Timothy,Orchard Grass,Alfalfa, or mix?
This winter I will need 100 bales for my 2 could be 3 horses.
Currently I have a 19 year old mare and 3 year old gelding.
My mare is not in work. She is fed 5-6 pounds of Nutrena Safe Choice, 1/2-1 pound of Triple Crown 30%, and 1/2 cup of flax seed oil per day. Along with her smartpaks.
My gelding is in VERY light work and just gets a small sprinkle of Nutrena Safe Choice and Triple Crown 30%.
Candy (mare) has a super sensitive stomach and is a hard keeper. Moe (gelding) can eat pretty much anything.
My question is...Which type of hay should I feed? Timothy, Orchard, Alfalfa, or mix??
My supplier has everything. Last year I had an inconsistent supply so some where Orchard, some where timothy, and the others were mix. I couldn't really tell which one they did the best on.
Ohh and both horses have excellent teeth. And I am aware of the price difference in types of hay.
We tried orchard grass here and it was so rich it gave over half of the horses the poopies. We just stayed with the good quality local grass hay. They get alfalafa as a treat but no horse in our barn is fed 100% alfalfa after the vet said that was bad for them.
Timothy is really good as well, but if you can get good quality grass hay - that would be cheapest.
I like jsut a good quality local hay which in my area is mostly Orchard Grass with some fescue.
Our poor guys just get prairie hay. It's mostly bermuda grass, fescue, big and little blue stem... you get the drift. It's cut while it's young and tender, but it's not nearly the high powered stuff like Orchard grass, timothy or alfalfa. We do feed most of them alfalfa pellets and beet pulp to supplement the hay, but have one that cannot have alfalfa at all - nor any feed containing alfalfa. I'm going to have to figure out what to feed the poor guy this winter to supplement the hay. He's a notoriously hard keeper...
If the price is the same I would go with Timothy... it is suppose to be the better balanced for Equine Nutrition of that group. Most horses seems to love it as well
Mine eat Alicia Bermuda (4 flakes each a day) and 1/2 a flake of alfalfa each a day. They also get an alfalfa based food blend.
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One day people will begin to wake up about sourcing hay! Hay species has very little to do with palatability, nutrition, quality, value, etc. Johnsongrass makes good hay cut and put up approiatlely, Alfalfa can get so woody that you cannot get much of anything to eat it well. People come in the barn all the time and ask for timothy and go to the woodiest, long stem, rank, 6" long timothy heads and say this is timothy, right?" Yep! That is what I want." Probalbly has a crude protein of 4% right in line with the cardboard baled behind wallmart.
You don't buy feed based on its species, ie. oats, corn, vegtable products, etc. You now buy a feed with 12% protein and 4% fat conteint. You can buy your hay the same way.
ask for the rfv on any hay you purchase.
Less than 75 = lot of waste, no nutrition, may lead to impaction colic
75-86 = gelding chewing hay during the winter - can eat all they want and not founder - not for performance horses
87-102 = nicer hay, general medium quality hay - will keep an animal in decent condition by itself with no grain if not working.
103-124 = either a very nice grass hay or an alfalfa mix - the kind of hay you want to buy
125-151 = performance horse quality for a mostly hay diet - can put weight on a horse with this kind of hay - will have very little waste if any
151+ = barrel racers, race horses, feed for really putting weight on or broodmares - can founder idle horses with this hay easily
Prod. Acres, what does RFV stand for, I would like to ask our hay guy this but would like to be a little more knowledgeable about it. Is it something I can have tested to see?
Equi-Analytical Laboratories - Profiling Feed for Better Nutrition
In an ideal world we would test all hay and feedstuff we give our horses... but it is just not always possible... and I would be surprised if even feed store hay has been tested
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