High Protein Hay? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By Sharpie
  • 2 Post By Left Hand Percherons
  • 1 Post By karliejaye
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post #1 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Central Oregon, USA
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High Protein Hay?

So I just read an ad in my local cl for 1st cutting 2014 hay!!!! I am so happy hay season is here and I can get more hay! If you have read any of my other threads recently I am sure you know Chief has been battling diarrhea which we have attributed to sand ingestion. But then I ran out of my meadow hay and the boys are just on oat hay until I can buy 2014 stuff. Now both boys have softer than normal piles

Now this stuff is baled and put up EARLY for over here, which makes me think it should be very palatable and may help. My only question is he mentions it is high protein. I just emailed him to try and get a number other than the vague "high".

My question: Is high protein good, bad, indifferent?
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post #2 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 11:13 AM
Join Date: May 2009
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Unless your horse has kidney issues, high protein in hay will not be a problem. If there is more protein than they need in their diet, they will burn the excess for energy. It will, however, result in higher urea levels in their urine, which can make for more ammonia as it breaks down. None of which matters if you're cleaning stalls like you ought to be or they're turned out, but it can make for nasty smells, breathing difficulty, and be worse for hooves if the horses are standing in dirty stalls for a long time. If they hay is high protein, you also don't have to worry about adding any extra in the form of supplements or pelleted feeds. I fed hay that was 16-18% protein for a while, which is quite high, which is nice for older animals that need a little help building or maintaining muscle, or for animals in work for the same reasons. Still quite a bit higher than they need, but not problematic.
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post #3 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks, Sharpie. That was what I was thinking, but I get my nutrition stuff mixed up in my head so much i wanted to make sure I was on the right track.
Neither gelding has any known kidney disorders and luckily they are on a large drylot, soon to be paddock paradise with a run in which they never pee in.
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post #4 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 12:40 PM
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High protein means nothing unless they tested it and know the value which they obviously haven't done or they would of told you the values. 1st cutting alfalfa is NEVER going to be "high" protein. Higher than grass? Sure but not dairy quality 3,4,5th...cutting with 18% or more and a RFV of 150+. 1st cutting will have weeds, grass and doesn't have the leaf later cutting have. Mixing it with the remaining oat hay will make a near perfect diet.
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post #5 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 12:46 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Location: Central Oregon, USA
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Point of clarification: It is "mixed grass hay" not alfalfa :)
I also asked him to please specify what grasses are in the mix, since bluegrass, fescue, brome, orchard, timothy are all grown around here and have different nutritonal content.
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post #6 of 7 Old 05-19-2014, 02:16 PM
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Average grass is going to be 10% while "high" would be around 15%. Not even a blip on the radar.
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post #7 of 7 Old 05-28-2014, 08:08 AM
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Oat hay is often high sugar, especially if there are any oats in it. Soaking can leach out some sugar. Conventionally excess protein has been thought not a problem - just creates rich urine! - but not so sure about that... But while I think 'poorer' grade(eg not 'improved' & fertilised) hay is better for horses, whatever grass hay, so far as I know, is all that high in protein. Alfalfa & other legumes are though & nutritional balance of feed is important.
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