My Horses are Alfalfa Junkies

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My Horses are Alfalfa Junkies

This is a discussion on My Horses are Alfalfa Junkies within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    04-08-2013, 11:46 AM
My Horses are Alfalfa Junkies

In the UK only time I ever fed Alfalfa was if I bought a hard feed with it in - it never occurs in our hay there. But now I'm in Canada, I discover this world of Alfalfa Hay.

So, over this winter I have had three sources of hay to use:

1 Bought in 50% alfalfa, 50% grass (Grade 1, the hard stuff, horse Crack)

2 my own 10% alfalfa, 90% grass (nice balanced diet with a bit of fun in it)

3 Bought in 100% grass (boringly nutritious with no sugar kick at all)

Most winter I used my own hay to great success. I ran out of this a week ago and have switched to the just grass stuff. (Yes, all changes have been made gradually with a mix of both sorts fed together).

The snow has started to melt and my boys have re-found the grass that they gave up digging for in February. On thaw days they have been visibly fuller and less eager to come see my load of hay morning and night.

What I noticed while serving a buffet of mixed hay with some alfalfa in there is that they would go from pile to pile of hay looking for 'the good stuff' with alfalfa in it and would only bother with the regular grass when all the good stuff was gone.

Yesterday the snow fell again and they were hungry again. I served a full platter of grass hay with no alfalfa in it and there were tantrums all over the field as they went from pile to pile searching in vain for their alfalfa fix. Riley was charging the others away from the gator with it's load of hay because he wanted to search and find his drug of choice. In the end I went and got a slice of the 'hard stuff' and put it down for Riley just because I needed to get out of the field without fetching head collars and dealing with tantrums.

Alfalfa Sugar Addicts they surely are, and they are all going to have to go cold turkey as soon as the snow goes
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    04-08-2013, 12:43 PM
LOL! Mine are the same. My husbands horse chases everyone off of each trough flings out the stems and finally settles when he finds the trough with the most Alfalfa leaves left in the bottom.
    04-08-2013, 05:04 PM
There's nothing my horse likes more than alfalfa, too. He'd rather roll around a treat dispenser full of alfalfa cubes than eat his easily accessible hay or 'grain'

Alfalfa is higher in protein and calcium, but is actually lower in sugar than grass hay. They're alfalfa addicts, but not sugar addicts
    04-08-2013, 06:32 PM
Green Broke
That's why Flicka is glad to be an only child. Her goat company neighbors can't get to her supply of cubes that she sifts in and out of all day.
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    04-08-2013, 08:17 PM
Ah, thankyou Verona 1016 for the correction.
    04-08-2013, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
Shropshire, I have to believe you've been spying my horse's activity/behavior these past two weeks, because you've just described it! Haha
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    04-08-2013, 08:50 PM
My gelding is a total alfalfa addict. He'll pick through any and all grass to get it. All our horses enjoy it but he's hooked. Then he's a dink afterwards. I stay to grass and life is good.
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    04-08-2013, 10:17 PM
Green Broke
Ahh, poor darlings

On a more serious note, what do you think about drizzling a little watered down molasses on the plain (and obviously underrated) hay? That should provide them with a bit of a taste sensation buzz without doing them any real harm.
    04-08-2013, 10:38 PM
I must have a wierd one then... He HATES Alfalfa with a fiery burning passion. Refsuses the hay an the cubes. He does love molassas and will eat anything that has mollassas on it- apparantly including my mom's finger.. oops O.O
    04-08-2013, 11:47 PM
Originally Posted by Chevaux    
Ahh, poor darlings

On a more serious note, what do you think about drizzling a little watered down molasses on the plain (and obviously underrated) hay? That should provide them with a bit of a taste sensation buzz without doing them any real harm.
I'm sure they'd enjoy it, but I'm more hard hearted; I'm just going to wean them off it as the grass comes in, and then watch them go cold turkey. They do eat the hay when they have no choice of course

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