I have a 14 year old Arabian mare, and ever since I stalled her up she started losing a bit of weight, so I switched her to straight alfalfa (as opposed to coastal hay). Here are some things you should know if you choose to feed a straight alfalfa diet. Add alfalfa cubes to your horse’s diet gradually, as sudden dietary changes can cause health issues. She eats about 12-14 pounds of alfalfa per day (half in the morning, half at night) along with about 5-6 pounds of pelleted feed per day (half at morning, half at night). 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. You might be interested: How to ride a horse western. What you need to know and do. 1/4 alfalfa/hay or 1/2 alfalfa/hay mix is best if your horse is a hard keeper. Horses on straight alfalfa also have the highest requirements for water to process metabolites of the extra protein through their urine. Alfalfa is high in calcium which suppresses magnesium and it causes an imbalanced calcium to phosphorus ratio of 5:1. Alfalfa cubes are more appropriate either for lactating mares or growing horses and as a partial forage substitute. Some horsemen may be hesitant to feed hull-less oats because they believe the hulls contribute significantly to fiber intake of 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. I also chose this option because I am highly allergic to straight alfalfa. Few things create more arguments and opinions when it comes to feeding horses than whether alfalfa should be a part of the equine diet. Some Advantages Horses love it! Straight alfalfa is not good for any breed. Ideally, a horse’s diet will be structured around hay rather than concentrates or grains. Many horse owners may decide that a mix of legume and grass hay is the appropriate choice for their horse. Alfalfa hay would not be the best forage for certain groups of horses. Straight alfalfa will provide more protein, more calcium and perhaps more calories per pound than an alfalfa-grass mix. Both grain hays and alfalfa also have very unbalanced mineral profiles that will require careful supplementation. 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. The horses’ age, activity level, breed, and stage of life can all have a tremendous affect on the amount of feed that they require. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? You might be interested: How to build a horse shelter. It can be bundled in 30- to 80-pound square bales or large, round or long square bales that can weigh tons. If good quality baled Alfalfa isn’t available, substitute Alfalfa pellets or cubes. Feeding alfalfa pellets does not provide enough fiber length to be an optimum fiber replacement. 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. Feeding straight beet pulp is also not an optimum solution because of the soaking needed and the lack of some important vitamins and minerals. I’ve started to feed him the cubes twice a day along with free choice grass hay and hay stretcher pellets. I’m reluctant to feed him straight alfalfa, as he’s quite a hot horse by nature. ... owners to go to more of a grass hay and not a straight alfalfa hay. 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. Feeding a surplus of energy to young horses, especially weanlings, can often lead to growth problems, including contracted tendons. Grasses commonly used as hay are brome, orchard, and timothy. For most horse owners, feeding a horse is the major cost of ownership. Feeding horses is never an easy topic to simplify since every horse is different. A high-fat commercial feed is fine for healthy horses. I personally feed all our horses straight grass hay so I can feed more of it and they can spend more time munching. 14 It is a common myth that excess protein causes bone and joint problems in growing horses. It is cut, cured, and baled. This is actually an article unto itself, titled "Reasons Not To Feed Straight Alfalfa" and it can be found in our website. Young horses predisposed to growth problems. If alfalfa cubes will be its primary feed, replace 1/4 of its old feed with alfalfa cubes. There are many types of hay harvested from grasses including alfalfa, timothy, clover and rye. Others view it as a kind of poison. I thought that was far-fetched, but it brought me to wondering what benefits feeding straight oats had. In fact, retired horses and those in light work may do fine on a hay- or pasture-only diet. Many horse owners feed grass hay or straight alfalfa or a combination of grass and alfalfa to their horses. 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. A straight (or high percentage) alfalfa diet! Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. Some owners choose to feed their horses straight alfalfa, but there is a downside. Locally we get alfalfa mix, The halter horse people feed straight alfalfa because the extra cost is worth the pounds added to the horse. My horses loved all forms of alfalfa, even my double-Impressive bred quarter horse. The pros and cons of Grass and Alfalfa. However, the 50/50 mix does not seem to make him overly energetic. It is too rich in protein, calcium and phosphorus which poison the liver. Bales– the typical horse owner feeds Alfalfa in ~50 pound square bales. Mix the cubes with its old feed to get its digestive tract and taste buds accustomed to its new diet. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. Fatty feeds such as rice bran, flaxseed meal, or chia seeds offer the most concentrated source of calories. Horse hay needs to be of good quality. To hit the high spots, here are the conditions that are precipitated by too much alfalfa: •Diminished Performance. Protein in alfalfa runs between 15-18% or higher. Practicality and cost of feeding are always considerations when devising a feeding plan for horses. Buy Feeding Straight Alfalfa To Horses And Feed Groom Horse Care Play Set Feeding Traditional feeds for horses include grass or alfalfa hay, corn, oats, a sweet feed of some type or commercially developed feed. For the easy keeper or insulin-resistant horse, avoid sweet feeds and those that contain oats or corn. When should I cut my horse’s alfalfa? Young horses should be fed a mixture of alfalfa and grass hay to help improve the Ca:P balance. Horses descended from that stallion are often known to have HYPP, and can't tolerate alfalfa if they have it; but this horse did extremely well on it. Young horses on this type of feeding program are predisposed to skeletal development issues. Another fiber solution is to feed a complete diet. a farm feeding alfalfa hay to horses in the barn to have a significant ammonia problem in the barn because of the excessive protein intake. 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. This is one of the problems often encountered when horses are fed straight alfalfa hay or cubes with no additional P supplementation. No argument there. LMF California Complete is a pelleted feed that consists of beet pulp, alfalfa hay and other highly digestible fiber sources along with rice bran, oats and a complete vitamin and mineral package. Grain is also too rich and should be fed in small quantities. Horses also have a fiber requirement and tend to get bored when roughage (hay) is limited. It is also very crucial, no matter what you choose to feed, you feed it in a healthy portion. Some say there's nothing better. Feeding alfalfa alongside a traditional stud mix or cube encourages more chewing and therefore better digestion of the feed.

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