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High protien alfalfa hay

This is a discussion on High protien alfalfa hay within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Late season alfalfa and protein levels
  • If hay has more bloom is it more protien

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    02-16-2013, 12:09 PM
  #11
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
Yes, grass, alfalfa, whatever plant loses nutrients over time(often quite quickly) but unfortunately, sugar is not one of the nutrients that it loses - can be just as high in year old hay as the day it was cut!
Sugar is not a problem with alfalfa however.

I live in Arizona and alfalfa is practically all that is available/affordable. I don't think I ever asked about protein content on hay nor do I think any of my hay sources would even know. One place just looks at me blankly if I ask what the bales are running weight-wise.

Anyhow, we (and all our neighbors) pretty much feed straight alfalfa and have no issues. I wish we could get a good alfalfa/grass mix but grass hay is so darn expensive around here. And the quality can be inconsistent as well. At least alfalfa is available in good quality.

Anyhow, my horses have great feet (trail ride in the mountains with boots only as needed), great weight, no problems. Straight alfalfa may not be ideal, but it isn't the boogey man most make it out to be.

I am a firm believer it is a very good hay to mix with grass hay for the protein content.....if you have access to grass hay. In fact, I would consider that ideal.

Now grass pasture I would consider scary. I wouldn't have any idea how to keep a horse on pasture.....I would worry about the sugars. Isn't that funny? Most of you have a comfort level with pasture and I have a comfort level with alfalfa.
     
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    02-16-2013, 01:39 PM
  #12
Foal
I also feed only alfalfa since that is what is grown here. Have never had any issues with it as far as my horses go. One lived to 33 and another to 30 on that diet. Oh, also one to 27 years old as well.
The guy that says he has over 30% protein in his hay would have to show me proof of that with a certified test. I usually let my hay start to bloom to bring the protein down a little. We go for about 5% bloom before we cut our hay. Horse owners really like it and we sold all we had for sale this year.

By hot hay do they mean it got hot or it is third crop high protein hay? They make bloat block for cattle because they can be prone to that on the "hotter" feeds. IN our area they put cows in on alfalfa fields late int he fall and put bloat block out with them to stop it.
     
    02-16-2013, 01:49 PM
  #13
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenson    
Hot hay is too high in protiens. Normal high would be 17% protein. Anything higher than that is dairy hay.
In my part of Cali last year they got 7 and 8 cuttings. I never buy 1 and 2 cuttings. I wait until august to buy hay, and that is usually cutting 4 or 5 and it is still high protein.
First crop is usually coarser stems and lower protein. In our area the later in the season the higher the protein because the stems are finer and it has more leaves the later in the year we get. We generally only get three cuttings if we are lucky due to late and early frost( June 1st then early September).
Northernstar likes this.
     
    02-16-2013, 01:50 PM
  #14
Green Broke
I live on an organic beef farm and the only pastures that seem to cause bloat in the cows are the clover. Wonder if that is what is in the hot hay.
     
    02-16-2013, 02:03 PM
  #15
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoesMom    
First crop is usually coarser stems and lower protein. In our area the later in the season the higher the protein because the stems are finer and it has more leaves the later in the year we get. We generally only get three cuttings if we are lucky due to late and early frost( June 1st then early September).
That's almost a mirror image of the hay in N MI - I buy 1st and 2nd cutting, and have to watch the amount of 2nd cutting my QH gets, as she's an easy keeper. I save most of that for the frigid below -0 weather, and the rest of the cold days/nights I either mix the two, or just give straight 1st cutting, which is grassy, but not so high in protein. Then it's 1st cutting all through spring/summer before frost begins - and that comes sooner than later! :)
     
    02-16-2013, 03:03 PM
  #16
Trained
Very interesting reading here:
Equine Laboratory
     
    02-16-2013, 10:24 PM
  #17
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by deserthorsewoman    
Very interesting reading here:
Equine Laboratory
That was very interesting. Bears out what I had read before and been told about alfalfa hay.
     
    02-17-2013, 05:48 AM
  #18
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
Now grass pasture I would consider scary. I wouldn't have any idea how to keep a horse on pasture.....I would worry about the sugars. Isn't that funny? Most of you have a comfort level with pasture and I have a comfort level with alfalfa.
Sugars *can* be high in alfalfa/lucerne but they're typically much lower than ('improved') grass. It's just not the done thing to feed straight lucerne over here(tho with global warming, potentially far more droughts...) so I'm not familiar with doing so, just know it's vital to consider the different nutrients in it, to balance. No, seeing just how common laminitis is, my 'comfort level' with pasture is also.... barely there. Though 'poor' native pastures & bush blocks with sparse grass I'm more comfortable with for horses. Mine are on sparse grazing & virtual straw at the moment with the dry summer & still fat as mud!
     

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