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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2011
    Portland, OR

    Default Suddenly not eating alfalfa hay leaves, just alfalfa stems, lost some weight

    This is kinda odd. 2nd cutting alfalfa with nice fine stems. For about the last 2 weeks one of the horses is picking all the stems ONLY out of the alfalfa leaving big fluffy pile of alfalfa leaves behind. Kinda backwards if hay had rough stems they might not clean them up but this hay is super quality and fine. Every wisp and stem eaten and wont clean up the leaves! This horse has lost a bit of weight now. We go though about 1 1/2 bale alfalfa per day in this particular barn so its not like one bale is bad. Hay grower sells this hay to feed stores. 2nd load from same grower going on a year now. Have had this hay for 3 months. No other horse is doing this.

    End up taking the mound of alfalfa leaves out of stall and giving to other horse. Nothing wrong with leaves. Vacuumed down in a flash.

    Any idea why this might be?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 17, 2010


    Does seem strange, and generally the opposite of what happens. Any chance there is a slight mold on them that bothers this horse? Sometimes it can't be seen/smelled by us.
    Interested to hear what others think.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2005


    Haven't a clue if this could be right but the first thing that popped into my mind when I read your post was could horsie need more roughage and that's why he's choosing stems over leaves?
    You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008


    I second the possibility of the need for roughage. My easy keeper was being fed unlimited very high quality hay once. He craved roughage so badly he stopped grazing fresh grass and went to chewing and ingesting wood fencing, bark and saplings/small branches.

    It came on almost suddenly and it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I thought he was missing a mineral or something in his diet, or was bored, etc.

    All the other horses with the same unlimited access to quality hay were fine, it was just this one that reacted negatively.

    To this day, part of his diet has to be 'chew time' low quality (clean, but stemmy) hay.
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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