Best Hay To Feed Your Horseadmin
There are many different types of hay to feed your horse, and the right one for your horse depends on many factors. Grass hay and legume hay are the two most commonly found types of hay, but there are others—and some horses may prefer one type over another! Here’s what you need to know about each type:
Grass Hay vs. Legume Hay — Which is Better?
Grass hay is made from grasses like alfalfa and timothy, while legume hay is made from legumes like clover and vetch. Both types of hay are high in fiber, but legume hay has more protein than grass hay. However, both types have similar levels of calcium (around 300 mg per pound). The main difference between these two types of hay is their digestibility and nutritional value: Legume hays are easier to digest than grass hays because they contain fewer lignin compounds that can cause digestive problems in horses (especially young horses).
If you’re feeding your horse grass hay, it might seem like legume hay is a less-desirable option. However, there are many benefits to legume hays that should not be overlooked.
Legume hays have higher fiber content, which means they are more likely to keep your horse feeling full and satisfied for longer. Legumes also contain more protein than grasses do, which helps prevent muscle breakdown when the animal is working hard or going through stressful situations (such as during training). Additionally, many legume hays have added nutritional value because they’re carefully balanced with vitamins and minerals—for example alfalfa contains calcium and phosphorus in balance with each other so as not to interfere with absorption of either one.
Horses can eat grass hay or legume hay, depending on their needs and diet. Both types of hay contain fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep your horse’s digestive tract healthy. It also provides protein, which is essential for growing horses.
Grass Hay for Horses
Grass hay is a good source of fiber, protein and calories. It’s high in calcium, iron and magnesium. Grass hay has lower fat (2-3% vs. 4-5%) and cholesterol than alfalfa and legume hays. It also has a low sodium content (0-1%).
The nutritional value of grass hays varies slightly depending on the maturity of the plant at harvest time or whether it was allowed to mature fully before being cut for hay production
Grass hay is high in protein, but its digestibility varies depending on the maturity of the plant at harvest time. The older and more mature grasses have less digestible fiber (50-60% vs. 70%) than legume hays such as alfalfa.
The digestibility of grass hays also varies depending on the species of grass. Timothy hay is highly digestible (80-90%), while brome and orchard grasses are less so (50-60%).
Legume Hay for Horses
Legume hay, also known as legume grass hay, is made up of a variety of plants from the Fabaceae family that are cultivated for their seeds. Legumes include alfalfa, clovers and vetch. The most common types of legume hay for horses are alfalfa and timothy.
Legume grasses are high in protein (20-30%), calcium (2%) and phosphorus (1%). They’re considered to be good for horses that are in work because they help promote strong bones and teeth; pregnant or lactating mares; horses with digestive problems such as ulcers; or those recovering from injury or illness.
How to Assess the Best Type of Hay to Feed Your Horse
It’s important to assess the best type of hay to feed your horse, because there are many different kinds of hay and each is appropriate for a specific purpose. If you’re buying hay at a feed store, you can use these tips to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality types.
- Check for mold. Moldy hay should be discarded immediately because it can lead to respiratory problems in horses (and humans). You can check for mold by looking at the stem ends of any pieces that have been broken off or torn apart during feeding time; if they’re darkly colored but not green all over, chances are that some mold growth has occurred during storage or transport in an unairtight bale wrapper.
- Look for dust on the surface of larger pieces before feeding them out; this indicates excessive drying during storage which could lead to nutrient deficiencies later when consuming it yourself as animal nutritionists recommend against such practices due to their health consequences over time.* Check weed seeds too—if present at all then discard immediately since they often contain toxic chemicals like cyanide that could harm livestock if consumed regularly over long periods of time!
Hay is the most important part of your horse’s diet. It provides all the nutrients he needs to grow, maintain good health and perform well. Hay also can be fed in various forms that are beneficial for your horse. Hays are classified by botanical origin and based on characteristics such as leaf size, stem length and leaf color. The quality and nutrient content of hay varies with these factors as well as growing conditions and harvest time.
Most horses need about one-third to one-half pound (0.25 to 0.5 kg) of dry matter per 100 pounds (45 kg) body weight daily for roughage; however, this will vary depending on age, activity level and environment (temperature). The average adult horse eats about 15% of his body weight daily in dry matter; so if you feed a 1,000-pound (454 kg) horse 15 pounds (6 kg) of hay per day that would be only 2% to 3% of its total daily caloric intake from hay alone!