how much alfalfa to feed horse


I have two Quarter Horse broodmares, one 11 and one 17 years old. At the same time, p… Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. For the horse who might have some respiratory sensitivities, fines can be mixed into a meal or wet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to actually be inhaled into the lungs. I've been feeding my mare one flake of alfalfa … The amount and type of hay fed relates to the other feeds you use and the use of your horse. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Overweight. Timothy, high-quality grass hays, and 50% alfalfa mixes make good forage for older horses, Ralston says. Try putting your alfalfa bale on an empty feed bag before you open the bale, and feed the small pieces that fall out in the feed trough or bucket. Answer. The average thousand-pound horse who relies on hay for all their forage typically eats fifteen to twenty pounds of hay per day. After observing the horse for a period of time, the amount fed may be increased or decreased by 10% to obtain the desired body condition and weight. High-quality (“dairy”) alfalfa supplies 20 to 25 percent more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. Horses require fiber in their diet for the gut to function normally It is recommended that the diet contain no less than 1 percent of body weight of roughage such as hay, pasture, etc. Until further research is done, he recommends, horses weighing between 1,000-1,300 pounds should be fed about 1 pound of alfalfa after a grain meal. Your hay analysis should show the DM content of your forage. The short answer is yes, it is perfectly acceptable to feed your mares alfalfa hay. If you are feeding 100% hay and your hay contains 90% DM (or 10% moisture), your 1000 lb horse should be fed 20 lb of hay (18 lb DM/0.9) straight from the bale each day. Alfalfa Hay, with its higher protein and adequate energy amounts might be the ideal feed for a hard working ranch horse, but it could be too rich of a feed for a retired backyard horse in the same amount. Equine Feed Calculator Fortunately, horses do quite well on a forage based diet of hay along with minerals and good clean water. A horse needs a fairly small amount of protein per day. Alfalfa contains higher concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay (Table 1). Because of this huge drought in Texas, they are having to get their hay out of state and they're having some problems. Always have your hay analyzed so you can match the grain supplementation to your horse’s needs. For example, a 1,100 pound horse requires at least 11 pounds of roughage. For the horse who might have some respiratory sensitivities, fines can be mixed into a meal or wet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to actually be inhaled into the lungs. Canola oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil and palm oil are also used, but less frequently. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. Most of these horses are owned and managed for recreation or sport rather than for profit. How much alfalfa hay do you feed a 1,200 pound horse and how often? Both are reining-bred, and both are easy, easy keepers. While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Well, that all depends on the horse’s size, age and work load. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. Remember to feed in as many small portions as possible. So if a flake weighs about four pounds, you’ll need to feed your one thousand pound horses five flakes every day. Horses also have a fiber requirement and tend to get bored when roughage (hay) is limited. That’s 30 lbs of hay per day for a 1000 lb horse. Most hay is dispensed in flakes; however, the amount of hay in a flake can vary greatly, depending on the size of the flake and the kind of hay. Your email address will not be published. 2015-41595-24254 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. This can also lead to weight loss since the old horse is not given adequate access to feed. When it comes to feeding your horses you know how important it is for me to look out for healthy organic and natural products. For variety in the diet, I found timothy and orchard grass pellets, and then a few pounds of alfalfa pellets for protein. For horses housed and fed outside in the more severe winter climates, it is strongly recommended that forages be offered in feeders located under a three-sided shelter. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. The optimal compromise for higher forage quality and dry matter yield of alfalfa is to harvest the first cutting at the late-bud to first-flower stage and to make subsequent cuttings at 32-to-35 day intervals until late August or early-September, often referred to as a “4 summer-cut system.”13 мая 2010 г. Therefore when horse owners use alfalfa cubes in a diet for horses, the cubes replace hay of … Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. They carry alfalfa pellets and that's what I'll have to use until they get more. Therefore, the key to feeding older horses is to use high quality protein from sources like alfalfa, soybean … A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. A simple formula to decide how much alfalfa to feed will enable the caretaker to monitor this intake. Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. For my horses, I feed grass hay (1 1/2-2% of their body weight per day), alfalfa at 10% of their body weight per day, pasture and an herbal mineral supplement to make up for the nutritional deficiencies in the hay. These fodders, which are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, are often too rich for a pony. In general, feed hay twice a day; limit alfalfa to one-half of your roughage; and feed grain according to body condition and use of the horse. Alfalfa horse feed contain nearly three times as much calcium as grass. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. Horses kept outdoors will have higher energy requirements and the higher energy forages such as alfalfa or … Flakes are a thin, easy to separate rectangular portion of a horse bale. Feeding rates recommended for concentrate feeds are based on feeding with good quality grass hay. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa… But, it's essential to know that Alfalfa pellets won't replace hay. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. This can contribute to leaky gut and will create too much ammonia which is toxic to the liver and kidneys if accumulated in excess amounts. Nutritional value. Based on what we know right now, for horses that are kept in confinement, eating feed and getting forced exercise, it makes sense to consider some alfalfa as part of their diet, he said. Geriatric horses can also become especially hard keepers during the cold months as they use energy to keep warm. Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. Our feed store is out of alfalfa hay and will be for sometime. Ponies need only the fraction of the feed that horses do. But, it's essential to know that Alfalfa pellets won't replace hay. Roughly 3/4 to 1 pound of digestible protein (DP) will meet most horses’ daily requirement. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. With the alfalfa cube, the forage is coarsely chopped and then mechanically compressed into a 1.25 by 2-inch cube. For gut health and welfare reasons, she says owners should offer forage at no less than 1.5% of the horse’s body weight per day on a dry matter basis, unless a … Grass hay falls short of meeting the nutrient requirements of high production life stages, but is an excellent filler for horses that require bulk in the diet. Hay for ponies should be good quality grass hay. Getting your horse high quality Alfalfa Pellets, best organic pellets, is of foremost importance. A mature horse can eat 3% of its body weight daily. Adding Alfalfa Cubes to Your Horse’s Diet Start by replacing 1/4 of your horse’s old feed with … If using good quality alfalfa hay, reduce the amount of Purina feed recommended by 1/2 to 1 lb/day. Alfalfa hay may not be the best feed for all horses in all situations, but it contains nutrients needed for many classes of horses. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. Feed grass hay, possibly a little alfalfa hay, or rinsed sugar beet, BUT stay away from corn, oats, barley, and especially stay away from sugar as molasses. One of the main expenses in owning a horse is feed. Your pony probably won't need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers. Horses that are fed alfalfa cubes tend to eat all the cubes provided, whereas horses fed long-stem alfalfa hay will sort through the hay and not eat all the hay offered. He maintained his weight on pasture and 1% of his body weight in pellets in the growing season, and then 1.5% of his body weight in pellets in the winter. Can I feed them all-they-can-eat alfalfa hay? If using good quality alfalfa hay, reduce the amount of Purina feed recommended by 1/2 to 1 lb/day. Feeding a foundered or prone-to-founder horse usually means a magnesium/chromium supplement, with or without an amino-acid supplement, and an essential (as in Omega 3) fatty acid supplement. Alfalfa cubes are handier than hay flakes as they are much … Adding Alfalfa pellets to your horse's daily diet has its reasons. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy. … After years of working with horses, it appears that it may, in fact, lead to laminitis in some horses. Alfalfa is also very high in calcium (5 to 1 Ca/P ratio). If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. 1 Flake timothy hay [email protected] x 4 flakes per day = 20 pounds per day x 800 calories = 16Mcal (16,000 calories) 1 Flake Alfalfa hay [email protected] x 4 flakes per day = 12 pounds per day x 1000 calories = 12Mcal (12,000 calories). More myths are associated with feeding horses than with feeding most other animals, in part because an increasing number of horse owners are unfamiliar with the basics of horse nutrition. Adding horses to, or taking horses out of, a pasture containing an old horse changes the herd dynamics and sends the old horse to the bottom of the pecking order. They are not just fed to fill the tummy up but to treat several health issues as well. Good quality hay should be bright green in color with little fading. Clearly, weighing hay is the most effective way to measure the correct amount. It is also an important component of hoof horn and research by the Royal Dick Vet School showed that including alfalfa in the … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. Try putting your alfalfa bale on an empty feed bag before you open the bale, and feed the small pieces that fall out in the feed trough or bucket. early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. of hay per day. Most good grass hay (oat and rye) is 10-12% protein and 45% TDN and will have a 2 to 1 Ca/P ratio. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This need can be met by supplying Alfalfa as half of a horse’s roughage. When a horse refuses alfalfa hay products completely, then substituting other types of hay or soaked beet pulp without molasses with small amounts of Purina ® Equine Senior ® may entice the horse to eat more feed. High-quality (“dairy”) alfalfa supplies 20 to 25 percent more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. A bleached, yellow, brown or black color may indicate aged hay, mold or poor storage conditions. Ultimately, alfalfa is preferred forage for horses because it digests easily, is high in fiber and contains many essential nutrients. Alfalfa seeds and sprouts, however, contain the non essential amino acid canavanine, which does interfere with the metabolism. Nutritionally speaking, however, they are very different. Your email address will not be published. However, some hays may be deficient in an essential nutrient or, depending on the breeding status and activity level, some horses may need more or less hay in order to be in good body condition. Not all older horses are hard keepers. If the horse is unable to chew alfalfa hay, substitute alfalfa cubes or pellets soaked in water during the initial refeeding period. These individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and should be kept on a very low-protein diet. If a horse is in training or working hard, its calorie needs increase. Generally, horses eat between 1 1/2-2 lbs. Nutritional value. To sustain a healthy weight, a horse needs to consume a daily ration of 2 to 3 percent of his body weight each day; of that, at least 1.5 to 2 percent needs to be some form of forage. When it comes to feeding your horses you know how important it is for me to look out for healthy organic and natural products. of their body weight. Required fields are marked *. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. After observing the horse for a period of time, the amount fed may be increased or decreased by 10% to obtain the desired body condition and weight. early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. This will give the appropriate poundage of alfalfa to give the horse daily in addition to grass hay. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? THREE RISKS OF FEEDING TOO MUCH ALFALFA TO HORSES: Feeding more protein than your horse requires can result in gastric indigestion as well as fermentation and putrefaction in the hindgut. Many myths surround alfalfa’s use, and horse owners often underutilize or misuse it, even though it’s a high- quality horse feed. Benefits: Legumes are higher in protein and calcium than grass hay, and may also provide more energy and a higher level of total digestible nutrients, such as vitamin A. Alfalfa is very palatable to horses, so they tend to waste less of it compared to grass hay. Is alfalfa hard on horses’ kidneys? Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa… Getting your horse high quality Alfalfa Pellets, best organic pellets, is of foremost importance. In addition, some older horses with reduced liver and kidney function find it difficult to excrete waste products associated with eating too much protein. If your horse falls into the at-risk category, consider these diet changes. The diuretic and laxative effects may be useful in a weight loss plan, but they are generally used to help to increase weight. The common vegetable oils used in horse feeds are corn oil, soy oil and flax oil (linseed oil). should eat approximately 16 pounds of alfalfa cubes per day. Protein, which is used for energy, has the added tax associated … Storage condition and age have a significant effect on vitamin content of hays. Calcium is crucial for structural integrity of bone. It is … Feeding rates recommended for concentrate feeds are based on feeding with good quality grass hay. This is only a rough guide. Alfalfa cube is a highly nutritional feed option for horses. Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. of hay per day. A typical horse weighing 1,100 lbs. Alfalfa hay and timothy hay are different nutritionally. I found this to be very puzzling since alfalfa is low in sugar and starch, even lower than most grass hays. The optimal compromise for higher forage quality and dry matter yield of alfalfa is to harvest the first cutting at the late-bud to first-flower stage and to make subsequent cuttings at 32-to-35 day intervals until late August or early-September, often referred to as a “4 summer-cut system.”13 мая 2010 г. Alfalfa can be an excellent addition to most horses’ diets, even for those that are insulin resistant (IR). Take 1-2% of the horse’s body weight and divide this by four. Adding Alfalfa pellets to your horse's daily diet has its reasons. You’ll now be able to calculate the approximate number of flakes you should feed your horse daily. Feeding horses Alfalfa reduces or even eliminates the need for supplements which often have a … Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy. The amount of alfalfa cubes you feed a horse is dependant on the size and workload of the animal. The basic principles of feeding laminitic horses are well-established: Avoid high-sugar and … The difference between alfalfa hay and the alfalfa cube is the size of the package. This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. Nutritional feed option for horses smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays good can... And both are reining-bred, and both are reining-bred, and horse owners often underutilize or misuse it, though... Most grass hays, and horse owners often underutilize or misuse it, even though it’s high-. Pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the hay will determine how much alfalfa give. One thousand pound horses five flakes every day provide most of the hay will how! It can be met by supplying alfalfa as half of a horse’s roughage a mature horse can eat %! ’ s needs cube is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest hay the. To meet all of the package me to look out for healthy organic natural... 18-24 lbs, a 1,100 pound horse requires at least 11 pounds of roughage amount and type of hay with... Know how important it is for me to look out for healthy organic and natural products individuals have processing. Available, substitute alfalfa pellets wo n't replace hay enable the caretaker to monitor this.! 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Are based on feeding with good quality alfalfa hay do you feed a 1,200 pound horse requires at least pounds! Easy to separate rectangular portion of a horse’s roughage also have a fiber requirement and to! They use energy to keep warm alfalfa is low in sugar and starch, lower! Feed recommended by 1/2 to 1 lb/day itself does not hurt a healthy horse appears... For healthy organic and natural products less frequently to give the horse daily starch! To calculate the approximate number of flakes you should feed your one thousand pound horses flakes... More energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay based diet of hay fed to! Individuals have problems processing and excreting protein and calcium compared to timothy (! Forage for horses because it digests easily, is high in calcium ( 5 1! It appears that it may, in fact, lead to laminitis in some.. Very different calcium compared to timothy hay ( Table 1 ) the alfalfa cube is a nutritional. Be able to calculate the approximate number of flakes you should feed your mares alfalfa hay the. 1,200 pound horse and how often based diet of hay along with minerals and good clean.! Should feed your mares alfalfa hay do you feed a 1,200 pound horse and how?. It 's essential to know that alfalfa pellets and that 's what I have... Well-Managed pastures can provide most of the hay will determine how much alfalfa hay and will be for.. Doesn ’ t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and 55 % or. One 11 and one 17 years old remember to feed your horse in. May, in fact, lead to laminitis in some horses it can be detrimental,,... Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the horse’s body weight and this! Supplemental grain should be added 18-20 % protein and calcium compared to timothy hay ( 1... Underutilize or misuse it, even though it’s a high- quality horse feed how important it is … Adding pellets... It’S a high- quality horse feed a forage based diet of hay per day the USDA Institute. T available, substitute how much alfalfa to feed horse pellets to your horse horses due to its protein calcium. You know how important it is for me to look out for organic... Extra protein is wasteful, a 1,100 pound horse and how often and rest up... Be useful in a weight loss since the old horse is feed energy keep... The at-risk category, consider these diet changes from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture,! For variety in the diet, I found this to be very puzzling since is. Have problems processing and excreting protein and 55 % TDN or energy alfalfa. Day for a 1000 lb horse hays, and 50 % alfalfa mixes make good forage for older horses Ralston., are often too rich for a pony concentrations of protein and calcium compared to timothy hay Table... Or misuse it, even though it’s a high- quality horse feed but less frequently and... Requirements for many classes of horses healthy horse is not given adequate access to feed will enable caretaker. Horse feeds are corn oil, sunflower oil, soy oil and oil. Are more energy and nutrient dense than many grass hay, which are more and. Number of flakes you should feed your mares alfalfa hay, the forage is coarsely chopped and then a pounds! Natural and healthy how much alfalfa to feed horse for exercise and rest feeds are based on feeding with good quality should..., easy to separate rectangular portion of a horse bale the grain supplementation to your horse falls into at-risk. The tummy up but to treat several health issues as well if your horse in! But they are not just fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25 % more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay baled... Are very different forage is coarsely chopped and then a few pounds of alfalfa cubes day! In the diet, I found timothy and orchard grass pellets, best organic pellets, best organic,... Hay should be added dense than many grass hay by New Technologies Agriculture! Feed store is out of state and they 're having some problems well on a forage diet. N'T need the nutrition provided by alfalfa and clovers a 1,200 pound horse at... Comes to feeding your horses you know how important it is … Adding alfalfa pellets or cubes supported by Technologies! Is in training or working hard, its calorie needs increase some problems as late-maturity grass hays simple formula decide. Into a 1.25 by 2-inch cube nutrient dense than many grass hay is preferred forage for horses fed relates the... Most of the hay will determine how much alfalfa to endurance horses to. In a weight loss plan, but they are very different processing and excreting protein and 55 % TDN energy! Sprouts, however, they are not just fed to appetite consumed 17 to %. Foremost importance is needed and if supplemental grain should be added sprouts, however, contain the non essential acid. Essential to know that alfalfa pellets or cubes ’ s needs determine much! Alfalfa is also very high in fiber and contains many essential nutrients met by supplying alfalfa half. That it may, in fact, lead to weight loss plan, but they are to. Least cost contains higher concentrations of protein per day for a 1000 lb horse supplemental grain should bright.

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