Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Hay? (Things You Should Know)

Alfalfa hay is a type of hay that horses can eat.

It is a great source of fiber and provides many other beneficial nutrients that horses need.

There are a few things you should know before feeding your horse this type of food, however.

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of alfalfa hay for horses, as well as some of the potential risks associated with feeding this type of hay.

Let’s get started.

Can horses eat alfalfa hay?

In general, yes, your horses can safely eat alfalfa hay, but it might not be the best option for all horses.

And before you proceed to feed, remember to talk to your veterinarian about how often you should feed alfalfa hay and what portion sizes would be appropriate for your horse.

Alfalfa hay is generally safe to feed as long as they are properly balanced with other feeds and as long as it doesn’t introduce too much calcium into their diet.

Horses require a lot of energy in their diet, and that energy comes from carbohydrates.

While alfalfa does contain carbohydrates, it also contains more digestible energy than grass hays like Timothy or Orchard grass because of its high protein content.

This makes it ideal for underweight and growing ones who need extra nutrients to fuel their bodies.

The ones on low-carb diets may do well with this hay because the protein and nutrient content results in a high caloric density.

Alfalfa is also great for horses on high planes of nutrition because it has a lower crude fiber, more digestible energy, and higher calcium than some other types of hay.


However, just like with all feeds, only feed alfalfa to horses when they need the added nutrients it provides and not more than 1-2 days per week.

They should never be allowed to gorge or overeat on this type of hay as this can lead to colic or founder.

Also, while most grass hays are safe for adult horses, do not feed them to young growing ones because they don’t have sufficient calcium levels needed for healthy growth plates.

While it can be fed to horses, it’s important that owners do not overfeed or give them too much because it can lead to illnesses like colitis.

Also, grass hays are usually better for young growing equines because they contain higher levels of calcium which is necessary for proper bone development.

However, older ones may benefit from alfalfa hay if their diet requires an increase in protein and energy.

Overall, while alfalfa does have its benefits, only feed your horse when he needs the added nutrients and avoid overfeeding hay altogether.

How much alfalfa hay should a horse eat?

About 18 to 24 pounds per day is a good range to stick with. (source)

Can horses eat straight alfalfa hay?

Yes, you can feed straight alfalfa to young horses when they are growing up.

It is good for them because it has fiber and protein.

They can eat either in their pasture or they can have it as hay. (source)

Would alfalfa hay make a horse founder?

Yes, a horse can founder on this.

This happens if they eat too much of the hay.

If you are switching from grass to alfalfa, feed less than you would with the grass hay. (source)

Can you free feed alfalfa to horses?

Yes, you can feed your equines alfalfa freely.

However, it is best to also give them other types of hay such as rye hay or oat hay, as they will then regulate their intake themselves.

Alfalfa and oat hays are higher in calories, so they will make many horses gain weight.

Is timothy or alfalfa better for horses?

Timothy hay is also a type of hay that some horses eat.

The latter is also a type of hay, but it has more protein and essential nutrients in it.

Alfalfa is a better option for horses who are more active and need a high-protein diet.

Does alfalfa cause inflammation in horses?

can horses eat alfalfa hay

Yes, because a high protein diet with this type of hay can make horses’ bodies become too acidic.

This can cause inflammation in different parts of their bodies, including their joints and hooves. (source)

Is grass hay or alfalfa better for horses?

Alfalfa would be a better choice for sure.

Grass hay has lower levels of protein and calcium, but it can still be a good choice for some horses who need more filling up with fewer nutrients.

Can alfalfa cause diarrhea horses?

Yes, if your equines have unlimited access to quality alfalfa hay, they may experience diarrhea and other digestive upsets. (source)

Why does alfalfa make horses hot?

Alfalfa is known to make horses hot because it is a high-energy food that also has low levels of fiber.

This combination can be dangerous with high energy requirements, as they might eat too much and become overheated.

How many flakes of alfalfa should a horse eat per day?

You should give a horse 5 flakes of alfalfa every day.

Put the food in as many small portions as you can to make it easier for your horse to eat. (source)

Is alfalfa good for older horses?

Older horses have a hard time eating hay.

They need food that is easier to eat, so feeding them a mix of orchard and alfalfa would be better.

Is pure alfalfa bad for horses?

No, alfalfa is good.

It has calcium, protein, and other nutrients that are needed for horses at different life stages. (source)

Which cutting of alfalfa is best for horses?

You should use the second cut of alfalfa when it’s hot outside and the plant is developing fast.

The second cut has more stem than leaf, so there may be less protein than other cuts, but 16% is enough for all classes of horses. (source)

Does alfalfa make horses gain weight?

Yes, alfalfa is a high-calorie and protein hay.

That means it’s good for bulking up your thin horses. (source)


In summary, alfalfa hay is a good source of fiber and nutrients for horses.

But some horses may have trouble digesting it, so it’s important to monitor your horse’s reaction to this type of hay.

If you notice that your horse is having problems with digestion after eating this, try switching to a different type of hay.