Switching from Timothy hay to Coastal Bermuda - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-04-2011, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Switching from Timothy hay to Coastal Bermuda

Has anybody had experience switching their horse (who has eaten timothy all their life) to Coastal Bermuda Hay? I'm taking my horse to Alabama with me for college. We currently live in Virginia. She has been in this general area all her life and has only eaten Timothy. I was told by my vet that most southern states feed coastal bermuda hay. I was also told she can get impacted to the point of surgery if she isn't gently switched over. Has anybody done this before? Any tips/suggestions?

I was thinking about spreading it over a months time. Maybe doing something like this:
first week- 1/6 coastal 5/6 timothy
second- 1/4 coastal 3/4 timothy
third- 1/2 coastal 1/2 timothy
fourth- 3/4 coastal 1/4 timothy
fifth- 100% coastal

Is that to quick of a transition?
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-04-2011, 01:24 PM
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Very weird. Coastal and timothy are both on the lower end of nutrients and I have always been told they are so close, that there should be no negative side affects. I will not post an answer, as i'm sure a more experienced person will come along, but i do hope you find your answer.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-05-2011, 07:59 AM
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I also am not sure why some horses will colic on coastal bermuda and others will not.

When I moved my three from the OH/PA border to Southern California, I only had room for a couple bales of their Pennsylvania timothy hay.

Being in SoCal, they lived in a sand area with absolutely no grass.

I took less than two weeks to switch them over to fluffly bermuda hay that was imported down from the Imperial Valley.

As far as eating forage goes, they ate nothing but that bermuda hay for the five years we lived there and nobody ever got impacted, nobody got sick nor colicked.

The only horses I have personal experience with that colicked on bermuda, were show horses that were stalled all the time. Their owners ran out of the really crappy dollar-a-bale hay they fed and bought a bale of bermuda to get them thru. With these horses, I THINK they ate too fast because the hay was so much tastier, plus it is not stemmy, and they couldn't digest it for gulping it down - at least that is my un-educated theory.

I still feed coastal bermuda to my 25 year old Arab because he has four molars missing and refuses to chew anything stemmy.

Once you start making the transition, watch their manure for any changes in moisture content and the amounts each horse presents you, if they spend anytime in the stall.

That is one of the prime reasons I bring my horses in at night. It's a pain cleaning stalls every day but I can look at their manure and pretty much see what's going on with their digestive system.

Hope this helps
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post #4 of 6 Old 08-09-2011, 10:43 AM
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Bermuda can flat mess one up. We shipped a load of bermuda to a big barn one day years ago and the next morning, 17 of 34 animals were impacted. We immediatly shipped a load of timothy hay later in the day and the owner fed one hay at night and the other in the morning. That straightened things out.
Watch the ndf on the bermuda closely. Bermuda is very prone for low low ndf numbers and that is what causes the colic.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-10-2011, 07:26 PM
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Not sure about switching over rate, so I'll let someone else handle that.

But, I've always fed coastal, and everyone here feeds coastal, and never had a problem. The horses look great as well.

Tip- Don't feed alfalfa that's been grown in the south if you ever plan on feeding it in addition. If you ever feed it, make sure it's been shipped from up north.
Blister beetles. The tiny, alfalfa loving faces of death.

"You're just as sane as I am."~Luna Lovegood.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-20-2011, 02:42 AM
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Location: Southern California
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I have a question about these different hay types and i'd rather hijack this thread instead of starting a new one...
Does anyone happen to know anything about feeding a hot horse (spooky as well) a hay that will help modify behavior?
I am looking to move my guy from his alfalfa cubes, to actual hay... my barn offers alfalfa hay and cubes, timothy, and bermuda. The timothy is painfully expensive... but this whole thing with the bermuda causing impaction is a bit too much for my taste. what do ya'll think?

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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