Alfalfa

Horse management, health, feeding and grooming.
skeeter swatter
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Alfalfa

Postby skeeter swatter » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:23 pm

An old Amish guy told me not to feed to much alfalfa to horses because it's hard on their kidneys.
Anyone else ever heard, or have info on this?
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby Bigfoot » Mon Dec 09, 2013 2:45 pm

I am no fan of alfalfa. An alfalfa mixed hay is as near as I come to feeding alfalfa. I can tell a marked difference in my horses urine when they are eating alfalfa. I have always heard, and assume it to be true that it is hard on their kidneys. Some heavy hitter on here will know for sure. For the last severL years, I have only feed my horses fescue cut before it ever makes a stem. It's all blade, so there is almost no waste. I haven't sent any off to be tested in a while. My rolled fescue with stems usually test 9%. I'm comfortable assuming the early cut is well above that, and largely endophyte free.
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby john s » Mon Dec 09, 2013 4:00 pm

Not sure on the kidneys however it is usually to hot for them it can cause founder unless they are thoroughbreds,worked hard or hard keepers
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby Bigfoot » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:16 pm

I've always thought, on a per pound basis it's an expensive feed source. It's much cheaper to supplement grass hay, plus your usually feeding a commercial feed in conjunction with it any way.
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby Stocker Steve » Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:50 pm

I know horse folks don't want clover in the hay mix. What about some birds foot trefoil?

Is fescue grass better than timothy for horses or just easier to raise?
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby cross_7 » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:02 pm

I thought is was the calcium in the alfalfa that's the problem, but I can't finding anything stating that.
It seems that the problem is feed excess protein that the kidneys must expel, so based on what I read it's not a problem unless you over feed or as someone else stated, if it's too hot.

Now alfalfa beatles , that's what worries me
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby Bigfoot » Mon Dec 09, 2013 7:24 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:I know horse folks don't want clover in the hay mix. What about some birds foot trefoil?

Is fescue grass better than timothy for horses or just easier to raise?


An orchard grass stand doesn't have much longevity for me. It would be my preference, but it's to costly to reestablish. Fescue has a bad rep for horse people. I think when it's cut early, it's great hay for horses.
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby chippie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:35 am

Fescue is ok as long as you do not have brood mares. Alfalfa is good, but you should also feed a good grass hay.
Horses need the long stem grasses to help their digestion. Alfalfa is a legume and not a true hay.
Most of the people who feed it have horses that genuinely are worked hard like horses in training, ranch horses that are worked all day and as mentioned race horses.
It is high in protein and most horses do not need it. They can get by on 10% to 12% protein a day.
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby cow pollinater » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:43 am

I've always fed it to my horses but recently I've had to back off and add in some grassy stuff for my gelding. He's a tough old coot but for the last few months he would work up a lather just getting out of the trailer and he could barely do a days work. I had been feeding him more to keep him in condition but when I added the grassy stuff in he's doing better both condition wise and performance wise. All I can figure is that he couldn't stand that much help.
My mares don't care what they eat so they are getting grassy stuff just because it's cheaper.
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Re: Alfalfa

Postby chippie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:54 am

cow pollinator,
Adding extra fat to a horse's diet is a good way to keep one in condition. It gives them energy without making one "hot" and really helps the older guys.
I supplement with Cool Calories 100 (I get it from Smartpak.) It is an all vegetable fat in powder form (actually it is the consistency of granulated sugar).
It is not as messy as adding oil. Vegetable oil works well too. When I use it, I add 1/2 to each feeding (twice daily).
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