I'm not really clear on this...hay experts out there? - Page 2

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I'm not really clear on this...hay experts out there?

This is a discussion on I'm not really clear on this...hay experts out there? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    07-09-2011, 10:48 AM
Almost all cool season grass's are interchangeable - fescue, orchardgrass, timothy, brome, wheatgrass, etc. They generally feed much different than legumes - alfalfa, clover, soybeans, peanut hay, etc. Additionally, they are much different from warm season grasses - bermuda, bahia, crabgrass, etc. As long as you stay in a family of grasses, you can interchange easily. When you switch familys of grasses, you can have upset stomachs.

Timothy has long been known as a horseman's grass - for its lack of nutrition. You cannot hardly founder a horse on timothy and it is cheap long stemmed fiber. It is not a valid argument to have any discussion of the quality of any hay type based on species alone. You need to know stage of maturity, harvest conditions, fertility of the soil, etc. A forage test will show quality - everything else is just blowing smoke.
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    07-09-2011, 11:41 AM
Thanks, all....

It's 1st cutting timothy. Very stemmy.

If I order more, maybe I'll ask for second cutting as it is supposed to be softer.....
    07-09-2011, 12:11 PM
For the draft with weight issues, you're better off sticking with the lesser quality 1st cutting. With lesser quality, more stemmy higher fiber hay usually goes lower calories (DM). Get 1st for her and 2nd for the rest if they need a higher quality.
    07-09-2011, 12:26 PM
So, this 100% pure 1st cutting timothy might actually HELP her with her weight?!!

She used to get orchard grass hay or orchard/timothy mixed.
    07-09-2011, 01:43 PM
Production, I fixed your quote brackets.

In my neck of the woods, the state Ag college does forage testing and you can get the recommended test procedure from your local county extension agent.

Timothy is generally the prefered hay for horses with heaves or COPD as it tends to be less dusty than other hays. I don't think that there's a signifigant difference in nutrition between timothy and orchard grass generally, but there are huge difference in nutrition because of variables like the age of the hay, age when cut, percentage of stem to leaf, and how it's cured and stored. So unless you plan to test hay at every cutting and every purchase, I don't know if it's worth your while to have a forage test done. You can get general info about the overall quality of the hay, but you can get that by breaking open a bale, looking at it and smelling it, and observing your horses.

Cleaner, better quality hay is better than trashy, dusty hay regardless. You many have to monitor your easy keeper's consumption, but the better quality hay is still....better.

ETA: Agree with Left Hand about the cuttings.

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