What does too much alfalfa do to a horse?

Alfalfa hay can cause diarrhea in a horse that overeats it because the hay is rich and full of nutrients. Overeating alfalfa can also cause a horse to have excess gas, develop laminitis, and founder.

Why does alfalfa make some horses hot?

The reason alfalfa gets a bad rap for making horses “hot” is because alfalfa is higher in digestible energy and lower in acid detergent fiber (ADF) and neutral detergent fiber (NDF) than grass hay.

Does alfalfa make horses sweat?

Some owners believe alfalfa makes horses “hot,” but Martinson says there’s no scientific basis for this. “(It) does have more energy compared to grass hay of similar maturity, so perhaps a horse eating a lot of alfalfa in the absence of exercise may have more energy,” she says.

What feed makes a horse hot?

Grains and grain based feeds, molasses and forages like alfalfa/lucerne hay tend to be commonly blamed for making horses ‘hot’.

Can horses founder on alfalfa?

Alfalfa hay can cause horses to founder and develop laminitis due to the excess nutrients provided by the high quality hay if too much is fed. If switching from grass hay to alfalfa, generally less alfalfa is required to provide the same nutrients present in the grass hay.

How often should I feed my horse alfalfa?

In general, feed hay twice a day; limit alfalfa to one-half of your roughage; and feed grain according to body condition and use of the horse. Always have your hay analyzed so you can match the grain supplementation to your horse’s needs.

Can horses eat straight alfalfa?

Answer: You have an excellent, and common, question. Straight alfalfa will provide more protein, more calcium and perhaps more calories per pound than an alfalfa-grass mix.

Can horses eat straight 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.

What is the best hay for horses to eat?

Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. It can be quite expensive, depending on whether it has to be shipped long distances. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content.

Does alfalfa gain weight horse?

Alfalfa is higher in calories and protein than grass hays, which makes it an excellent choice to help to add weight to a thin horse. If your horse tends to be wasteful with his hay, he may eat more when offered alfalfa hay cubes or pellets.

Can horses graze on alfalfa?

Alfalfa can be grazed as a single-species or mixed with grass. Red or white clover doesn’t regrow well when grazed by horses, so it’s best to mix with grass. Alfalfa and red clover can be appropriate pasture species for horses diagnosed with metabolic disorders.

Is timothy 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.

Will sweet feed make a horse hot?

But it’s a myth that only certain feeds, like corn or sweet feed, are responsible for causing those excessive energy spikes (silly, stupid behavior) in horses. While there’s no denying the change in behavior that can happen after a feed dump, the issue isn’t always the type of feed, it’s the amount.

Does beet pulp make horses hyper?

Beet pulp is high in fiber and low in sugar or non-structural carbohydrates. The energy it produces mainly comes from fermentation in the hindgut and is released in small amounts, so it doesn’t make the horse overly active.

Can supplements make a horse hot?

If certain vitamins and minerals are not supplied in adequate amounts or if the ratios of these nutrients are out of balance, hot behaviour may occur. In our analysis of thousands of equine diets, most have deficiencies in one or more vitamins and minerals which could contribute to anxious behaviours.

Will alfalfa make a horse colic?

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. Water is also very important, as a horse with minimal exercise needs to drink 4-5 gallons a day to remain healthy.

Are hay cubes good for horses?

Alfalfa cubes can be used effectively as the sole source of roughage for all classes of horses. Because of the high nutrient values for energy, protein, calcium, and vitamins, alfalfa cubes are very effective in feeding programs for broodmares and young growing horses.

How do you tell if a horse has foundered?

Signs and Symptoms of Founder

  1. Sudden onset of lameness.
  2. Resistance to walking or moving.
  3. Feeling a pulse and heat in the foot.
  4. Shifting weight back and forth between legs.
  5. Reluctance to bend the leg.
  6. Standing with the legs camped out in front of the body or with all four legs under the body.
  7. Laying down more frequently.

How many bales of hay should a horse have a day?

A horse can eat anywhere from 15-25 pounds of hay a day, which generally equates to a half of a 45/50-pound square bale of hay per day (~15-30 bales per month).

How many flakes of hay should a horse get a day?

Answer: A 5-year-old warmblood, who is worked moderately for an hour a day, needs more than three flakes of hay per day. A general rule is that a horse needs half a bale of hay per day to satisfy baseline dietary requirements. But depending on the horse and the hay, the amount may vary.

How many flakes of hay should I feed my horse per day?

horse five flakes every day. Remember to feed in as many small portions as possible.

Does alfalfa cause inflammation in horses?


Horses that are on high protein diets become overly acidic which can cause inflammation in various body systems including the joints and hooves. They may get “hot”, anxious or agitated, or show signs of liver or kidney stress.

Is Bluestem hay good for horses?

Horses do not graze these grasses very well. However, both switchgrass and little bluestem are consumed well as hay if they are planted in mixtures with other grasses and harvested before seedheads emerge. So they can be used for horse hay even if they make poor horse pasture.

Are hay and alfalfa the same thing?

There are quite a few different types of hay that people feed to horses, but hay generally falls into one of two categories – legumes and grasses. 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.

What is the protein content of 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.