Target Feeding Rate (% of body weight to feed per day) Forage Format Feeding Change Timeframe (Duration to transition to feeding change) Horse: 0.05 to 0.2%: Pellets, Shreds: Soak in water for 15-30 minutes prior to feeding: Bison: 0.15% of total forage intake: Pellets, Shreds ... owners to go to more of a grass hay and not a straight alfalfa hay. Traditional feeds for horses include grass or alfalfa hay, corn, oats, a sweet feed of some type or commercially developed feed. Fiber is undoubtedly essential for proper functioning of the equine digestive tract. It is not true, however, that the high protein intake is harmful to the kidneys. What you need to know and do. Horse hay needs to be of good quality. Some say there's nothing better. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. Some owners choose to feed their horses straight alfalfa, but there is a downside. Feeding alfalfa alongside a traditional stud mix or cube encourages more chewing and therefore better digestion of the feed. Straight alfalfa is not good for any breed. Let's look at the pros and cons of alfalfa, and explore some of the myths. Feeding horses is never an easy topic to simplify since every horse is different. I’m reluctant to feed him straight alfalfa, as he’s quite a hot horse by nature. A mixed bale (or feeding a flake from each type of bale) provides medium energy and protein counts, adds relatively high (compared with solely grass hay) calcium, and a more appropriate calcium-to-phosphorus ratio than straight alfalfa. Feeding a surplus of energy to young horses, especially weanlings, can often lead to growth problems, including contracted tendons. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. in the urine, so horse owners that feed alfalfa to adult horses may find that the horses drink more water and urinate more than when they use a grass hay. High quality hay can be an excellent source of nutrition for - including protein and calcium - for horses and ponies and is a very palatable feed.. Practicality and cost of feeding are always considerations when devising a feeding plan for horses. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. I used to feed alfalfa hay as a supplement or grass/alfalfa mix but my horses are also tramplers and found that a lot of it got wasted. 14 It is a common myth that excess protein causes bone and joint problems in growing horses. Ideally, a horse’s diet will be structured around hay rather than concentrates or grains. As for my horse, I have started feeding him alfalfa/timothy cubes as part of his forage ration. The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. A straight (or high percentage) alfalfa diet! The amount and type of hay fed relates to the other feeds you use and the use of your horse. Straight alfalfa cubes will contain more protein and calcium than the normal adult horse needs, but will not harm the horse as long as its kidneys are functioning properly. Alfalfa hay generally runs at least 18-20% protein, often higher. I’ve started to feed him the cubes twice a day along with free choice grass hay and hay stretcher pellets. Here are some things you should know if you choose to feed a straight alfalfa diet. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. Young horses should be fed a mixture of alfalfa and grass hay to help improve the Ca:P balance. A combination of naked oats and alfalfa may keep the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in balance, an important factor to consider when formulating diets for young horses. I feed alfalfa hay to all my horses,(and have for years) I know many people that do, and they have no issues whatsoever. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content. The last thing you want on an endurance ride where the horse is sweating for long periods is the increased body heat, water needs, and urine production described. The pros and cons of Grass and Alfalfa. Recent tests of alfalfa hay in horse feeding schemes have proven no adverse affects as long as sufficient water was available in the diet. It is too rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver. Young horses predisposed to growth problems. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? You might be interested: How to build a horse shelter. I heard somewhere if you feed your horse 1 cup (or scoop, or whatever) of straight oats with their feed, they'll replant your field through their poo. Mix the cubes with its old feed to get its digestive tract and taste buds accustomed to its new diet. I personally feed all our horses straight grass hay so I can feed more of it and they can spend more time munching. My horses benefit from the Alfalfa but the mixture helps me be able to handle it better. The most important thing to remember is what is best for your particular horse. I also chose this option because I am highly allergic to straight alfalfa. Start by replacing 1/4 of your horse’s old feed with alfalfa cubes. 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