November 15, 2002, Newsletter Issue #99: Equine Diets~!

Tip of the Week

Roughage

Roughage primarily consists of hay and pasture. Hay provides all of the bulk material needed in every horse`s diet; and is the most frequently chosen supplement for pasture or grass.

Quality hay should appear primarily greenish to slightly browning in color, nice smelling, crisp texture and free from parasites, and mold or dust. Hay that is harvested before the stalks turn to flower or heads has been cut at the moment of greatest nutritional value. Hay content can only be determined by Laboratory testing taken from a sample of the hay.

Meadow Hay consists of rye grasses, cocksfoot grasses, timothy grasses.

Seed Hay consists of specifically grown crops of Rye or Wheat or Oat. Usually better in quality than meadow hay, it will be lighter in color, and will be harsher to the touch.

Alfalfa Hay is a member of the Clover family. It is concentrated nutrional high with a high proportion of amino acids in the protein content. High in Calcium and low in Phosphorous.

Soaked Hay is to be fed to all horses with allergies, or colds. Submerge a full hay net into a clean mucker bucket of water, and leave overnight. You will need help in drawing the net from the water, and let it drain before feeding. Clean the bucket of water before soaking each hay net.

Cubed or Pelleted Hays are concentrates that are processed and often with added minerals and vitamins. Most are Alfalfa mixtures such as Pure Alfalfa, Alfalfa/Grass Mix, Alfalfa/Timothy Mix, Alfalfa/Local Mix and then there are a few that are Timothy blends. These are great for horses that bolt their food, and for convenience. They encourage a horse to chew as well. For horses that do try to bolt cubes, the cubes should be soaked first in either a Bran Mash, or with slightly warmed water. Cubes can be used to completely supplement the entire Roughage ration of a horse`s diet, providing that the Horse does well on them.

Hydrophonic Feeds are green Barley that is grown in water. In the process, added nutrients and supplements have been developed through a special process of artificial conditioning. The crop has the same nutrients as pasture grasses, but can be quite expensive.

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