed.

I will be taking away his grain completely (except for the beet pulp). So how much and how often should I feed alfalfa? I've actually never fed alfalfa before.

I plan on switching him over the course of about 3 weeks...haven't figured out how to cut the flakes to smaller sizes so that he can start eating them on a gradual basis.

I've heard that he should get his alfalfa flake in the morning so that the protein levels will be there for energy for his work-out?

Other parts of his diet include...grass hay twice a day...sometimes with a small lunch snack of grass hay too...and beet pulp twice a day.

So sample diet:

Morning feed- flake of grass hay (5 lb.), flake of alfalfa (10 lb?), beet pulp
Lunch feed- flake of grass hay (5 lb)
Night feed- flake of grass hay (5 lb), beet pulp

What do you think?

Also he is in a bare lot right now...no pasture
     
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    08-20-2008, 01:59 PM
  #2
Yearling
That looks like lots of food. We currently feed about 5 pounds of alfalfa a day. Ours are not ridden everyday and pretty easy keepers so they do great on local grass hay.

I would split the alfalfa into two meals of 5 pounds each and adjust the grass hay at each feeding. 10 pounds at one feeding is a fair bit.

So I would do:

Morning 5 pounds local/5 pounds alfalfa
Lunch; 5 pounds grass
Dinner 5 pounds grass and 5 pounds alfalfa

I would also suggest you get yourself a hanging scale and weigh the alfalfa. You'd be surprised how much a flake can weigh. I've pulled off 12-14 pound flakes.

Go really slow when adding a richer feed like alfalfa, I would be introducing it over a 4-5 week period, one pound at a time. It is tough to pull apart and a bit messy but I use the sweepings as part of the introduction, I throw them on top of some grass hay.
     
    08-20-2008, 02:03 PM
  #3
Started
What about his vitamins and minerals??

Why not offer him free choice Grass hay and a good vitamin/mineral supplement or ration balancer???


The protein will NOT make him gain weight!! Protien builds muscle
     
    08-20-2008, 02:32 PM
  #4
Yearling
Forgot to add, is your beet pulp molasses free? If not then I wouldn't be feeding it to a horse with laminitis issues. At the very least I would add water, press the beet pulp, drain and repeat until the water was coming off clear.
     
    08-20-2008, 04:34 PM
  #5
Yearling
Beet pulp is molasses free...as far as I know...it does drain clear when it is soaked

I thought 10 lb might be a bit much...I may start with 5 lbs. Of alfalfa a day then...I was just shooting out a number

I have a hanging scale...but have only used it for grain...I will have to work out some sort of hay bag weighing system contraption

Peggysue...he gets free choice mineral supplement in a seperate bucket...I didn't list it because I don't consider it a "feed" as it is an entirely seperate agenda...and unfortunately free choice grass hay is a little expensive at $8 a bale...and laminitic horses shouldn't have anything "free choice" really...you have to watch them very carefully. And I am not trying to make him gain weight...I would like a little more muscle...so I want the protein.
     
    08-20-2008, 05:13 PM
  #6
Started
Actually yes Lamitic horses can have free choice grass hay just not pasture :) I have one that I deal with daily

Why don't you look at a ration balancer ?? Most of the vitamins/mierals he will need low sugar and only 1lb a day

Is the alfalfa cheaper then the grass hay in your area??
     
    08-21-2008, 01:03 PM
  #7
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggysue
actually yes Lamitic horses can have free choice grass hay just not pasture :) I have one that I deal with daily

Why don't you look at a ration balancer ?? Most of the vitamins/mierals he will need low sugar and only 1lb a day

Is the alfalfa cheaper then the grass hay in your area??
My horse does not have laminitis...he just has every pre-disposing factor FOR laminitis...therefore I make my decisions on his feed based on keeping him on a low sugar starch diet. This is a competition horse...ie can't have a hay belly from free choice and needs more protein than grass hay and ration balancer will provide. Im sorry...Im blaming this on the postpartum hormones...and don't mean to be rude...but I was asking specifically about amounts that people fed their horses alfalfa...as that is what I have decided to feed. I was not asking for opinions on other feed choices sorry for the confusion...sometimes its hard to get the whole story on these forums...as you think it but don't type it...
     
    08-21-2008, 02:00 PM
  #8
Green Broke
My guy is on roughly 8 lbs of alfalfa divided into 3 feedings (he's on the cubes though, don't know if that's different)

Boo is starting to get some alfalfa in his diet, too - I started him out with a double handful and am working my way up from there :)
     
    08-21-2008, 02:29 PM
  #9
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by hotreddun
I thought 10 lb might be a bit much...I may start with 5 lbs. Of alfalfa a day then...I was just shooting out a number

I have a hanging scale...but have only used it for grain...I will have to work out some sort of hay bag weighing system contraption
I would split the 5 pounds into two feedings to start.

I use old feed bags on the hanging scale, poke a hole in the top to hang. Also those garden tote bags with handles work great too. Cheap!
     

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