Horses can eat or graze on Alfalfa hay and boy do they love the taste! It’s packed with loads of nutrients for horses.
In fact, feeding alfalfa hay to underweight horses is a sure way to make them gain weight quick. It is a perfect feed for horses struggling to gain weight, facing muscle problems (because of their high protein needs) or horses with equine metabolic syndrome (EMS) as a result of the lower levels of nonstructural carbohydrates.
Lactating broodmares, thin horses, performance horses, racehorses, growing horses, or young foals that aren’t getting sufficient milk will find alfalfa hay or grass helpful.
A word of Caution: Feed growing horses alfalfa hay with caution so they don’t get too big too fast or grow too quick and become at risk for DOD (developmental orthopedic disease).
Alfalfa Hay and Laminitis in Horses
There is a chance your horse might develop laminitis when fed too much, too often. That is because the excess nutrient become unused then stores up and becomes a problem.
If your equine was previously fed grass hay and you need to switch, you don’t need as much, In fact, lesser alfalfa is required.
Can a horse with laminitis eat alfalfa?
Yeah, but it should be part of the diet. You can feed horses with laminitis low-NSC hay at the rate of 1.5 ro 2% of body weight. Alfalfa hay (Lucerne) can be included as part of the diet during the acute stages.
Soy hulls, beet pulp, and chaff can be part of the fiber intake ratio.
What hay is best for Laminitic horses?
Grass hay is the best feed for laminitic horses. Ensure you feed only high quality grass hay to a horse prone to laminitis.
What should you feed a horse with laminitis?
You should feed a horse with laminitis up to 2% of its body weight (10kg/day for a 500 kg horse) each day as low quality, low sugar forage, including stemmy or mature grass hays and/or weather damaged Lucerne hay.
You can make it an even balanced diet by adding a low dose rate of mineral and vitamin supplement and good quality protein from full fat soybean.
Can Horses Get Laminitis From Hay?
Laminitis-prone horses can be fed soaked hay to eradicate some of its sugar levels.
ALSO SEE: Can Horses eat Almonds?
Does Alfalfa Make A Horse Hot?
No! The protein in alfalfa hay grass does not get horses hyper-active or hot.
Alfalfa Myths vs. Facts
|1.||High protein in alfalfa hay leads to osteochondritis dissecans (OCD); a joint disease experienced by young horses.||Never has it been recorded or proven that high protein causes OCD.|
However, the unbalanced mineral profile in alfalfa could increase the chances of an OCD occurring.
|2.||The calcium-rich alfalfa can prevent OCD and other bone issues in developing horses.||Calcium is crucial to developing bone, so is protein, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals.|
In the end, the right nutrients, in the correct proportion is the key.
|3.||Alfalfa’s rich protein triggers kidney issues.||High levels of high protein does not harm the kidneys. But, additional protein is metabolized to ammonia that must be excreted by the kdineys.|
To handle this additional demand, the horse will need to drink more liquid and make more urine.
|4.||The protein content in alfalfa gets horse “hot”||For unknown reasons, some horse become more energetic when they feed on alfalfa hay – but it isn’t the protein.|
|5.||Alfalfa triggers allergies or heaves||Any hay can trigger allergic reaction in horses. But, the most common cause is the molds that grow in the bales of various grass and hay types.|
|6.||Alfalfa should be avoided when feeding HYPP horses because of the high potassium.||Grass hays are rich in potassium too. In fact, they could be even higher when cut early.|
Alfalfa for Horses with Ulcers
High quality alfalfa or alfalfa-mix forage can aid in buffering stomach contents and reducing gastric acidity.
Also, alfalfa forage has proven to buffer gastric contents and reduce gastric ulcer severity in horses housed in stalls and exercising.
Is Alfalfa Good for Horses with Ulcers?
Yes, alfalfa is good for horses with ulcers. Its natural buffering capacity is A+.
What Feed Is Best for Horses with Ulcers?
Research have further proven that alfalfa is a better buffer to acidity than other fiber sources because of its protein and calcium content.
What do You Feed a Horse with A Hindgut Ulcer?
You can feed alfalfa hay 3 times a week. It helps.
READ MORE: Can Horses eat Carrots?
Feeding Alfalfa Before Riding
Feeding alfalfa before riding helps quicken buffering of the stomach and offers relief for ulcer-prone horses. Alfalfa is generally rich in calcium, which researchers have shown to reduce stomach acidity because of its buffering capacity.
Alfalfa for Horses Pros and Cons
|1.||Its amongst the top #3 choices of horses||Because it has higher glucose, and starch levels, insulin-resistant horses prone.|
|2.||Alfalfa fiber has lower amounts of indigestible grass hays. That means that alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hays.||Insulin-resistant horses prone to laminitis may have some weakness to alfalfa.|
The reasons may be unclear, but the suspect is the sugar in the form of starch or even glucose.
|3.||The high protein and calcium content packs many benefits for lactating or pregnant mares.||The rich calcium content of alfalfa leads to an unbalanced phosphorous/calcium ratio if not corrected by other supplements or feeds.|
Adults may tolerate this, but the same cannot be said for growing horses or pregnant mares.
|4.||Green cubed and pelleted alfalfa typically are very high quality.||It may cause digestive issues in sensitive horses.|
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Cubes?
Alfalfa cubes are great for all classes of horses especially in young growing horses and broodmares. It has high energy such as vitamins, calcium, and protein.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Pasture?
Horses can generally feed on alfalfa, which is a great source of protein and fibre. They can feed on it as pastures or eat it as hay.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Grass?
Alfalfa grass can be fed on by all types of horses. It helps underweight put on weight quick.
It is ideal for horses on high planes of nutrition, such as lactating broodmares, growing horses, thin horses, racehorses, performance horses, or young foals that aren’t getting enough milk.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Sprouts?
Alfalfa sprouts can be fed in the same manner as grains, and most horses will love the fresh succulent addition to their diet. Remember that green pasture, and sprouts are 80-90% moisture, so you need to feed a large weight of sprouted grains to replace hay or grain in your horse diet.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Pellets Dry?
Dried alfalfa pellets can be fed to horse. It reduces mess and cleanup time.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Silage?
Abosolutely! They can eat a controlled amount each week. Balancing is the key here.
Can Horses Eat Alfalfa Seed?
Alfalfa seed is really versatile, palatable, and nutritious feed for horses of all types. It is great for racing, lactating, growing, and gestating horses.
Can Horses Eat Soaked Alfalfa?
Soaked alfalfa cubes are easier to eat for horses, and they pack more nutrients than grass hay. Before feeding an older horse, you should soak for 10-30 minutes, or until they’re soft and soupy.
Can Horses Eat Straight Alfalfa Hay?
Horses can eat straight alfalfa hay is a great source of proteins and fibre too.
Is Too Much Alfalfa Bad for Horses?
When fed properly, it is not. The key here is to select alfalfa hay with moderate protein content and add extra supplements to your horse when the need arise.