Oat Hay? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 09-07-2012, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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Oat Hay?

I am considering feeding my horse oat hay for the winter, as it is cheaper and I hear is a little fattier.

I have a Thoroughbred mare, with a hyper speed metabolism. Impossible to keep weight on and keep calm!
I understand Oat hay has a lot of sugar, but it will be winter and I won't be riding as much anyway. But there is a lot of nitrate? What is that and how is too much harmful?

What are your guys' opinions on it?

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post #2 of 16 Old 09-07-2012, 09:35 PM
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I'm feeding oat/alfalfa, about half and half. The alfalfa is very low in sugars so that way I offset the high sugars in the oathay. I'd love to feed just plain grasshay, but nowhere to be found here.
Oathay is actually a pretty good horse hay and mine like it. They leave the coarser stems usually, which I use for bedding.
Now, how good it is depends on when it was cut. Mine is closer to straw, the oats all fall out.
The nitrate problem I heard of but haven't found anything anywhere about it.
Maybe somebody here can help?
I'd suggest you start out slow with it, mixing a little with the old hay first then gradually go to the full ration. For keep weight on and to up the protein content, since oat hay is very low, you might mix it with alfalfa or give alfalfa pellets.
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post #3 of 16 Old 09-09-2012, 05:03 PM
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You want your nitrite levels to be around or less than .1%. Typically it will fall well below that but if the crop has been stressed by drought or heavily fertilized, it could become an issue. Oat hay is higher in fat but it's insignificant. 3% vs 2%. What matters is it's lower in calories than most all grasses. If you buy it at the dough stage where it's immature with a green cast to it, it will be lowest in sugar but it's also lower in protein and calories. It is higher in fiber so it will keep her busy and warm in the winter. If she has weight issues, I'd keep her on a higher percentage alfalfa but give her about 1/3 in oat hay to give her chew time and to give your wallet a break.
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post #4 of 16 Old 09-09-2012, 05:38 PM
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Last year my hay supplier gave me couple bales of oat/clover/english rye mix. My horses love it. And did incredibly well on it. They go out at night where they had a roll of tifton 85. And 2 flakes of the oat mix when they came in the barn in the morning. Even my hard keeping mare kept a good weight over the winter.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-11-2012, 11:09 AM
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I believe oat hay is high in phosphorus so you need to be careful to balance that off with some calcium.......alfalfa hay would do that nicely.

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post #6 of 16 Old 09-11-2012, 11:18 AM
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I checked, it's not. But low protein and, as said, high in sugar, for that the alfalfa makes sense
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-20-2012, 02:06 AM
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Good oat hay (no weeds, "nice" smell and texture) is excellent feed imo. we use to grow it for a cover crop when we planted a new stand of grass hay. It is difficult to get here b/c it is ordinarily only grown as cover. When available, I feed it at lunch - alfalfa breakfast and dinner. They tend to eat it slower, but clean it up.

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post #8 of 16 Old 09-20-2012, 03:20 AM
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This oat hay you all talk about, is it oats just cut green?? ( green feed) ??
is it green or yellow ? here we have oat straw ( yellow) that we use for bedding and they tend to munch on it a liitle if there is still some oats left.
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-20-2012, 04:17 AM
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Where I live, Oaten Hay is the most used hay. It is also the most expensive.
It's good for old geezers, because something in it (don't know exactly) helps with joints.
The Grass Hay that is mentioned, is probably similar to our Meadow Hay? That has little to no nutrition. Just grass, no extra's.

My big boy goes straight to the oats that fall to the bottom of his tub and then starts eating the Hay :) He loves it greatly.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-27-2012, 09:17 PM
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We bought oat hay this year since it was only $3.50 a bale (vs. $6-8 for grass or alfalfa). We did try 2 bales first since I've heard that some horses won't eat it all due to the harder stems and I wanted to see just how much wastage we were looking at.... nada. They ate it ALL. So we'll see how it goes. I will be using beet pulp this year as well though.

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hay , nitrate , opinions , sugar

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