Feeding alfalfa? - Page 2
   

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health > Horse Nutrition

Feeding alfalfa?

This is a discussion on Feeding alfalfa? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horse hyped up on alfalfa
  • Feeding horses straight alfalfa

Like Tree6Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    10-05-2011, 06:56 AM
  #11
Green Broke
No that is completely false. Grass hay provides more heat than alfalfa. Alfalfa is a good hay to feed in hot climates
Posted via Mobile Device
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    10-05-2011, 08:30 AM
  #12
Showing
You don't want alfalfa to comprise the only hay in the diet because of the calcium content. A flake or two a day is fine but something else should be fed. A horse living on only alfalfa can develop a condition called Big Head, whereby his head increases in size altho this may take months to happen.
caseymyhorserocks likes this.
     
    10-05-2011, 10:47 AM
  #13
Green Broke
Wrong.

Big Head is caused by feeding more grain than hay. It is caused by an inverted calcium/phosphorus ratio. Feeding alfalfa as the only source of forage isnt going to cause big head. Like I said, there is no nutritional benefit to feeding grass with the alfalfa other than to add bulk and give the horse more variety. The horse is still getting everything it can get in grass hay through alfalfa. Only the benefit is you can feed less alfalfa than grass & get the same results. Alfalfa has a higher digestible energy content.
     
    10-08-2011, 08:33 PM
  #14
Yearling
Okay, thank you fpr setti g me straight
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    10-09-2011, 09:13 AM
  #15
Showing
.Delete, that was research I read, oh, 20 years ago. The recommendations were one or two flakes per day along with other hay.
     
    10-15-2011, 02:00 PM
  #16
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Delete.    
Wrong.

Big Head is caused by feeding more grain than hay. It is caused by an inverted calcium/phosphorus ratio. Feeding alfalfa as the only source of forage isnt going to cause big head. Like I said, there is no nutritional benefit to feeding grass with the alfalfa other than to add bulk and give the horse more variety. The horse is still getting everything it can get in grass hay through alfalfa. Only the benefit is you can feed less alfalfa than grass & get the same results. Alfalfa has a higher digestible energy content.
I havent heard of Big Head, but I do know that Alfalfa has a lot of calcium in it (if that's all they get they will have a serious in-balance) so if that's one of the main causes, then I guess could be possible... But I havent heard of that.. Kinda interesting disease I guess... :/
     
    10-15-2011, 10:03 PM
  #17
Green Broke
Big head happens when the posphrous levels are the same or more than the calcium because posphrous binds with calcium making it un able to be absorbed. A 2C:1P ratio is the norm an is sufficient. But 1:1 is when a dificency occurs
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    10-25-2011, 11:25 AM
  #18
Green Broke
I think the biggest danger of excess calcium is bladder stones- my vet just brought back a horse of hers that had been leased out for several years and fed primarily alfalfa and he had developed a bladder stone the size of a baseball

Bladder stones are rare in horses, and large ones like this even more so, but it's a risk of a long-term high-calcium diet.

As far as feeding a horse alfalfa until grass hay becomes available again, there shouldn't be a problem.

Alfalfa's reputation for being "hot" that you've heard is probably in reference to the horse's temperament. Some horses seem particularly sensitive to alfalfa and will get hyped up on it (TB's especially have this reputation), but it doesn't actually digest at a higher temperature in their gut.
     
    10-25-2011, 11:31 AM
  #19
Green Broke
Alfalfa has a high energy content so you can feed less of it if it and still get the same results as you would with alot of grass hay. IMO your actually saving money by feeding Alfalfa.
     
    10-25-2011, 11:52 AM
  #20
Green Broke
Sorry Saddlebag, Delete is right. You are confusing lack of calcium with excess calcium. Here is an excellent article I found on the net.

Living Legends - Horse Health - Nutrition

Alfalfa will actually prevent "big head" since "big head" is a sign of calcium deficiency. Feeding too much grain and bran without extra calcium can cause it. So the alfalfa actually prevents "big head."

I live in Arizona, and right or wrong, we have practically no other hay than alfalfa and bermuda. Right now I feed a mixture of both, but back in my boarding days the barn owners fed straight alfalfa, even in the 120F summers! No horse parished from straight alfalfa. As a matter of fact, they seem to thrive on it.

The only negative I have heard about alfalfa is that it may increase the chance of entroliths. But I have head the kidney thing is false, although the horse may drink more water with alfalfa to clear out the excess protien and calcium.

But alfalfa is a great hay for growing horses. I have a yearling who is thriving on it. He does get some bermuda as well, but I would say at least 60% or more of his diet is alfalfa.

If you can get a mix of alfalfa/grass, that is ideal. But don't be afraid to feed straight alfalfa. Those of us in the southwest do it all the time.

Like all feeds though, I would try to make the switch gradual as possible by mixing a bale of alfalfa with the existing hay before you feed alfalfa straight. It IS a rich hay. But the horses LOVE it and are very sleek and shiny. It keeps horses fat, so you don't want to feed it free-choice.
     

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Feeding Alfalfa Pellets & Beet Pulp Tremor Horse Nutrition 3 08-16-2011 01:36 AM
Feeding exclusively alfalfa hay? Wallaby Horse Health 14 12-05-2010 06:45 PM
Can I stop feeding Alfalfa? rosie9r Horse Health 11 08-27-2009 04:10 PM
Feeding straight alfalfa Britt Horse Health 10 07-09-2009 09:39 AM
Feeding Alfalfa cubes laceyf53 Horse Health 5 09-30-2008 10:08 AM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0