I used to feed my arab alfalfa plus grass hay in the winter to keep weight on him. 1. In addition, alfalfa can overstimulate the pituitary gland. Fact: Alfalfa is no more likely to cause an allergic reaction than any other type of hay. Safely fed to horses for thousands of years, Alfalfa’s high protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content all contribute to its high feed value. Selecting alfalfa hay with moderate protein content and providing additional diet fortification with minerals, help make this a balanced forage for horses. Below are a few reasons why alfalfa is still used for horses today. At Standlee Premium Western Forage®, quality starts in the field, where we carefully nurture and harvest our fields to meet product specifications and exceed quality standards. The body’s process for breaking down protein into calories results in nitrogen as a byproduct, which gets filtered out of the body in the horse’s kidneys. High pH readings (less acidic) in hay-fed horses should be expected since forage consumption stimulates saliva production which naturally buffers acid. Experts in horse nutrition recognize alfalfa as a high protein, mineral rich forage but few look at the energetic properties of this hay for horses. High in protein and minerals, Alfalfa hay is a high-energy feed source for cattle, horses and sheep. Alfalfa is rich in beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Alfalfa is tasty to horses. The exception to the relationship of age and protein requirements is for late pregnancy and lactation, when the mare has increased protein requirements for proper nourishment of the foal. Forage should be the foundation of every horse … Next, the young horse requires calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio to one another. But the excess protein does not harm the kidneys. Because it is higher in energy and protein, using alfalfa makes it easier to meet those needs with minimal or at least lower levels of supplementation. It’s been blamed for colic and high spirits, but does alfalfa deserve the stigma that seems to follow it? Introduction 2. Medicago Stavia, better known as alfalfa or lucerne is in the same plant family as peas, beans and clover. A high quality cereal grain hay, like oat hay, is preferable to a poor quality alfalfa. The simple answer is “no,” since alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, calories, calcium and Vitamin A for horses. It also contains vitamin E and the B vitamins Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Biotin and Folic Acid. Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved by Ceads, Ağaoğlu Maslak 1453, T4b-Blok No:27, Maslak 34485, Istanbul, Turkey. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of highly available calcium, but unfortunately is often a poor source of phosphorus. Not so, if fed appropriately. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. High quality ("dairy") alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hays, although the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa. ©2020 Standlee Premium Products, LLC® All Rights Reserved. Alfalfa Hay Buffers Stomach Acids and Helps Ulcer-Prone Horses. Each horse in the study had been assigned a gastric ulcer score before the study began as a result of gastric endoscopy. That is a stunningly large amount of the horse … After water, the major constituent of the horse’s body is pro- tein. Generally, horses eat between 1 1/2-2 lbs. In the case of mature horses, alfalfa forage will … Alfalfa Hay. That’s an old wives’ tale, probably inspired by the fact that horses with high protein intake tend to drink more water, and therefore urinate more. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Alfalfa is usually lower in ber, higher in energy, higher in protein and higher in calcium than grass hays. Consequently, protein is essential for growth, and for the repair and formation of new tissue. In conclusion, the availability and nutrient content of alfalfa hay make it a logical forage for horses. Alfalfa hay can be an excellent source of calories for horses who need help in gaining weight, or whose exercise demands require additional energy sources. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. As a rule, protein requirements decrease with age. The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which … Alfalfa contains valuable levels of the trace mineral cobalt that enables the horse to synthesize vitamin B12 which is involved in iron absorption and utilization. Horses are designed to eat forage and quality forage is the basis for the feeding programs of all classes of horse. More than 80 percent of performance horses suffer from some varying degree of ulceration. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. As a trend, the trace mineral profile (copper, zinc and selenium) of alfalfa is marginal when compared to the trace mineral requirements for growing and performance horses. Alfalfa Hay for Horses . At the end of the study, the ulcer severity scores of the horses fed alfalfa had dropped overall, while the ulcer severity scores of the horses fed Bermuda grass hay had risen. It’s green and leafy, and horses love it, but alfalfa hay also has a bit of a bad reputation in the horse world. What the Horse Owner Needs to Know 5. Many horse owners select hay for their horses based on what they think looks good or on what they have been told is good. In addition, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in some alfalfa hays approaches 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Horses being fed large quantities of plain grains such as Bluebonnet Feeds Race Horse Whole Oats or wheat bran will probably be consuming way too much phosphorus; the addition of alfalfa will balance out the Ca:P ratio to healthy proportions. But if your animals have never eaten it before, it might take some time getting used to, just like with any new food. Rapid diet changes are associated with colic, so it’s possible that if you change from grass hay to alfalfa hay all of a sudden, or you introduce alfalfa hay abruptly, you could increase the risk of colic. As a practical recommendation, select alfalfa hays which do not contain extremely high levels of protein (greater than 17% crude protein). Made primarily with the best pre-bloom alfalfa and a small amount of Timothy hay and orchard grass, Triple Crown Premium Alfalfa Forage Blend is intended to replace all or part of the hay portion of any horse’s diet. Get PDF (73 KB) Abstract. Research has shown that in addition to being an excellent energy and protein source, alfalfa hay also has the ability to buffer stomach acid and alleviate ulcer severity and formation. Alfalfa hay is all we do. Therefore, it takes less hay to meet a horse's nutrient needs when feeding alfalfa hay. The amount of alfalfa cubes you feed a horse is dependant on the size and workload of the animal. Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids and these are converted into tissues such as muscle. It’s especially helpful for a hard keeper because of its high palatability—horses love to eat it. Eighty percent of the muscles and twenty percent of the skeleton consist of some type of protein. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. Alfalfa hay is one of the most common hays available in the US, making it a popular choice for forage for horses. Many of these situations are avoidable, so here are, in my opinion, “The Seven Deadly Sins of Horse Hay Making,” in no particular order. Alfalfa is best for horses with high nutrient needs Benefits of Alfalfa Hay. lfalfa is often the pre- ferred forage for horses because of its high quality, high digestibility, and good roughage value.Well-preserved alfalfa hay should be the foundation of a feeding program for young growing horses, recreational horses, and active horses.This publica- tion describes the horse’s digestive system and nutritional needs and how to select alfalfa hay. 12 Days of Standlee Christmas - Prizes every day December 12th - 23rd - ENTER NOW, Dr. Tania Cubitt, Performance Horse Nutrition and Standlee Premium Western Forage® Nutritional Consultant. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. What Hay Growers Should Know 4. A typical horse weighing 1,100 lbs. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. Feeding alfalfa is an excellent alternative to feeding excessive amounts of grain at meals to get more calories into a horse’s diet. For young, growing horses, two minerals, calcium and phosphorus, are vital for proper skeletal formation. Therefore, the younger the horse, the greater the protein requirement when expressed as a percentage of total diet. Good quality alfalfa hay is one of the most palatable and digestible forage sources that can be offered to any class of horse. Standlee® has several excellent choices of high quality alfalfa products including compressed bales, chopped alfalfa and pelleted and cubed products. 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