1st or 2nd Cutting?
I'm about to bring in a load of hay next week, timothy, and the farmer asked if I wanted 1st or 2nd cutting. Ages ago my ex-father in law, a bit of a small time farmer himself, suggested 1st cutting was the more nutritious. But then I vaguely remember seeing a post in here somewhere were someone said 2nd was better. But I cannot find it. What do you think?
I'm actually a bit surprised we have a 2nd cutting already here in NJ but the weather has been so strange this summer (end of July and just now getting in to the upper 80s). But my husband made the arrangements so I didn't get to ask which I will do when I call to confirm the delivery.
It really depends on the horses you're feeding. Generally second cut has a higher protein content and is much finer, softer hay, quite lovely to handle in fact compared to first cut; good for old horses who have trouble with coarser feed and need more protein, or pregnant/stressed animals for eg.
Good first cut hay should be absolutely fine for most horses doing moderate amounts of work, with good teeth and in good health. Second cut usually goes for a higher price, too.
Oh, also some horses don't even care for second cut, and some think it's a grand treat. It all depends.
Thanks toadflax. I have a 13 yr gelding and a 20 yr old mare....both draft crosses, both extremely easy keepers and both lightly worked. Because this will be for winter (they are on pasture 24/7 all year), I'm leaning towards 2nd as they get free choice hay and a small amount of grain for the winter.
That's how I feed, I'm in the northeast. I have to say it seems unusual to feed exclusively second cut, and you may find your easy keepers keep all the easier on it, especially if it's good timothy, and especially as you feed free choice. You might try a mix, maybe 75% first and 25% second cut, and use the second cut as a supplement.
Just my thoughts, I'm sure they'll be fat and happy whichever you choose.
I know my husband said he said in Equus that second cut is better nutrient wise. . .but I am certain 1st cut is fine as well. We bought 150 bales of 1st and are buying 100 of second.
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