i'm just worried he's gonna get sick. At the same time, p… 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. Reserves are lowest during the early vegetative period and highest at full maturity. We are also … Virginia workers studied systems of grazing alfalfa based on need and environmental conditions. To help your horse graze as much as possible don’t use hay feeders in the pasture but instead scatter it around. It also works well as bedding, just as straw does." The more leaf and plant material that is left in these early states of growth, the faster the plants will recover. Of course, bloat protectants like poloxalene can be fed as blocks or mixed with grain. Systems of grazing the early spring growth provided quality feed and delayed the first hay harvest until more favorable weather for curing. Alfalfa Cons. Begin grazing of alfalfa when plants are 6 to 8 inches high in the first paddock. A horse with a full stomach will not want to eat that much additional alfalfa. The only thing is it was used for alfalfa crops. There are a number of reasons to consider grazing horses on predominantly alfalfa pastures. 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. Only graze when fields are dry and firm. Frost-injured alfalfa (note yellowing leaves) Frost-damaged forages can contain higher sugar contents. It's the food your horse would naturally choose for itself. The fourth cutting is harvested by my cattle in November and December. Once alfalfa reaches 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm), food reserves begin to replenish as the plant produces more food than it needs for maintenance and growth. Alfalfa varieties are grouped into three categories because of different characteristics. 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. Especially for growing, pregnant, high-performance, or lactating horses, alfalfa can provide plenty of this nutrient to allow the horse to grow, develop muscle tone, and repair tissues damaged by hard work. High-quality, properly fenced pastures are one of the best and least expensive sources of summer feed for a horse. They are fantastic grass finishing pasture at any time of year! Grasses growing in these areas will have high Se content that if eaten by horses can cause cracked hooves and even lameness. Myth: Do not feed straight alfalfa to young, growing horses. They say horses don't bloat like cattle. Along the front rang many areas have soils high in the mineral Selenium (Se). Grazing horses keep their minds occupied, picking through and eating hay and grass; horses that eat cubes and pellets often eat fast and have idle time, which leads to boredom and cribbing. Captive horses are usually fed a mixture of forages and concentrates, as well as being turned out to graze on pasture land. Move animals when the stubble height is grazed down 3 to 4 inches. What to feed horses when there is no hay? While alfalfa is known for its hay quality, certain varieties also persist well in a rotational grazing setting. Our horses get too fat when free fed and we worry about founder. 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. To understand the science behind nutritional management of Cushing’s, it’s important to first grasp the condition’s essential mechanisms. also, is it okay for him to eat wet grass? Also, be careful not to damage your alfalfa stand. After the first killing frost (-6º C to -8º C for alfalfa) little depletion or replenishment occurs in the root system. Alfalfa can provide the nutrition required during this period. 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. 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? With hay it takes more work to chew/eat it making it last longer, and since horses want and should graze all day, then the processed pellets go down really quick leaving nothing left to chew on. 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. Horses with poor appetites should try alfalfa. 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