Grass hay vs Alfalfa
 
 

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

Grass hay vs Alfalfa

This is a discussion on Grass hay vs Alfalfa within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Grass hay verses alfalfa to horses
  • Horse nutrition grain vs grass

Like Tree10Likes

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    04-14-2013, 10:24 PM
  #1
Weanling
Grass hay vs Alfalfa

Well its getting to the end of winter here and we're looking at about a month's worth of hay in our barn :( I've recently started adding alfalfa cubes to my horses' diet in an effort to stretch the hay at least until mid-May, when we can get a decent amount of hay in.

My question is, how many pounds of alfalfa cubes can replace how many pounds of regular timothy hay? Currently they're only getting very little and working up the poundage. When is it okay to start cutting hay back? Any insight is appreciated :)
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    04-14-2013, 10:52 PM
  #2
Green Broke
Technically you *can* feed alfalfa only although I wouldn't since there is some discussion on it being hard on their kidneys (primarily in young horses).

I try and feed no more than 1/3 alfalfa 2/3 hay. Have you thought about adding in timothy pellets?
Nokotaheaven likes this.
     
    04-14-2013, 11:03 PM
  #3
Weanling
Cubes can be used to replace hay at a 1:1 ratio, and can be substituted for a horse's entire forage ration. If your worried about replacing Timothy with alfalfa maybe you could look for the alf/Tim cubes. As far as how much alfalfa your horse can handle, that's an individual thing and the best way to figure it out is to gradually up the alfalfa and reduce the Timothy and judge for yourself how he looks and feels on a daily basis.
     
    04-14-2013, 11:22 PM
  #4
Weanling
Thanks, I think I will either try to get more timothy cubes or a timothy/alfalfa mix.

I haven't noticed much difference other than they seem much less interested in the timothy hay vs their alfalfa mush... But it's variety in a pretty boring diet lol
     
    04-14-2013, 11:32 PM
  #5
Green Broke
We don't feed alfalfa. We find it to be fattening to horses, and it can also cause laminitis. And horses that have had laminitis in the past are more suceptible to getting it again, so alfalfa will increase the chance of them getting it again... And since my horse has had laminitis, she can't have any alfalfa at all
     
    04-15-2013, 12:23 AM
  #6
Super Moderator
I use alfalfa/ timothy pellets go stretch minimal grain meals. If I would want to stretch my hay I would do it the same way. But give more pellets, soaked, together with whatever hard feed/supplements they're getting, during the day, and give hay for the night.
Alfalfa IS higher in calories, calcium and protein than grass hay, but does not cause laminitis. It is, in fact, lower in NSC than timothy or grass hay. It will get an already fat horse fatter and that can cause laminitis. But not because of the alfalfa, rather because of overfeeding.
Wallaby and aforred like this.
     
    04-15-2013, 10:26 AM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
I use alfalfa/ timothy pellets go stretch minimal grain meals. If I would want to stretch my hay I would do it the same way. But give more pellets, soaked, together with whatever hard feed/supplements they're getting, during the day, and give hay for the night.
Alfalfa IS higher in calories, calcium and protein than grass hay, but does not cause laminitis. It is, in fact, lower in NSC than timothy or grass hay. It will get an already fat horse fatter and that can cause laminitis. But not because of the alfalfa, rather because of overfeeding.
Thanks for the great info- I knew that alfalfa was higher in protein but didn't know it was higher in calories as well. My 2 geldings are not fat but my older mare is a solid 6, maybe 7 :( I'll need to rethink her diet
     
    04-15-2013, 10:41 AM
  #8
Super Moderator
Grass hay 900 calories per pound
Alfalfa 1190 calories per pound

Have you looked into slowfeeder nets?
I weighed all hay going in and what was leftover after 24hours for a month when feeding on the ground, and another month with the nets.
My horses went from 25 lbs/ head to 15. Both free choice. After the getting used to- phase they slowed down, eating little often, are much calmer, hardly say anything when their "sweetfeed"(soaked a-pellets and supplements) come, and blimp is steadily trimming down, the other two are perfect. Most amazing.
Slow Feeding Horses on Paddock Paradise Tracks - Paddock Paradise Wiki
aforred likes this.
     
    04-15-2013, 11:31 AM
  #9
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
Grass hay 900 calories per pound
Alfalfa 1190 calories per pound

Have you looked into slowfeeder nets?
I weighed all hay going in and what was leftover after 24hours for a month when feeding on the ground, and another month with the nets.
My horses went from 25 lbs/ head to 15. Both free choice. After the getting used to- phase they slowed down, eating little often, are much calmer, hardly say anything when their "sweetfeed"(soaked a-pellets and supplements) come, and blimp is steadily trimming down, the other two are perfect. Most amazing.
Slow Feeding Horses on Paddock Paradise Tracks - Paddock Paradise Wiki
Oh my gosh! I need that! I've been trying to feed on the ground off of rubber mats but they still waste so much! Thanks so much for that site!
     
    04-15-2013, 12:54 PM
  #10
Super Moderator
You're so welcome
I think these slowfeeders are the best thing since sliced bread, seriously.
kenda, aforred and disastercupcake like this.
     

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Eating grass, hay and alfalfa blocks but not grain? mathensa Horse Health 35 08-20-2012 04:11 AM
Timothy,Orchard Grass,Alfalfa, or mix? EquestEquine Horse Nutrition 15 10-26-2010 05:25 PM
Grass hay vs alfalfa for older hard keeper? AlmostThere Horse Nutrition 8 05-15-2010 06:28 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:17 PM.


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