Why is alfalfa hay bad for horses?

Alfalfa hay can cause diarrhea in a horse that overeats it because the hay is rich and full of nutrients. Overeating alfalfa can also cause a horse to have excess gas, develop laminitis, and founder.

Is alfalfa hay bad for horses?

Alfalfa hay is an excellent source of energy, protein, calcium and some other nutrients for horses. Its concentrations of protein and calcium meet the nutrient needs of horses in high levels of production, such as growth and lactation, but exceed the nutrient requirements of horses in other life stages.

Can alfalfa kill a horse?

These flying insects—dead or alive—contain the toxin cantharidin, which can kill a horse if consumed in large amounts.

How much alfalfa hay is it safe to feed a horse?

Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. of hay per day. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy.

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Can horses eat straight alfalfa?

While feeding extra protein is wasteful, a high-protein diet in itself does not hurt a healthy horse. It can be detrimental, however, to horses with impaired kidneys or liver. … Duren also doesn’t recommend feeding straight alfalfa to endurance horses due to its protein and calcium content.

Is timothy hay or alfalfa better for horses?

Timothy hay is the most digestible of all hays and is one of the most popular hay feeds for horses. … While other feeds such as Alfalfa hay can meet energy requirements of horses in high levels of products, low nutritional concentrations of Timothy hay are ideal for many life stages.

What kind of hay is bad for horses?

Some hay types are particularly prone to high nitrate levels and should be avoided if there are options. These include: Sorghum, Sudan, Johnsongrass and Pearl Millet. High levels of simple carbohydrate (sugars, starch) are an issue for horses with insulin resistance and can occur in virtually any type of hay.

Does alfalfa cause colic in horses?

Rich alfalfa hay can also cause colic, so we recommend feeding a grass hay or grass/alfalfa mix. Changes in management or a horse’s routine can be stressful and contribute to colic risk as well. … Intestinal parasites can lead to colic, particularly in the young horse.

Will alfalfa make my horse hot?

Horses with high energy requirements can eat enough alfalfa to meet both energy and fiber requirements. … So while alfalfa does contain higher protein it is not the culprit when it comes to the increased energy levels that might make a horse “hot”.

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Does alfalfa cause inflammation in horses?


Horses that are on high protein diets become overly acidic which can cause inflammation in various body systems including the joints and hooves. … In addition, alfalfa can overstimulate the pituitary gland.

Can you feed horses free choice alfalfa?

Alfalfa or grain hays (such as oat or rye) can be fed free choice too, and most horses will probably regulate their intake of these as well. … Alfalfa and oat hays are often somewhat higher in calories so will put weight on many horses.

Is alfalfa hay good for older horses?

Older horses often have difficulty eating hay because their teeth are either worn down or missing. … Coleman has found that mixed grass-legume hay, such as orchard-alfalfa or timothy-alfalfa, is often a good choice.

Can too much alfalfa cause laminitis?

Alfalfa hay can cause horses to founder and develop laminitis due to the excess nutrients provided by the high quality hay if too much is fed.

Can you give a horse too much alfalfa?

So is alfalfa dangerous to your horse? No, not if fed properly. Alfalfa’s availability and nutrient content make it a logical choice of feed. However, the key is to select alfalfa hay with moderate protein content and provide additional supplements to your horse when needed.

Does alfalfa cause gas in horses?

High-quality alfalfa can cause excess gas in some horses.

Does alfalfa gain weight horse?

Alfalfa is higher in calories and protein than grass hays, which makes it an excellent choice to help to add weight to a thin horse. … Introduce it slowly, one pound (dry weight) per feeding, up to 0.5 percent of your horse’s body weight.

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