Thoughts on Clover Hay? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-26-2012, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thoughts on Clover Hay?

I was down to one bale of hay and was planning to pick up some more after work today from my usual place when my Aunt told me that her boyfriend's dad had a full barn of alfalfa hay that they were looking to get rid of because they had sold all their cows. Best of all they said I could have however much I wanted, I just had to pick it up. Perfect! Especially since Rusty was already getting alfalfay cow hay. I arranged for my step-dad to pick some up for me and asked him to feed Rusty for me while he was there since I was working.

Well I get home to examine this hay to find that it is alfalfay-grassy-clovery hay instead of just alfalfa. The alfalfay-grassy part does not concern me but the clovery part sure does. I had a friend accidentally kill 3 of his 5 horses on clover hay (some sort of toxic mold). My Uncle used to feed his horses (including Rusty) a mostly clover hay without a problem but I am still nervous. He seems fine but I would love some opinions on whether or not this hay will be ok. It smells nice and isn't dusty at all.

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post #2 of 8 Old 12-26-2012, 09:25 PM
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I'm no help, but subbing to find out.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 10:39 AM
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Most of the mixed grass hay here has a lot of red clover in it. Alfalfa is a pain in the butt to keep growing here, red clover is easy. Lime a field and clover grows in.

Dairy hay? They don't generally feed musty hay to dairy cows. Makes the milk taste musty if they do. If it's clean and fresh smelling I wouldn't worry.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 01:08 PM
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I thought red clover was bad for horses?
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 01:23 PM
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Red clover has a fungus that causes horses to salivate a lot (and I mean really slober), but it doesn't hurt them. It is also high in sugars, so you may need to keep that in mind.
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input! :)
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 05:13 PM
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Alsike clover can harbor a mold that makes a toxin that causes liver failure in horses. Here's the catch. You can feed the same ten horses in the same clovery field for ten years and never have a problem, but the eleventh year something screwy happens, the toxin grows and the horses get sick and die.

Slobbers (slafamine) from clover is messy, but pretty harmless. If you know or can find out the kind of clover, if it's not alsike, you're safe. Alsike Clover Poisoning, Photosensitization or Photodermatitis in Horses has good info. That said, my horse grazed in a pasture that does have a good amount of alsike all summer- not sure how much of it he ate (or not) though, or if it was a 'dangerous' year for it, but neither he nor any of the other horses had an issue.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-27-2012, 11:56 PM Thread Starter
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I believe it is the "Red Mammoth" clover.
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