Alfalfa/lucerne - the cons - Page 2
 
 

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Alfalfa/lucerne - the cons

This is a discussion on Alfalfa/lucerne - the cons within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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        12-12-2013, 02:37 AM
      #11
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    of healthy, long-lived horses in southern Arizona, virtually all of which have no access to pasture and most of which eat some amount of alfalfa, certainly DOES indicate that eating alfalfa or not having pasture is not harmful to horses.
    Well I'd want more than anecdotal stuff to make any hard & fast judgement, especially a judgement that opposes so much anecdotal & other evidence. But again IMO the article/major problems seem to be about feeding alfalfa solely, not as part of a balanced ration, or in appropriate amounts. And no one to my knowledge ever suggested lack of pasture was harmful, but while yes, feeding grain & such is more problematic, there is plenty of evidence to show that allowing horses to go hungry for long periods is indeed harmful.

    Quote:
    Like most mammals, horses adapt. And in fact, most horses are the result of my years of selective breeding, including the ability to live on infrequent meals.
    Utter phooeyness! For one, to my knowledge, no one breeds for adaptability of diet & infrequent feeding. If it were true, why are so many problems endemic & due to diet & management that they should have 'adapted' to... or by the sounds of it, you think they should have evolved for.

    Quote:
    There is nothing even remotely natural about the American diet, yet we are living much longer and staying in reasonable health much longer than our ancestors.
    Um, then you may be shocked to learn that it seems, with Western lifestyles & diets, humans too are suffering the ill effects & actually on the whole, the most recent generations aren't expected to live as long as their parents. There are bizarre 'diseases' that you may not have heard of, called type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Cushings, etc that aren't a rarity these days & there's a distinct possibility they could even be related to diet.
    SueNH and Merlot like this.
         
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        12-12-2013, 06:04 AM
      #12
    Started
    Alfalfa is over twice the price of a bale of mixed grass hay here. Most bales average around $4, alfalfa if you can find it is around $9.
    I don't bother trying to get any because I get 850 lb. Round bales of good clean mixed grass for $30.

    I do know it takes more fussing and care to grow here. There used to be a big field that had tons of alfalfa down the road from me. When a less meticulous person took over the care and haying of the field the alfalfa all but petered out within a couple years. The actual owner lives in another state and hadn't seen the field for a couple years and threw a fit last year when she saw it going to just grass and weeds. The hay guy got with the program and cut the weeds short and fertilized and put the lime to it. The few remaining clumps of alfalfa took off but alas I see he is reverting to form and I imagine next year I will see less again.

    I know I've attempted to hand seed some in a few spots in my pasture and have yet to have any sprout. Without me putting the fertilizer and lime to it alfalfa isn't going to happen. Since timothy, orchard and other grasses grow so easily it isn't worth the hassle.
         
        12-12-2013, 09:33 AM
      #13
    Trained
    "For one, to my knowledge, no one breeds for adaptability of diet & infrequent feeding."

    Actually, according to you, many do. If infrequent feeding causes colic, then colic killing horses early over the last 1000 years should have evolved the modern horse into one capable of handling infrequent feedings.

    "with Western lifestyles & diets, humans too are suffering the ill effects & actually on the whole, the most recent generations aren't expected to live as long as their parents"

    Most of my relatives lived to 85+, some into their 90s. That was rare at one time. Death takes us all, but our modern diets seem to be resulting in much larger people who are living long lives and staying active into their 70s and 80s. In WW2, the average American soldier was 5'7" and weighed 140-145 lbs. Compare that to the folks we have roaming the Wal-marts today.

    Humans did not evolve eating 3 meals a day. Yet we seem to be thriving on regular meals, and eating far more meat than we once would have been likely to get.

    "The research suggests that while genetics plays a small role in shaping human mortality, the key in driving up our collective age lies with the advent of medical technologies, improved nutrition, higher education, better housing and several other improvements to the overall standards of living."

    Human Life Span Took Huge Jump in Past Century | Longevity & Odds of Dying | LiveScience
         
        12-12-2013, 11:06 AM
      #14
    Started
    Children's Life Expectancy Being Cut Short by Obesity - NYTimes.com

    Life expectancy to drop for first time in 1000 years - Health - www.smh.com.au

    And the list could go on and on. We are eating ourselves to death but that's a whole 'nother subject.


    We might be living longer than our parents but is the quality of life there? They can make you limp along with rampant diabetes nearly forever but your legs hurt and you are loaded with sores. Or you come down with Alzheimers and you don't remember your life or your loved ones. Both are diseases that have taken a sharp rise.

    Horses are living longer now. When I was a teen they were old anytime after 15-17 yrs. Now they are living regularly into their 30's and staying useful. Some even making it to 50. But I seriously doubt you see this doubling of lifespan in the wild herds. Might be a few who make it to ripe old age just like reports of humans in ancient Egypt or medieval France making into their 80's but it's not the norm. Rameses the great and Eleanor of Aquitaine made it to ripe old age but I doubt they ever had to worry about the next meal. Godfred, the barley farmer was out of luck at 40.
    loosie likes this.
         
        12-12-2013, 06:12 PM
      #15
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    
    If infrequent feeding causes colic, then colic killing horses early over the last 1000 years should have evolved the modern horse into one capable of handling infrequent feedings.
    Yes, theoretically that could work, like the argument 'we've bred the hooves off horses'. If people had been selectively breeding only horses that don't die of colic in the face of bad management. But that is not reality, just like we haven't evolved ourselves to thrive on tobacco smoke, for eg. I'm also no geneticist but I suspect such fundamental changes such as those would take a LOT of selective breeding to come about.

    Quote:
    Death takes us all, but our modern diets seem to be resulting in much larger people who are living long lives and staying active into their 70s and 80s.
    Hmm, larger... many that look like they have entire double bed doonas under their clothes. I am actually aware of what you have said, but you mustn't have noticed that stats are showing the 'tide has turned' in that regard & for the first time in many decades, our diets & lifestyles are causing shorter &/or unhealthier lives. Would be a lot more so if it weren't for modern medicine being able to counter so much.

    Anyway, the basic point is, there is HEAPS of (anecdotal & otherwise) evidence to show that there are indeed 'cons' to things such as overfeeding protein, grossly imbalanced nutrition and in causing horses to go hungry for substantial & regular periods. Well enough for me to think it's a good idea to avoid doing those things if at all possible. If you disagree with or ignore the evidence & choose to keep doing things like that, it's your prerogative(unfortunately for your horses IMO).
         
        12-12-2013, 06:46 PM
      #16
    Green Broke
    The only hay for my girls is 1st cutting timothy! When I only had Star, I fed what she had previously - 2nd cutting with loads of alfalfa. "Hmmm.. why is she chunky?", I then thought. (I don't feed my horses grain, btw) Then I got my 1st Morgan, Laney, and she blew up like a balloon, gained a giant crest, and almost foundered! (she had only had 1st cutting previously). When I see a red flag, I heed it! Nothing in my barn from then on except timothy hay, and an awesome loose mineral I give daily, which was suggested by my farrier. :)

    ** And free-choice salt always available of course
         
        12-15-2013, 11:02 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Hmmm Alfalfa - (we call it Lucerne here in NZ) (the feeding of) can cause major problems here in NZ and here is why...
    Lucerne is very high in potassium. Add this to a diet that is permanently high in potassium due to our grass being green and growing all year round (in most places here) and you have a major mineral imbalance which causes all sorts of problems.
    Also it contains photodynamic pigments - These are the pigments present in all grasses but much more so in the dark green ones such as rye-grasses, clovers, lucerne, St John’s Wort, Buttercup and plantain. They make these plants the darker green colour. These pigments fluoresce, are activated by light, and are known to cause photophobia and photosensitisation. (Also a major cause of 'sun burn and mud fever)
    Add to this the fact that Lucerne has a high phyto-estrogen content. In this respect it is similar to clovers and has the potential to upset the cycling of mares and cause other reproductive problems.

    That being said, for elderly horses, where there is a risk of choke from stalky hay, lucerne is great as they can suck the leaves off the plant
    loosie likes this.
         
        12-15-2013, 11:26 PM
      #18
    Trained
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Merlot    
    These pigments fluoresce, are activated by light, and are known to cause photophobia and photosensitisation.
    Sure I have a study somewhere on deficiency/imbalance of Mg in that regard too, of which a high Ca diet(such as too much lucerne) will also cause...
         

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