Your question: Is fescue bad for horses?

Fescue infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum produces chemicals toxic to horses. Infected pasture and hay is toxic for horses to eat. The toxic chemicals in the stems and leaf sheaths tend to peak in late June and decline as the seeds develop.

Is fescue grass hay good for horses?

Tall fescue is an extremely hardy, well-adapted grass species used for hay and pasture in the central and eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Although tall fescue has gotten a bad reputation in the horse industry, it is a safe and practical grass for most classes of horses with the exception of broodmares.

Will fescue hurt a horse?

Recognize first that it is not the fescue grass itself that is toxic to the horse, but rather an endophytic fungus known as Acremonium coenophialum which lives within the plants and seeds. When the horse ingests the grass, it is steadily poisoned by the endophyte.

What kind of grass is bad for horses?


Sorghum, Sudangrass, Johnsongrass, Sorghum-Sudangrass hybrids all should NOT be used for equine / horses. Horses can develop paralysis and urinary disorders from grazing these species. Hay from these species is considered safe for feeding.

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Do horses prefer grass or hay?

While most horses do well and thrive on a grass hay diet, other horses with different needs and medical conditions are better suited to being fed a diet of grass/alfalfa mix, or an exclusively all alfalfa.

Which toxin is responsible for fescue toxicosis in horse?

Fescue lameness, which resembles ergot poisoning, is believed to be caused by ergot alkaloids, especially ergovaline, produced by the endophyte fungus Neotyphodium coenophialum in tall fescue grass (Lolium arundinaceum, formerly Festuca arundinacea).

Can mares eat fescue?

Until they are in the last trimester of pregnancy, mares can safely graze fescue pastures and eat hay that contains fescue. Most experts recommend removing the infected grass and hay from the mares’ diets for about the last 90 days of pregnancy to avoid problems.

What kind of hay is not good for horses?

Hoffman said there are a few grasses to avoid in hay or forage if you are feeding horses. They include: Perennial ryegrass and rye. This quick-growing grass is popular in dairy pastures.

Why do horses not eat some grass?

Horses can not eat fresh-cut grass because they gobble it without properly chewing the grass, leading to severe health issues. Clumps of cut grass also attract mold and bacteria, resulting in severe and sometimes fatal stomach problems for horses when ingested.