3 Reasons Why Alfalfa Hay Is A Good Forage Choice For Senior Equines


Horse breeders know the benefits of alfalfa hay for young horses. The high protein and lysine levels in good quality alfalfa hay help maintain steady, appropriate growth of bones and joints in weanlings. But alfalfa's not just for the kids. 

Older horses benefit from the protein/amino acid kick that alfalfa hay provides, too. There are three important reasons why your older horse benefits from alfalfa forage.

There's more nutrition in every bite

Compared with other grass hays like timothy and Bermuda, alfalfa hay offers more protein, calcium, and other nutrients per pound. In fact, it's so rich, healthy horses may have all of their nutritional needs met with a very small amount of alfalfa. The healthy horse may feel cheated on a strict alfalfa diet and want more hay to feel full.

Older horses often have the opposite problem. They have trouble chewing enough grass hay to obtain the nutrients they need. Alfalfa is a great choice for these horses, since they can eat less yet still maintain their condition. Be aware that you may need to soak the hay or feed alfalfa that's more leafy if your older horse has bad teeth.

Alfalfa is easier for older horses to digest

Older horses, like their human counterparts, often have trouble digesting their food. They're more prone to suffer from colic and other digestive upsets. 

Alfalfa is an easy hay for older horses to digest. Its rich aroma and taste encourage horses to eat. Its high nitrogen levels encourage more water consumption. More water consumption means less colic.

Laminitis is another condition that often affects the older horse. The lower carbohydrate levels in alfalfa hay, compared to those in grass hays and grain-based feed, make alfalfa a safer forage and nutrition source for a horse at risk of foundering.

You can feed more alfalfa to feed less grain

It's only natural that some owners of older horses try to fatten up their skinny senior steeds with lots of grain or sweet feed. Bagged horse rations have their place in the feeding routine of the older horse, but you risk problems when you overfeed your horse pellets or grain mixes that contain too many carbohydrates, sugars, and imbalanced minerals.

Try using better quality alfalfa hay for sale to use less of the expensive grains. If you do need to supplement with horse rations, read the labels to find out what's in the bag. If you're not sure which rations are the best, choose a senior feed that's balanced for the older horse, or consult with your veterinarian.


23 February 2017

repelling animals from your crops

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