Horses can successfully consume alfalfa, a good source of fibre and . Alfalfa is fine to feed straight; however, if your horse has never had any, you may want to mix it with your current feed for a few days just to avoid kinda shocking their system with the high fat/protien content. I understand it is a very rich food, but would it hurt horses to keep them turned out on it, assuming they wouldn't be on it 24/7? After water, the major constituent of the horse's body is protein. By the first week in June, paddock 4 should be close to the early bud stage and root reserves would be about 75 per cent replenished which is acceptable. With the initiation of growth in the spring or following removal of the top growth by cutting or grazing, carbohydrate reserves are utilized to produce new top growth. There are a number of reasons to consider grazing horses on predominantly alfalfa pastures. Depending on how much alfalfa is in your pasture, it would be wise to feed your horse grass hay before turning the horse onto a pasture with lots of newly sprouting alfalfa. Example: 60 Acre Field - Four Paddock Design. This can be an expensive supplement, but it works well when animals eat a uniform amount each day. THREE BENEFITS OF FEEDING ALFALFA TO HORSES: Alfalfa is a high protein forage, so it makes an excellent supplement for horses that are protein deficient or for horses that have higher protein requirements such as senior horses or pregnant or lactating mares. This will occur mid-May, depending on location and soil type. Misconception 1: Will alfalfa make my horse hot? Though we don’t usually graze alfalfa at its highest nutritional peak, the gains are often impressive and our stands are long lived. I would keep them in the pasture 8 hours a day, letting them out when I went to work, and taking them back in when I came home. There is flexibility in the length of a grazing period, but do not leave animals on a paddock for more than a week. Good pasture alone is sufficient to meet all of the nutritional requirements for many classes of horses. i just bought a horse and i don't feed him grain, but i let him graze all day and he has a large round bale of alfalfa hay he can eat from whenever he wants. Grazing on a rotational basis with at least 3 and preferably 4 paddocks allows the alfalfa to maintain adequate root reserves. Straw from the Japan variety is especially good, being small and remaining green until harvested. Horses can graze pure stands of alfalfa, though with possible laxative effects. The only thing I have noticed with feeding alfalfa cubes is that they eat it really fast and have nothing left after their rations done. Once the final cutting of the alfalfa is done, horses can graze the field, but it is a good plan to feed grass hay before turning them out so that the horses do not eat too much of alfalfa at once. Replenishment is complete by the full bloom stage. It is highly palatable and may stimulate them to eat more. While young alfalfa stands might have 15 plants per square foot, research shows that you can get excellent beef gains while grazing a … They are used primarily for hay production. Our original Graze-On horse feed is 100% dried grass, full of fibre and natural nutrition. How much hay does a horse eat per day in winter? Is my alfalfa safe to graze? Alfalfa that started as a hayfield might be rejuvenated for an extra year or two by grazing it. Only graze when fields are dry and firm. Reserves are used to develop heat and cold tolerance to maintain life during dormancy and to get the plants started next spring. In addition, alfalfa can overstimulate the pituitary gland. Another scenario has grazing ending on summer range but the final growth of alfalfa is still standing in the field. Oklahoma commons (such as OK08) thin quickly with continuous grazing, apparently because of the combination of diseases and grazing. Warm season grasses probably need at least a 3-4" residual. Virginia workers studied systems of grazing alfalfa based on need and environmental conditions. Hello,My mare is on a new pasture this spring after her first winter on pasture. Include alfalfa – Studies have shown that the protein levels (along with the amount of calcium) in alfalfa make it one of the best sources of fiber when it comes to treating horses with ulcers. Most grasses produce the majority of their growth in the early summer. Of course, bloat protectants like poloxalene can be fed as blocks or mixed with grain. Also, it can give them diarrhea or loose stool if they aren't used to it because it is so rich and their bodies aren't used to it. Systems of grazing the early spring growth provided quality feed and delayed the first hay harvest until more favorable weather for curing. Assumptions1 band of horses consists of : Consumption - 60 lbs dry matter/day/unitGrazing Season - 108 days, Total Seasonal Requirements for Grazing Unit18 x 60 x 108 days = 116,640 lbs, Production at 2,000 lbs/acre2,000 x 60 acres = 120,000 lbs, Production at 3,000 lbs/acre3,000 x 60 acres = 180,000 lbs. However, the wilted, soggy mess of dormant winter grass sits close to the ground and it doesn’t take the horse long to figure out where the most sugary parts are. Let’s take a closer look at what horses eat and what nutrients they need. This is counter intuitive for most horse people, but is certainly something to keep in mind in regards to your horse. Horses with poor appetites should try alfalfa. Alfalfa varieties are grouped into three categories because of different characteristics. An alternate approach is to allow the horse to graze the pasture and alfalfa for 30-60 minutes, gradually increasing the time over a 7-10 day period. Grazing alfalfa during the growing season. After the first killing frost (-6º C to -8º C for alfalfa) little depletion or replenishment occurs in the root system. At 2,000 lbs production/acre the entire 60 acres would be required for grazing. Pure alfalfa or clover can also be grazed during the growing season. Captive horses are usually fed a mixture of forages and concentrates, as well as being turned out to graze on pasture land. We tried to stay away from alfalfa when our horses were younger because it made them a pain in the butt to ride due to the extra energy they'd get. The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young growing horses. But grazing them during the growing season means that bloat is an even higher risk. Usually root reserves decrease between full bloom, and the mature seed state as tiller formation or new vegetative growth occurs. Understanding the relationship between root reserves and how the plant grows is important if the stand is to survive for any length of time under a grazing situation. Alfalfa hay that is fed to horses must be free from the presence of blister beetles to be a safe forage (see Forage Toxicity section). Why is alfalfa bad for horses? It would be convenient and useful to include an adjacent alfalfa field for extra grazing and protein. If used to appropriately balance a diet, it can be useful in alfalfa. The type of alfalfa selected for grazing purposes is important if you want a stand to survive grazing pressure. We are also … I have found one that is perfect. Calcium is another important nutrient for bone development. For alfalfa to persist the root reserves should be as close to maximum as possible when the plants are going into the winter. Grazing can be a good way to harvest alfalfa and avoid the necessity of insecticides. Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of protein, both in content and quality. A seeding rate of 7 lbs (3.2 kg)of alfalfa with 3 lbs (1.4 kg) of Meadow Brome/acre would be a good mix for pasturing in most areas. Under peak grazing season conditions the horse would not graze that close to the ground, clipping grass off at a height of about 2 inches. 3,000 lbs of dry matter production would result in 30 tons of surplus hay. Alfalfa is a nutritious high protein, calcium rich legume that can be fed to horses provided some basic precautions are taken. The new pasture has a significant amount of Alfalfa plants that will be coming up soon. At the same time, p… To help your horse graze as much as possible don’t use hay feeders in the pasture but instead scatter it around. “The biggest benefit of alfalfa for horses is that it tends to be more nutrient-dense than most grasses when harvested at the same stage of maturity,” says Martinson. "Horses love it because there is a surprise in almost every bite," Goodnight said. Horses allowed to graze are continually chewing, which helps wear their teeth in a consistent pattern, which results in better dental health. Cushing’s is more correctly referred to as pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction, or PPID–a condition of the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. An alternate approach is to allow the horse to graze the pasture and alfalfa for 30-60 minutes, gradually increasing the time over a 7-10 day period. The more leaf and plant material that is left in these early states of growth, the faster the plants will recover. Protein is essential for both the growth and repair of muscles, bone, cartilage, skin, … Creeping rooted varieties are the hardiest and will withstand grazing pressure and adverse conditions better than the other two categories. My pasture mate started feeding alfalfa in the morning and oat at night. widely adapted to various soil types. The only thing is it was used for alfalfa crops. Similarly always feed grass hay with alfalfa hay so as not to exceed 1/3 to 1/2 of the diet in alfalfa hay. values when they mature than alfalfa. I am looking at a few different horse properties. Alfalfa (a perennial legume) The horses grazed perennial ryegrass and alfalfa monthly from May to October (with the exception of September) and grazed Teff monthly from July to September. However, if your horse with Cushings is on the heavier side, it is best to steer away from alfalfa hay because of the excess protein can be converted into sugar in the liver. 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