Question: Should horses eat alfalfa hay?

Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of energy, protein, calcium and some other nutrients for horses. Its concentrations of protein and calcium meet the nutrient needs of horses in high levels of production, such as growth and lactation, but exceed the nutrient requirements of horses in other life stages.

How much alfalfa hay is it safe to feed a horse?

Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. of hay per day. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy.

Is alfalfa hay bad for horses?

Alfalfa is tasty to horses. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. … Heavily pregnant or lactating mares, and young rapidly growing horses, benefit from alfalfa’s high protein content. Alfalfa is also a rich source of calcium.

Can I feed my horse only alfalfa hay?

Conclusion. Generally alfalfa is a good hay to feed horses, but there are caveats: Don’t overfeed alfalfa. Only feed alfalfa if your horse needs extra digestible energy, protein, and calcium.

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Is alfalfa or hay better for horses?

Alfalfa is a very common choice for horse owners to feed. It contains more nutrients than grass hay including protein, calcium, and energy. For example, Alfalfa contains 21.2% protein and 11% simple starches. It is higher in calcium which can be good and bad.

Does alfalfa hay cause colic in horses?

Rich alfalfa hay can also cause colic, so we recommend feeding a grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix. Changes in management or a horse’s routine can be stressful and contribute to colic risk as well. … Intestinal parasites can lead to colic, particularly in the young horse.

What happens if a horse eats too much alfalfa?

Horses provided too much alfalfa often will eat more than they need nutritionally to satisfy their need to fill their gut, which can result in obesity. Switching abruptly from a mature-grass hay to an alfalfa hay diet can, however, cause colic in horses if they aren’t given time to adjust.

Is alfalfa hard on horses kidneys?

Myth: An alfalfa-rich diet causes kidney problems.

Horses with kidney disease shouldn’t consume a high-protein diet (such as alfalfa), but the alfalfa itself won’t cause kidney disease.

Does alfalfa cause gas in horses?

Horses should be consuming feed (hay or concentrate) for a minimum of 8-10 hours/day, with a maximum of 4-5 hours without food. … High-quality alfalfa can cause excess gas in some horses. Given her history, it may be worth cutting back the alfalfa in the diet.

Does alfalfa hay make horses hot?

Alfalfa hay will make a horse hot, or crazy.

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Not so, if fed appropriately. Alfalfa provides a significant amount of calories; however, an excess of calories in any form, whether from alfalfa, grain or oil, without the exercise to burn them, can result in an excessively energetic horse.

Which cutting of hay is best for horses?

The most common choice of hay is second cutting, but first cutting is also good for horses, plus it is usually cheaper than the other two. Choose hay that is soft, green, and leafy, with thin stems, so it is easier for horses to eat.

Does alfalfa have more calories than grass hay?

Higher Energy Content / Lower In Fiber

The energy content is also different between alfalfa and grass hays. Alfalfa hay typically has more calories per pound than grass hay, so if you are feeding your horse alfalfa hay, he may need to consume less hay to maintain his body weight.