Adding a little alfalfa, especially prior to exercise, really helps buffer the stomach acid. Most horses love this leafy, green hay. As a result, if you fed your horse enough alfalâ¦ Feeding alfalfa is an excellent alternative to feeding excessive amounts of grain at meals to get more calories into a horseâs diet. Couple a complex set of mineral requirements with forages which are often marginal in mineral content, and we have the potential for performance problems. The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young growing horses. Get PDF (73 KB) Abstract. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. It is recommended that young, growing horses receive supplemental phosphorus in the form of a ration balancer supplement or developing horse commercial concentrate. Alfalfa is also a popular horse hay since it is widely available. Medicago Stavia, better known as alfalfa or lucerne is in the same plant family as peas, beans and clover. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, both in content and quality. The mineral content of your alfalfa compared to the mineral content of your neighborâs, or even your grandfatherâs (20 years ago), is certainly different. This class of carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and fructan. Most horses will readily consume alfalfa hay. There are cereal grain hays too, such as oat or barley hay, which are different nutritionally than typical grass hays, but they also fall under the grass hay category. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. Everything we expect a horse to do for us exacts a price. More than 80 percent of performance horses suffer from some varying degree of ulceration. The impression that alfalfa makes a horse hot is usually the result of an improper amount of alfalfa being fed. However, wild horses are never expected to perform on the track or in the arena, and their low reproductive rate would drive most professional breeders out of the business. The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young, growing horses. In addition, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in some alfalfa hays approaches 15 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Good quality alfalfa hay is one of the most palatable and digestible forage sources that can be offered to any class of horse. Legumes are higher in protein, energy, calcium, and vitamin A than grass hay. When horses are stabled, or grazing is limited, they need a substitute for the grass they would have naturally eaten. 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. Growing the finest Alfalfa Hay for over 43 years Yamshon Ranch premium alfalfa horse hay is cut, cured and baled at the peak of quality for optimum horse consumption. Alfalfa hay is all we do. For young, growing horses, two minerals, calcium and phosphorus, are vital for proper skeletal formation. This trace mineral fortification typically comes in the form of pelleted grain concentrates or low intake mineral supplements. A high quality cereal grain hay, like oat hay, is preferable to a poor quality alfalfa. When feeding strictly alfalfa hay, it is not uncommon to have large amounts of calcium with marginal amounts of phosphorus. Protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids and these are converted into tissues such as muscle. Next, the young horse requires calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio to one another. It is recommended that horses with metabolic syndrome consume hay with NSC levels of around 10% to 12%. Alfalfa has a neutral thermal nature which means it does not create a heating or cooling effect in the body. The simple answer is âno,â since alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, calories, calcium and Vitamin A for horses. THREE BENEFITS OF FEEDING ALFALFA TO HORSES: Alfalfa is a high protein forage, so it makes an excellent supplement for horses that are protein deficient or for horses that have higher protein requirements such as senior horses or â¦ Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. Alfalfa is tasty to horses. StandleeÂ® has several excellent choices of high quality alfalfa products including compressed bales, chopped alfalfa and pelleted and cubed products. 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. Wild horses survive on forage alone. If youâre not sure how much to feed your pregnant or highly active horse, ask its vet for advice. Medicago Stavia, better known as alfalfa or lucerne is in the same plant family as peas, beans and clover. Horses fed to appetite consumed 17 to 25% more cubed alfalfa than long-stem hay. Sadly, each year, horse barns and farmers storage barns burn down, horses become sick from respiratory disease and colic and a myriad of other diseases such as Cushings. But alfalfa also isnât for every horse—when making a decision about whether to incorporate alfalfa into your feeding program, itâs important to be informed about its strengths and weaknesses. The bodyâs process for breaking down protein into calories results in nitrogen as a byproduct, which gets filtered out of the body in the horseâs kidneys. In general, feed a horse between 1.5 and 3% of its body weight. 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. Horses that received free-choice grass hay for 24 hours had average gastric pH readings that were significantly higher than fasted horses. Alfalfa Hay for Horses. All of these factors—performance, growth rate, reproduction and age—complicate the nutrient requirements of the horse in ways unforeseen 20 years ago. Below are a few reasons why alfalfa is still used for horses today. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. 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. Ideally, we would like to have a total dietary calcium to phosphorus ratio of between 1.5-2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. Itâs green and leafy, and horses love it, but alfalfa hay also has a bit of a bad reputation in the horse world. A typical horse weighing 1,100 lbs. Alfalfa is an important component of an active horseâs diet. Generally, horses eat between 1 1/2-2 lbs. By Robert Coleman. But the excess protein does not harm the kidneys. Many horse owners advise that Alfalfa hay is the best kind of hay to feed a horse. This hay is high in fiber, protein and calcium. Alfalfa Hay. Alfalfa contains more protein and calcium than grass hay, so itâs a good feed choice for horses with higher nutritional needs. 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. Alfalfa hay is high in energy. Alfalfa hay is high in good-quality protein. Therefore, the younger the horse, the greater the protein requirement when expressed as a percentage of total diet. Selecting alfalfa hay with moderate protein content and providing additional diet fortification with minerals, help make this a balanced forage for horses. Especially where the grass hay is low in protein, alfalfa can help boost the protein content of your horseâs diet to an appropriate level. It has 120 percent more energy per unit in weight than oat hay. It then becomes necessary to replace the nutrients being expended if performance is to be maintained. Horses that are fed alfalfa cubes tend to eat all the cubes provided, whereas horses fed long-stem alfalfa hay will sort through the hay and not eat all the hay offered. Also well-suited to younger animals or those with greater protein needs. What Hay Growers Should Know 4. Protein is also the building material for enzymes and many hormones, giving it a vital role in the regulatory processes of horses. Horses and ponies in their natural environment are grazing animals - they spend many hours a day eating grass. of their body weight. Alfalfa is usually lower in ber, higher in energy, higher in protein and higher in calcium than grass hays. 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. âThe biggest benefit of alfalfa for horses is that it tends to be more nutrient-dense than most grasses when harvested at the same stage of maturity,â says Martinson. In addition, alfalfa can overstimulate the pituitary gland. Blood solids are largely protein, and because antibod- ies and other immune substances are proteins, this nutrient also plays a major function in ghting infection. Ideal for all classes of horses as well as those with shortages or poor hay quality. Bales average 1550lbs. As would be expected, the mineral content of soil varies from region to region and has certainly changed over the past 20 to 30 years. Alfalfa is the most common legume hay for horses. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. That is a stunningly large amount of the horse â¦ Alfalfa hay is one of the best legume hays fed to horses. A study done at Texas A&M University fed 12 horses a pelleted grain and Bermuda grass hay, and 12 horses pelleted grain and alfalfa hay. Forage should be the foundation of every horse â¦ The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which â¦ As a practical recommendation, select alfalfa hays which do not contain extremely high levels of protein (greater than 17% crude protein). Eighty percent of the muscles and twenty percent of the skeleton consist of some type of protein. References At Standlee Premium Western ForageÂ®, quality starts in the field, where we carefully nurture and harvest our fields to meet product specifications and exceed quality standards. Alfalfa Hay. Premium Alfalfa Grab and GoÂ® Compressed Bale. Alfalfa is an important component of an active horseâs diet. Rapid diet changes are associated with colic, so itâs 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. Alfalfa has a very low content of both starch and water soluble carbohydrates (WSC) such as sugars and fructan. Mature horses use protein to maintain body tissues and synthesize antibodies, blood, hormones and the like, rather than build new masses of muscle and bone associated with growth. It is not unusual for mid-bloom alfalfa hay to have a crude protein content of 17% or greater. If you ask most horses they will tell you that alfalfa is a wonderful horse feed. 1. If a horse is in training or working hard, its calorie needs increase. 12 Days of Standlee Christmas - Prizes every day December 12th - 23rd - ENTER NOW, Dr. Tania Cubitt, Performance Horse Nutrition and Standlee Premium Western ForageÂ® Nutritional Consultant. It also contains vitamin E and the B vitamins Thiamin, Riboflavin, Pantothenic acid, Biotin and Folic Acid. Horses are designed to eat forage and quality forage is the basis for the feeding programs of all classes of horse. Not so, if fed appropriately. Safely fed to horses for thousands of years, Alfalfaâs high protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content all contribute to its high feed value. Alfalfa fed with a careful eye to the proportions of the whole diet, and the energy needs of the horse, will not create excess energy. Alfalfa is high in calcium and protein—both of which have a buffering effect on the acid in the stomach. In conclusion, the availability and nutrient content of alfalfa hay make it a logical forage for horses. Itâs especially helpful for a hard keeper because of its high palatabilityâhorses love to eat it. Dairy cows in particular have much to benefit from the high rate of protein contained in Alfalfa, sometimes exceeding 25% of mass. 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. Todayâs horses are expected to perform at higher levels, mature more rapidly, produce more offspring and live a longer productive life than ever before. However, the high-energy content may lead to overfeeding and to a fat horse. This is because Alfalfa Hay meets most protein and nutrition needs with a smaller quantity than most Grass Hays do. 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. A horse that is converting excess protein to calories will drink more water, to aid that ltering, and will have urine with a strong ammonia smell, as the nitrogen is excreted as urea. Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved by Ceads, AÄaoÄlu Maslak 1453,Â T4b-Blok No:27,Â Maslak 34485,Â Istanbul, Turkey. â¦ 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 horseâs diet. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. Many of these situations are avoidable, so here are, in my opinion, âThe Seven Deadly Sins of Horse Hay Making,â in no particular order. Introduction 2. As a rule, protein requirements decrease with age. Itâs especially helpful for a hard keeper because of its high palatability—horses love to eat it. However, because of its high palatability, intake must be restricted to keep horses from overeating and becoming colicky. Opinions vary all the way from believing that timothy is an essential part of every horse ration to that which insists on alfalfa for all horses. A horse fed Alfalfa as part of its daily ration will meet its need for protein while receiving essential vitamins and minerals. Horses typically enjoy alfalfa. I used to feed my arab alfalfa plus grass hay in the winter to keep weight on him. Alfalfa Hay for Horses. It is generally recommended that horses being fed strictly alfalfa hay diets be supplemented with additional trace minerals. Protein has historically been thought to be the cause of all evil in horses but research has shown that this is not the case and in fact, high starch or sugar diets are culprits. Consequently, protein is essential for growth, and for the repair and formation of new tissue. Alfalfa is rich in beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. The fibre in alfalfa gives your horse slow release energy which they can use for maintenance, work or putting on weight. Safely fed to horses for thousands of years, Alfalfaâs high protein, fiber, vitamin and mineral content all â¦ A well-kept pasture also is the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest. Research into equine ulcers has revealed that 90% of racehorses, more than 50% of performance horses, and as many as 37% of pleasure horses suffer from gastric ulcers. Below are a few reasons why alfalfa is still used for horses today. Horses tend to throw their hay around as they rummage for the good bits, so youâll need a good 8â by 8â of ground cover for your horses feeding area. Many horse owners select hay for their horses based on what they think looks good or on what they have been told is good. 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. ©2020 Standlee Premium Products, LLC® All Rights Reserved. In the case of mature horses, free-choice alfalfa hay will certainly provide enough protein to satisfy requirements. Feeding alfalfa is a safe way to build muscle tone. Alfalfa is best for horses with high nutrient needs Benefits of Alfalfa Hay. Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hays. Alfalfa Hay Buffers Stomach Acids and Helps Ulcer-Prone Horses. Hay Moisture. Wrapped in plastic over top of net wrap, stored outside, and 25% moisture. Hay and Hay Quality 3. At the same time, pâ¦ RFV is 135 for the first 38 bales, and 129 for the last 35. 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