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Author Topic: Feeding alfalfa hay  (Read 75 times)

ahmenti

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Feeding alfalfa hay
« on: January 08, 2018, 11:25:10 am »

We have a mare that has heaves and has had this problem for the last 3-4 years or so.  Any hay from this area and she coughs and has horrible breathing problems.  We tried hay from out west and she did well on it but our supplier for it didn't get any this year.

Our vet suggested alfalfa.  It's hard to find in this area too but did find some about 40 miles away.  This is straight alfalfa.  We had found about 20 bales of alfalfa/orchard grass mix and she did good on it but they don't have any more of it.  We picked up a little over 100 bales so should get us through the winter.

I am confused on how much to feed her.  I know you shouldn't feed as much as you do regular hay but don't know if I should half what I normally fed her (almost a bale a day) or cut in thirds or just try and see what she requires?

I hate that she can't have hay in front of her all the time but we are trying to give her 2-3 bats in the morning and 2-3 in evening and see how that goes.

Any suggestions?

Kim
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kckc

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2018, 11:34:23 am »

Kim,  my old horses (2 with copd) are now on Chaffhaye which is alfalfa in a bag.   I love this stuff - no dust at all.  I am feeding it just like hay.  I ended up ordering several pallets (saved a few dollars a bag).   If you look it up they have good information on feeding it.   I've had no issues with my horses changing over to it from summer grass.   I also soak other things for them so they have somethign in their stomachs all day but the chaffhaye is their 20lbs per day or so of real forage.    With straight alfalfa I'd think you'd want to switch over slowly and allow her something else such as soaked pellets (timothy, orchard?).   We've never had a good enough supply of decent alfalfa to ever feed it regularly.
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ahmenti

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2018, 12:33:38 pm »

She had been on the alfalfa mix hay for probably a month or more so I think she was ok there.  It is very hard to find alfalfa for her.  In summer she is fine on pasture but just have trouble in winter.  really don't have a good way to wet hay in the winter. 

Of course, she may only be able to eat it for a year or two and then she wil develop the allergy to it. 

I really hate that she has this condition.  It is awful if they start having the breathing issues.  The hay we used to get out west was brome hay and she did really good on it but they didn't get it this past year. 

I will check out the Chaffhaye and research what it says about feeding.

Kim
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KysaSD

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2018, 12:44:05 pm »

The two most immediate issues with feeding straight alfalfa are both fixable.

First, chances are this is way more protein than she needs.  Her body will  excrete the excess in her urine.  It is critical that she have plenty of water at all times.

Second, the mineral complement is usually wrong for horses.  But feeding a horse mineral designed for horses on alfalfa should take care of that.  Usually, alfalfa has way more calcium than horses need so the other major minerals need to be balanced.
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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

ahmenti

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2018, 12:49:37 pm »

Kysa, what time of mineral are you referring to that she might need? 

KIm
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KysaSD

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2018, 12:56:31 pm »

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Kysa, South Dakota, 2 Mountain Horses, and a Mini, yes, I am crazy!

ahmenti

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Re: Feeding alfalfa hay
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2018, 01:07:19 pm »

Thanks very much.  I will order some of this.  Thanks so much for the help.

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