The best type of hay that doesn't cause indigestion problems - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 05:58 AM Thread Starter
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The best type of hay that doesn't cause indigestion problems

What is the best type of hay that doesnt cause indigestion problems. I find Alfalfa or otherwise know as Lucerne give my horse diaohria
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 06:57 AM
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Alfalfa is not the best hay to feed straight. Its best when you have a good mix of grass and alfalfa. I believe alfalfa is too rich for their digestive systems. I would google this if you want a good answer. What is available in your area?
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 08:06 AM
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Here's a good reference web site: Safer Grass - A Resource for Equine Forage Nutrition

I feed mine a locally grown bermuda that us mixed with local grasses. I use alfalfa pellets as their "feed", mixed with a vit/min supplement and some flax. We have issues with blister beetles, so any alfalfa in the state is imported, and is very expensive... I would love to feed an alfalfa/mix that had about 25-30% alfalfa in it.
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 08:32 AM
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I have family with a 30 year old mare in excellent condition who has never been fed anything but straight alfalfa and pasture her entire life and has never had a single digestive issue. Their 10 year old is the same situation. I think it can depend on where you live and the make up of the alfalfa. I personally free feed my boy a low sugar orchard grass and he gets stable mix as well which does have some alfalfa in its pellet form. This is what I found worked best for him. I think it can depend on the particular horse and what they can tolerate well and maintain a good weight on.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 08:35 AM
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Keep in mind that alfalfa grown on the west coast isn't as rich as alfalfa grown in the midwest or on the east coast :)

That being said I like a good timothy/orchard grass hay :) Free choice of course

I have been called the NSC Nazi more then once ... I hate traditional feed methods of loading our horses up on grains and junk food :)
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-03-2010, 09:07 AM
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Depends on where you live. I'm in MD and orchard and timothy are most common here (and alfalfa and mixes). I feed straight timothy personally.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-04-2010, 03:05 PM
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I think horses are similar to us in the idea that everyone of us has a different metabolism, because horses do too. I have seen horses that live for 40 years eating straight alfalfa, and horses live 40 years eating grass out of a pasture. Personally, I've fed orchard/timothy mix, orchard/rye/oat mix, three way hay (oat, wheat, pasture grass), alfalfa/orchard mix, straight alfalfa, pasture grass, and bermuda. I have found that like others have said, orchard/timothy, first or second cutting, is really the best. I like rye mix if you can get the horse to eat it, and 3 way is another hay that is pretty good for most horses.
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post #8 of 11 Old 12-06-2010, 09:27 AM
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Satisfying the horse owner's wants and pocketbook is much harder than satisfying the horse! ;.)
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-10-2010, 11:57 PM
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For horses with digestive issues, usually timothy hay is by far the best. Orchard grass is good too, but has more sugar than timothy. I don't like feeding alfalfa, although many people swear by it-I think it is too high in sugar and it is technically a legume, not a grass. I personally don't feed ANY alfalfa-just timothy and bermuda grass hays. I have read that timothy is just about the ideal forage for horses' digestive systems. Also beet pulp is very good for horses.
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-11-2010, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horsemassage View Post
For horses with digestive issues, usually timothy hay is by far the best. Orchard grass is good too, but has more sugar than timothy. I don't like feeding alfalfa, although many people swear by it-I think it is too high in sugar and it is technically a legume, not a grass. I personally don't feed ANY alfalfa-just timothy and bermuda grass hays. I have read that timothy is just about the ideal forage for horses' digestive systems. Also beet pulp is very good for horses.
I don't believe alfalfa is high in sugar. High in calcium and protein, yes. But I have never heard of it being high in sugar.

Here in Arizona, the majority of horse owners feed straight alfalfa. It's hard to get anything else, except perhaps bermuda, which is quite a bit more expensive than alfalfa, oddly enough. I've been told it's because Arizona has a lot of dairy farms and the alfalfa is grown for the dairys, therefore it is the most common, cheapest hay we have available to us. Which really doesn't answer the original poster's question, sorry!
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