Over feeding lucerne?
I came across this article a few years ago and lost it but I recently recovered it, found it online and want to know your thoughts?
Horse Feeds, Equine Supplements, Equestrian Nutrition - Weight Lifter Natural Feeding Techniques
So many people here are feeding their horses almost purely on the stuff, ie the agistment place next door to us. Even our horses get about 4kg or 2 biscuits a day. We also give hard feed (bran, pellets, white/wheaten/lucerne chaff and other supplements depending on the pony) and they have at least 6 hours a day of grazing in the paddock aswell. So my mum and I are thinking we might start introducing meadow hay and cut some of the lucerne hay out and see how the ponies go. They aren't getting alot of the lucerne hay to start with but lets see...
So what are your thoughts after reading this article and looking up info on this? Where you already aware of this? Or do you think this is rubbish?
I know this article is from a company selling their product, but when I searched more information I found lots of other articles from various sources saying the same or similar things...
No one have any comments on this?
Lucern is Alfalfa here in the states. There are some people who feed all alfalfa hay to their horses with no problems. Alfalfa is common on the west coast. Also many halter breeders and show people use it to build more muscle and prevent a hay belly.
I supplement my horses with alfalfa pellets, as it's hard to get alfalfa hay around me. I feed 1.5 lbs a day (about 0.7 kg) with the rest of their diet bermuda hay (grass). I don't feed any hard feed, just a vitamin supplement and some flax mixed in with their pellets (I add a little water to make it all stick).
If your horses are doing well on their current diet and your vet is happy with their health, then I wouldn't change anything. However, if your horses are a bit more "high energy" than you'd like or fatter than they should be, then cutting the lucern in half and adding some meadow hay might not be a bad idea. You could always give it a trial run for a month and see how it goes.
Thanks for the reply. We have started to make the switch by replacing the night hay over to meadow hay. And the boys are eating it, was worried they would turn their noses up. And it is half the price of lucerne!
I personally don't like feeding alfalfa to my horses. One of the reasons because of protein contest and all they require much less of it. I rather prefer them munching on hay then eat up all alfalfa and start munching on the tree bark. Lol! I still supplement some during cold nights in winter, but generally they just go with timothy. I also heard alfalfa can cause diarrhea, but frankly I never run into this problem.
Alfalfa has a very high protein/sugar content and is used in the US primarily for performance horses. Besides the high cost, it is not recommended for the "backyard" or lightly used horse due to the energy it gives a horse. It is the equivalent of using very high octane fuel in a subcompact minivan.
It is typically not used as a sole diet for the average horse but may be used lightly in conjunction with Timothy, Fescue, etc.. A friend of mine who is a race horse trainer uses it for his horses that are in training but when they are on a recoup, he stops the Alfalfa.
I found this an interesting read: Horse Feeding Myths and Misconceptions
Horse Feeding Myths and Misconceptions
The part about alfalfa/lucern is myth #2.
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