Which hay is best to feed...
i have 3 minis on my farm that were founderred before i got them. my farrier tells me not to feed them and feed so i listened. he now tells me not to feed them grass because of the sugar in it. our hay consists of johnson grass and orchard hay. my horses dont seem to like it very much! my riding instructor tells me johnson grass has no protien and has recomended timothy hay. my dad tells me that since it cheaper to grow our hay and our hay doesnt have alot of sugar that what we have is better for them! im really confused and i want my horses to be happy and healthy! what hay is the best to feed them?
Well, i just googled johnson grass and i saw some suggestions that it is toxic to horses. i suggest you do the same?
Other posters will probably give you more advice on the actual grasses if you tell us :
- in what part of the world are you? (This will affect weather /pasture)
- how are the horses kept? Stabled? Out 24/7?
- what condition are they in now?
Apart from those questions, for a horse that has had laminitis you need to keep them away from anything 'rich' by which I mean high in sugar and protein.
Alfalfa is a no-no
Spring grass is a danger
Morning grass after a cold night is a danger
Too much food is a danger :wink:
For a laminitic (and once a laminitic, always a laminitic) less is best, and slim is healthy.
this is wat they look like
Most horses won't eat Johnson grass hay, unless they are starving.
When it is in grass form, there are certain times, during growth, that it is toxic to livestock, in that it produces a form of cyanide. My eye doctor lost a cow that way.
Just feed them a good mix of whatever your native grasses are. Typically that is orchard grass, probably mixed with some timothy and fescue. Fescue is fine as long as you're not dealing with a pregnant mare.
The hay should be weed free. In this day and age, I don't worry whether it's first or second cut because hay is too hard to come by; unless the hay is too stemmy and then you will end up with a lot of waste.
No legume hays such as alfalfa.
It won't hurt to give them a grain-free ration balancer, so they get all their vitamins & minerals. Just have to figure out how much they actually need.
With a standard-sized horse, one measured pound, daily, is all that is needed to give that horse the required vitamins & minerals.
If you call the 800 number on whatever bag of ration balancer you might buy, they should happily tell you what the rock-bottom amount would be needed to meet a Mini's requirements:-)
I've not had to deal with laminitis first hand, but I do know that steaming hay is a good way to lower sugar content, no matter what kind of hay it is. They make expensive hay steamers that do a very thorough job of it, but you can just put the hay in a bit plastic tote and pour very hot water over it, cover it, let it sit for at least an hour, and then pour off the water.
Also, this is a good resource: Katy Watts | Safergrass.org
If you live by a university with an Ag department, you can have them test your hay for a small fee. Then you will have a good idea of the content. If, like me, you get your hay from various sources, this doesn't help. You can soak hay for a short amount of time to shed away excess sugars, but you will lose minerals (recent studies on this done in Kentucky), so if you do this, it is good to find a horse vitamin to supplement their diet or a Ration Balancer. I go with a vitamin for 2 of mine that are EASY keepers and and a high fat RB for my hard keeper, and he gets way more hay. But with a laminitic horse, no grain is best. I like Manna Pro Sho Glo, but if I had a better job, I would go with Smartpak. ;)
Hay has to be soaked in water and lately, even that is being doubted as a useful tool to really reduce starches/sugars.
I have read that over-soaking might also leech out vitamins & minerals:?
If you can buy your hay, at least for part of the season, you could also send it for testing. Most grass hays in our areas test below 10% NSC.
I'm an hour north of the Alabama border and my hay always tests around 92 - 9.5%.
My friend lives in Sumner County, close enough to the KY border that she hauls her horse to a vet in KY. Her hay has always tested between 8.5% and somewhere in the 9% range.
I thought I'd chime in and plug Triple Crown 30% Supplement, which is what I feed my easy keeper horse. It's the lowest NSC RB I've seen yet (9.8%) and is very cost effective; it costs about the same as SmartVites per day, at least for my 1000lb horse.
My horse with Equine Metabolic Syndrome went from an air fern to not being able to hold weight. He also has hind gut ulcers so I have to feed him 4 times a day:-( Part of his supplementing includes rice bran.
My horse with true insulin resistance is tough to get the weight off; he isn't even allowed to smell the rice bran:-|
While I love Triple Crown, none of their products work for my metabolic horses thanks to the soy.
Triple Crown would be my pick of something to feed except, I have called the makers of Triple Crown more than once to ask why on earth they won't make a soy-free product for horses with soy-intolerance and metabolic horses that also shouldn't have soy. They refuse to talk and can't wait for the conversation to end. I hope they're reading this.
When one looks at the protein percentage on any bag of feed or a ration balancer, SOY is the source of that protein, 99 times out of a 100.
That means the higher the per cent of protein, the more soy it took to get that high per cent.
I had forgotten just how soy intolerant yet another of my horse's is; until I bought a bag of the TC 30% and fed it to him. It didn't take five days until his outlook on life was so far removed from being mannerly that I had to get the buggy whip out. Soon as I took him off the 30% and his system had a few days to expel all of it, he was good again.
There are soy-free vit/min products available that can be top-dressed (a few ounces is all that's required) over things like timothy pellets.
To my knowlege, there is only one soy-free ration balancer on the market and that is McCauley's M-10 Balancer. It is also oat/corn-free. I have been feeding it to my IR horse and my food intolerant horse since December.
They are doing well, so far, but I am also watching hoof quality; if their hoof qualities start to go downhill, I will have to order one of those soy-free vit/min supplements and start top-dressing timothy pellets:-|
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