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Horse quality hay vs. cow quality hay

This is a discussion on Horse quality hay vs. cow quality hay within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • How to tell if hay is good quality
  • Define horse quality hay

 
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    12-28-2010, 07:34 PM
  #21
Weanling
I never knew there was such a thing as "horse hay" or "cow hay" until the past year when I started boarding off the farm.

Around the farm I was used to farmers being able to tell hay and hay was sold according to how much rain that season brought and how long it sat in the field.

Last winter I had to buy some hay of a guy for 8$ a bale. The know-it-all horse lady of the barn bought the same hay from the same guy for 13$. He then explained to me on a later date that horse people stand out and will fork out the extra cash for just the title of "horse hay".

What I was feeding my mare was apparently crap "cow hay" from a ditch. It was 40% alfalfa and 60% blue, brome and local native grass mix, baled the week before she saw it. She then proceeded to walk over to the bale that a boarder and I had just pulled over to the junk pile. THAT was horse hay. It was 100% native grass and over dried that she was just using as a filler for her overweight horse to have something to munch on longer. My mare would shrivel up and be a rack of bones even if she had 24/7 access to it.

A city fellow moved out by parents and figured he'd start up a hay farm. His "horse hay" is 80% weeds and 20% garbage off the highway. He baled it while it was raining and moved it directly into a completely closed building. He still thinks he can get 15$ a bale (you can find hay bales that size around here for 7-12$, depending on who and how much alfalfa).

So basically I find "horse hay" and "cow hay" are subjective to the person buying and selling.
     
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    12-28-2010, 07:41 PM
  #22
Yearling
This thread is funny, because the people we get our hay from, farm cattle. The hay we buy for our horses is nearly alfalfa free, good quality grass hay, and $2 a bale. The hay they feed to their cattle is rich in alfalfa and $4-$5 a bale.
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    12-28-2010, 07:59 PM
  #23
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by DieselPony    
I never knew there was such a thing as "horse hay" or "cow hay" until the past year when I started boarding off the farm.

Around the farm I was used to farmers being able to tell hay and hay was sold according to how much rain that season brought and how long it sat in the field.

Last winter I had to buy some hay of a guy for 8$ a bale. The know-it-all horse lady of the barn bought the same hay from the same guy for 13$. He then explained to me on a later date that horse people stand out and will fork out the extra cash for just the title of "horse hay".

What I was feeding my mare was apparently crap "cow hay" from a ditch. It was 40% alfalfa and 60% blue, brome and local native grass mix, baled the week before she saw it. She then proceeded to walk over to the bale that a boarder and I had just pulled over to the junk pile. THAT was horse hay. It was 100% native grass and over dried that she was just using as a filler for her overweight horse to have something to munch on longer. My mare would shrivel up and be a rack of bones even if she had 24/7 access to it.

A city fellow moved out by parents and figured he'd start up a hay farm. His "horse hay" is 80% weeds and 20% garbage off the highway. He baled it while it was raining and moved it directly into a completely closed building. He still thinks he can get 15$ a bale (you can find hay bales that size around here for 7-12$, depending on who and how much alfalfa).

So basically I find "horse hay" and "cow hay" are subjective to the person buying and selling.
I'd say I rather agree with this; I've encountered folks who are selling "quote unquote" horse quality hay, and personally I wouldn't have fed it to my goats...and then there are other folks (like the ones the school got their "cow hay" from) who sell hay that is decent quality, but may contain some weeds and is a bit dried out, as cow hay. Over all, unless a hay is moldy, I don't tend to label it as horse or cow hay...it's just hay, and I won't spend a million dollars for a bale either I search for good deals. I find it ridiculous that folks charge, and people spend, such outrageous prices for hay...I've helped bale hay before I know it doesn't cost 15 $ worth of labor for each bale!!!!
     
    12-28-2010, 10:05 PM
  #24
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreyRay    
The hay we buy for our horses is nearly alfalfa free, good quality grass hay, and $2 a bale. The hay they feed to their cattle is rich in alfalfa and $4-$5 a bale.
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Please tell me where you get your hay. Maybe send me a phone # or something. I need more square bales as stand-bys for trailering.
     
    12-28-2010, 10:13 PM
  #25
Yearling
I don't know their phone number... I don't even know their name... Gosh, that's sad! I will have to ask them their name and tell them how much a appreciate them!
I don't know if you could buy enough to cover the shipping charges, though.
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    12-30-2010, 05:11 PM
  #26
dee
Started
We always considered hay to be cow hay if we waited a little too long to cut it and it was a tad overmature. It might have been a bit stemmier than we would have liked for our horses. However, if we messed up like that and hay was in short supply, we fed it to our horses anyway. Never had any problems.

The hay we're feeding now is all native grass hay. It was cut just a bit later than we would have liked, but it was rainy when the hay was just at the right stage for cutting, and we figured it was better to let it get a little rougher than to cut it and let it ruin, just because it was at the right stage. Our horses are gaining weight wonderfully on it. Junior, our sickly one, has nearly doubled his weight since we started putting out hay. He looks great! Even Dancer is gaining weight!

Oddly enough - we didn't fertilize the hay this year - the hay meadows had been laying fallow for several years, so the hay was even a little weedy. Early this spring, we'll fertilize and overseed with oats and bermuda grass. (Odd combination, I know.) We'll cut just before the oats head out. Don't know why, exactly, that's just the way hubby's family has always done it!
     
    01-06-2011, 06:12 AM
  #27
Foal
I don't know enough to write a definition of Horse Hay and Cow Hay, but having grown up on a farm and owning horses now, I know horses can't eat some hay that cows and steers can eat. Horses do well on grass hay that cows would lose weight on. Cows can eat hay that would founder horses.

We look for mold free all grass hay for our horses since we moved to So. Central PA. My sister has two grass hay fields we have worked on for 5 years (sprayed the weeds, spread the manure from the horse barn on them in the spring) that we are now getting about 400 bales from (up from 200 when we moved here). We buy the rest from farmers that sell grass hay. To make it easy to handle them the bales are string tied and weigh between 50 and 70 lbs. With all the rain it was harder to find hay this year but having developed a good relationship with the farmers we managed. We got our two fields in with no rain the last three years - which was good luck.

Our three horses feet do best on free choice grass hay in the paddock with very limited grazing in the pasture and little to no grain. The old quarter horse gets 3 scoops of Senior (not Purina) a day, the two Icelandics get approximately a cup of Trotter morning and evening to take supplements with.

We tried round bales but there is way too much waste feeding them outside. We have a skid-steer so handling them was easy, but they don't hold up well with the horses pulling on them.

In CA we looked for hay that had as little alfalfa as we could find, usually 50% grass, mold free. It came in 120lb triple wire tie shipping bales. We eventually went to 1,500 lb bags of cubes when we bought the Icelandic horses so we could measure their feed on a scale - they gain weight very easily. We lived in Acton - there are probably more horses per capita in Acton than anyplace we've ever been. Finding good hay for our horses was relatively easy with the big hay fields in the Palmdale Lancaster area, but it was expensive. In the winter it was hauled in from quite a long distance. Good Hay in PA is 25% to 50% the cost of hay in So. Cal.

Fitch
     

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