Is alfalfa better than hay?

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.

Is alfalfa considered hay?

Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of good quality protein and fiber. Alfalfa is a legume hay in the pea family and is sometimes called “lucerne”. These hays are higher in protein and minerals and are more palatable than grass hays.

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.

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.

Is hay as nutritious as grass?

Mixed Hays and Balanced Nutrition

Hay from grass and hay from legumes tend to complement each other as livestock feed because they provide a balanced diet. Grasses tend to have half or less the amount of protein than hay from legumes while grass has a higher amount of fiber and has a more appealing flavor.

Why is alfalfa called hay?

Timothy and Alfalfa Hay Blog

The word itself being used to describe “fresh fodder”. Historians commonly believe that the final alteration of the name occurred after being introduced to Spain. The Spanish began grazing and farming the hay, calling it alfalfez and then alfalfa.

Is hay just dried grass?

Hay is a grass or can be a form of grass. When referring to it as a form of grass, it is a cut grass that has been cut then dried for the purpose of becoming an animal feed or food. If it’s still not to be used as food, then it can readily be stored some place else.

Why is hay good for horses?

High-quality hay can provide most of the nutrients needed for a mature horse. The hay should be cut early and be leafy, green, and free of mold, dust, and foreign matter, such as weeds and stubble. Horses readily consume good hay, which is rich in energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins.

Is alfalfa better than grass hay?

Grass hay typically has lower nutritional values than alfalfa hay, and is also lower in calcium, making it closer to a more desirable Ca:P. ratio (between 3:1 to 1:1). Also, grass hay is often less dusty than alfalfa hay, so it a good choice for horses that have respiratory issues.

Why can’t cows eat alfalfa?

The biggest concern with grazing frosted alfalfa is the potential for bloat. Bloat is a serious problem in livestock, especially cattle, and preventative measures must be used when animals are placed in bloat-inducing situations, such as grazing alfalfa.

Can humans eat alfalfa?

Although alfalfa is frequently used to feed horses and rabbits, it’s good for people, too. Besides consuming it as a supplement, humans eat alfalfa in the form of sprouted seeds, found in the produce section of most grocery stores.

How many pounds of alfalfa should a horse eat a day?

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 timothy hay or alfalfa better for horses?

Alfalfa also has more calories per pound than timothy, so it’s generally the preferred choice of sport horse owners. However, Timothy hay is higher in fiber and has better calcium to phosphorous ratio than Alfalfa. High fiber helps with horse digestion and reduces the risk of getting colic.

Are alfalfa cubes or pellets better?

Alfalfa cubes overall are better than pellets for our purposes. Pellets can’t be a substitute for alfalfa hay, but cubes can. Alfalfa cubes are convenient, provide high nutrient value, and have little waste.

Does hay turn into straw?

When the plants are left intact and bundled up, it’s hay. But when the seed heads are removed, the plant stalk that’s left behind is straw, a hollow tube that has many uses, including animal bedding on farms and mulch in gardens.

Do horses sleep standing up?

Horses have an amazing ability to be able to sleep standing up. But they do also sleep lying down. If you’re a horse, you need to be able to do both.

Will a horse stop eating when full?

Horses do not have the ability to control their eating so that they will stop eating when they have met their nutrient requirements. They will continue to eat, which can lead to digestive and lameness problems.

Is pasture the same as hay?

is that pasture is land on which cattle can be kept for feeding while hay is (uncountable) grass cut and dried for use as animal fodder or hay can be the name of the letter for the h sound in pitman shorthand.

Does second cut hay have more sugar?

Second cutting will be leafy but doesn’t have the higher sugar content. But second cutting “looks” better. Most of the time, grass founder is caused by over-feeding, under-utilizing the horse–they just don’t burn up the calories!

What percent protein is alfalfa hay?

Alfalfa as a Protein Source

Even late cut alfalfa typically contains 12 to 15 percent crude protein. Fiber content of alfalfa hays range from 20 to 28 percent. In contrast, grass hay averages 8.4 percent crude protein and 31.4 percent fiber.

Why do farmers leave hay bales in the field?

You might find hay bales left in a field simply because a farmer hasn’t had time to stop by and grab the bales yet. Most farmers work overtime during the summer to get the hay in the barn by the time the fields stop producing.

Why do farmers grow alfalfa?

Farmers admire alfalfa for its high yield, wide adaptation, disease resistance, and excellent feeding quality to a variety of livestock. Acreage and value of producfion of the top six U.S. crops in 2018. Alfalfa hay and haylage was the third most valuable crop, behind corn and soybean.

Is alfalfa the same as cress?

Description. Alfalfa sprouting seeds produce fine cress-like sprouts, but have a flavour not unlike peas! These seedlings can be harvested when 2-4cm long after as little as 4-5 days.

Is hay better than silage?

Good hay is more palatable than silage due to the high sugar content and the reduced protein breakdown. The breakdown of hay in the rumen also results in a more synchronised release of energy and protein.

Why are horses given soaked hay?

Why soak hay? Soaking hay in water is a common way to care for horses diagnosed with one of the following. Soaking hay for 15 to 60 minutes in water reduces water soluble carbohydrates (WSC), potassium (K) and dust. Each of these elements play a role the diseases mentioned above.

Is hay and straw the same thing?

Hay is a crop that is grown and harvested as a feed crop for cattle, horses and other farm animals. Straw on the other hand is a byproduct of a grain crop; in our area it’s usually usually wheat straw that we see.

Does my horse need alfalfa?

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.

What does too much alfalfa do to a horse?


They may get “hot”, anxious or agitated, or show signs of liver or kidney stress. In fact, some horses are so sensitive to alfalfa they cannot tolerate even small amounts.

Do horses need hay if they have grass?

Many pleasure and trail horses don’t need grain: good-quality hay or pasture is sufficient. If hay isn’t enough, grain can be added, but the bulk of a horse’s calories should always come from roughage. Horses are meant to eat roughage, and their digestive system is designed to use the nutrition in grassy stalks.