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This is somewhat urgent as I need to buy hay asap, it all seems to be going fast in preparation of winter now. But I've been searching for a good quality grass hay for a broodmare and can't find anything without fescue in my area. So looking for an alternative I came across round bales of organic mostly alfalfa with some timothy and orchard hay. Some thoughts and/or advice on this would be greatly appreciated! Does it sound like a suitable option?
 

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It depends on what percentage of the bale is alfalfa and how rich the orchard is. Orchard can be very high protein and give a horse the runs, as can alfalfa. If it's mostly Timothy, I'd probably be ok with it (like 85% Timothy and 15% the others) but not if that was reversed.
 

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OH and it depends on where you are whether the fescue has that ergot or whatever it is that causes the toxicity. Not all fescue is infected with it. Many farmers will plant fescue that is not susceptible to the thing that causes the problems. Sorry, brain is drawing a blank on the proper terms.
 

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I'm waiting on a reply from the seller as they said the hay has been tested, but he said "mostly alfalfa". This has been the first person out of over a dozen to have fescue free hay, so I'm getting pretty desperate lol.
 

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BTW, you really only need to get off fescue for the last 3 months before foaling.
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I do live in an area where fescue is infected, but I hadn't heard of resistant strains. I might have to contact some of the people again to inquire about that.

There aren't any risks or downsides to feeding fescue in the early stages of pregnancy? She's currently nursing a foal as well.

Thanks for your quick replies!
 

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I do live in an area where fescue is infected, but I hadn't heard of resistant strains. I might have to contact some of the people again to inquire about that.

There aren't any risks or downsides to feeding fescue in the early stages of pregnancy? She's currently nursing a foal as well.

Thanks for your quick replies!
There's newer studies that show early pregnancy issues with fescue too. I will not feed my broodies fescue at all. Here's a link to a Cornell article.
http://http://poisonousplants.ansci.cornell.edu/toxicagents/fesalk.html
 

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I do live in an area where fescue is infected, but I hadn't heard of resistant strains. I might have to contact some of the people again to inquire about that.
Fescue is the predominant grass/hay in our area. There are folks who plant endophyte free fescue, but the problem is that over the years infected fescue creeps back in. I would never take the chance personally.

There aren't any risks or downsides to feeding fescue in the early stages of pregnancy? She's currently nursing a foal as well.
Leaving pregnant mares on fescue pasture and hay until the last 3 months is standard procedure in our area and we've never had a problem (or heard of any). The last 3 months we separate pregnant mares and feed them pure orchard.
 
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