Why would alfalfa give diarrhea?

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Why would alfalfa give diarrhea?

This is a discussion on Why would alfalfa give diarrhea? within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Is alfalfa good for diarrhea
  • Diarrhea in animals from alfalfa

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    11-11-2010, 10:19 AM
Why would alfalfa give diarrhea?

A neighbor came and spoke with me while I was feeding Cinder (I seem to have a very nosey neighborhood lol) and asked what I was feeding. I said her grain was a mix of Nutrena Safechoice and alfalfa pellets, and her hay was very good quality alfalfa/orchard grass mix.

He asked if Cinder was getting diarrhea from it and I said no, her poops were perfect (as horse poop goes) and he said in his experience alfalfa always caused diarrhea.

I haven't heard of it before but I'm curious, does alfalfa give diarrhea? Why?
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    11-11-2010, 10:23 AM
It can give a horse diarrhea but it's certainly not the majority of animals, as believed by your neighbor.

It's a richer food source, which is why some horses have trouble digesting it. Especially older horses or ones with digestive issues.
    11-11-2010, 10:26 AM
Super Moderator
What she said...
    11-11-2010, 10:45 AM
It can also cause problems if they aren't acclimated to it (like any other food).
    11-11-2010, 10:52 AM
Ok. Awesome. I have always fed it and felt like I was doing something wrong for a moment there. It's not something I feed just by itself, but I do sort of "pad out" the feed with it. If that makes any sense. I clear the manure out of the pasture daily and haven't seen anything that looks remotely like diarrhea but I will keep an eye on it.

If you were to say, bring a horse in on it, would you acclimate it to the alfalfa mix the same as you would with any new feed? Small portions at a time?
    11-11-2010, 10:56 AM
Originally Posted by CinderEve    
If you were to say, bring a horse in on it, would you acclimate it to the alfalfa mix the same as you would with any new feed? Small portions at a time?
Yes, it should be introduced slowly.
    11-11-2010, 10:58 AM
Yup, it's the same as any diet change.
    11-11-2010, 11:00 AM
Awesome. Sorry if I sounded a bit ******ed right there lol.
    11-11-2010, 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by CinderEve    
Awesome. Sorry if I sounded a bit ******ed right there lol.
No, not at all. Your questions were quite reasonable.

None of us were born knowing how to care for horses, and what I still don't know far exceeds what I do.

The only thing a true horse person can say is that you'll never stop learning about horses. No one will ever know everything about them.
    11-11-2010, 11:10 AM
Oh I have to agree, I've been around horses almost all of my life but I'm still constantly learning about them. I think that's one of the reasons I love them so much lol.

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