Hay Really is for Horses?
As you well know horses are herbivores and foragers by
nature. Horses eat grasses, herbs and other foraged plants
as a primary source of their daily nutrition. Horses raised
in the wilds do not have access to all the feed supplements
our domestic friends have today.
A content horse is a horse that if allowed to graze 24-7.
This is not always possible for our horses, so we have many
supplements to help them meet their nutritional needs.
One way that we can meet their need to chew
(this is very important) and their nutritional needs is
quite simple, really.
Feed them a high quality hay on a regular basis! Hays vary
in nutritional value and in different areas of the country,
so you need to do a little research on the subject in
When purchasing hay for your horse you must take into
consideration; energy (equine digestible energy),this reflects
how much energy the hay has and how much energy the horse
can digest and use. Don't forget about digestible fiber in
the hay equation; this is necessary for proper functioning of
the horse's digestive system.
Alfalfa contains a high percentage of protein (16)-(18%).
Grass hays (timothy, bromegrass, and orchard grass) although
lower in protein (5)-(12%) generally meet the protein
requirements for the mature horse. Young horses need more
protein for growth but you may need to add more protein to
their diet by either protein supplements or soybean meal
which has (48%)protein.
On the other hand, too much protein may cause founder and/ or
Laminitis, so do your homework. If you are unsure of the
nutritional requirements for your horse ask you veterinary
for assistance in setting up a good nutritional regime for
your horse. . . . .
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