• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

alfalfa hay- what % protein is too much?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • alfalfa hay- what % protein is too much?

    Is it the protein in alfalfa that gives it a bad name? If not what does? IF so what is an exceptable % of protein?
    In that so many people say " I can't feed alfalfa to my horse, it makes them too hot"???
    I had our alfalfa and orchard hay analyzed and the alfalfa came out the best for my EPSM horse. He is fine eating straight alfalfa hay. Could other horses become jumpy/spooky from the same hay? And if so is it in fact the protein % that makes it not good or some other component?

  • #2
    The issue with alfalfa and the "hot" horse is allergies, not the protein.

    The average 600kg horse needs about 700gm total protein. That's pretty easy to do with grass hay, unless the hay intake has to be lowered too much, for some reason.

    Whether or not that means there are enough amino acids, such as lysine or methionine, is another story, entirely depending on the individual hay, but if the diet is largely alfalfa, that's not a worry.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

    Comment


    • #3
      On the east coast, I feed atleast 2nd cutting. On the west coast, I believe it was 3rd cutting or later. Last year, my 2nd cutting orchard grass actually is higher in protein than the alfalfa.

      I believe alfalfa has a stigma, more than anything. There was an interesting article in thehorse.com re: alfalfa and ulcers. basically, the research shows alfalfa can buffer stomach acid better than grass hays and therefore potentially reduce ulcers.
      Experience is what you get, when you didn't get what you wanted.

      Comment


      • #4
        Alfalfa can and usually does have more protien than most horses need. dairy quality alfalfa can be 20%-21% protien ( vs grass at 8%-10%0. With that understanding whats the problem with too much protien? Horses will convert excess protien to urea which they piss off as urine. Having too much alfalfa wil cause the horse to urinate more often in order to get rid of the excess. This is undesirable with some horses.

        First distance horses are already hard pressed to stay hydrated. excess urination means the horse has to drink and process more water during a period when the horse may not have the water available or the time to drink. Second excess urination in a stall will increase the ammonia in the air, which in a enclosed stall with little turn over in the air can be detrimental to the horses lungs and we humans don't like the stink.

        Another problem with Alfafla ( especially Western Alfalfa) is that it is high in Calcium. This causes a horse to have a heavy lathery sweat vs a light watery sweat. On distance horses where you are trying to keep them cool for extended periods of exercise, you want the watery sweat that evaporates much faster vs the heavy white lather that builds up and coats the hide. Also horses use calcium to trigger the twitch in their muscles. When horses have an over abundance of calcium in their system, they don't store or produce hormones used to utilize the calcium for the muscle trigger. Which is fine for short duration events. But the distance rider who wants their horse to keep going 5-6 or even 12 hours doesn't want their horse shutting down because they used up the calcium from breakfast and has no stores or is not efficient at retrieving calcium from the body stores. Again neither of these issues are a problem with a short speed event horse and are more of a problem for endurance horses. Also horses that eat a straight diet of Alfalfa usually upset their Calcium/Phoshporus ratio. Here in Utah (because of the frequency of using alfalfa as the primary feed) there are numerous suppliments sold to correct that ratio. And they are strongly recommended by my vet.

        And last but not least, Alfalfa is a pretty rich feed. If you give your horse as much alfalfa as you would grass, they will usually put on weight. That can be great for a hard keeper. But easy keepers usualy find their need to chew is not satisfied by their daily diet of alfalfa. Like giving your horse too much grain, too much alfalfa can make them hot. They just flat out have too much energy. If you are working your horse hard, great, he needs the calories. If he is on a lite work out, he may just act like a kid that has eaten too much sugar.

        I do feed alfalfa to my horses. I try to buy hay that has lower protien levels. I try to find farmers with Old stands of hay where there is more grass mixed in with the alfalfa. These are usually cheaper than buying dairy quality hay and a better bargain for feeding my horses.

        Is Alfalfa bad for a horse. Maybe, Just depends on what you are doing and how much you feed. It is the main feed here in Utah. It is hard to find grass hay in this part of the country. I know many a farmer who has fed nothing but alfalfa to their horses all their life and the horses have done just fine. My brother in law runs a dairy and he feeds his horses the same dairy quality alfalfa he feeds the cows he's milking. And they have always lived a long and productive life and are ready to go and rope a calf when needed.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          The horses I am feeding are Draft horses, so endurance is not an issue.
          They are out in 20+acres of pasture (dried up now), but not sure what the negative is to peeing too much (what is too much and determined by whom?)
          So if the excessive protein is eliminated via urine, what is in the alfalfa that gets blamed for making horses "have too much energy" or "hot"?
          Unfortunately out of our hay the alfalfa tested better than the orchard for my EPSM draft...but now I am wondering if something (what???) is in the alfalfa that makes otherwise calm horses strung up and spookish????

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rebmik View Post
            not sure what the negative is to peeing too much (what is too much and determined by whom?)
            It's true that any individual horse's water intake and urine output, is theirs - individually. But the more protein a given horse intakes (people too!) the more water is needed for the kidneys to properly process it. If the horse is not naturally a good drinker, this can lead to some kidney issues. Otherwise, it's expensive pee

            So if the excessive protein is eliminated via urine, what is in the alfalfa that gets blamed for making horses "have too much energy" or "hot"?
            I answered above

            Unfortunately out of our hay the alfalfa tested better than the orchard for my EPSM draft...but now I am wondering if something (what???) is in the alfalfa that makes otherwise calm horses strung up and spookish????
            Better in what way - the NSC? That's certainly an important factor.
            ______________________________
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by JB View Post
              It's true that any individual horse's water intake and urine output, is theirs - individually. But the more protein a given horse intakes (people too!) the more water is needed for the kidneys to properly process it. If the horse is not naturally a good drinker, this can lead to some kidney issues. Otherwise, it's expensive pee


              I answered above


              Better in what way - the NSC? That's certainly an important factor.
              yes, better nsc, much better, I would have had to soak orchard to reduce starch.

              Sorry, but I still don't hear where or what makes a horse high from alfalfa.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rebmik View Post
                Sorry, but I still don't hear where or what makes a horse high from alfalfa.
                Not sure how else to say allergies

                Allergies don't have to manifest as hives or bumps or lethargy, it can manifest as "hot" or "high".
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believe that hotness could be from too much digestible energy (ie calories) coming from more protein (versus more sugar calories in other hays). The horses have too much energy and don't know what to do with it. It comes out as spookiness, etc.

                  What does your vet say about feeding your draft horse alfalfa?

                  I feed some alfalfa hay here but not much. But all the horses get alfalfa pellets and I've seen absolutely no hot behavior. I do have a Percheron mare who came here underweight. She eats some alfalfa hay plus Bahia grass hay. She is fine. My draft cross youngsters get a wee bit of alfalfa pellets so that I can keep them off oats and soy. They are growing and need a bit more protein than they can get from hay. They look fabulous and there are no hotness issues with them either.

                  Alfalfa has a bad rap because people who aren't careful with introducing alfalfa slowly have foundered their horses. Or they fed just too much alfalfa. You would need to take the same precautions with any grass very high in protein or sugar.

                  Chew time is important so depending on how easy of a keeper your horse is you might still need to give him the Orchard (soaked) to keep him busy unless you can find some other hay that is low in NSC. Beet pulp might be an option for you too since it is low in NSC. Can you give beet pulp to an EPSM horse?

                  If you use alfalfa you will need to figure out how to keep his calciumhosphorus ratio balanced. You can buy straight phosphorus for this task if you do not have a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement designed for alfalfa. If you give only a little alfalfa the calcium ratio might not be so far off that you have to adjust.
                  Altamont Sport Horses
                  Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                  Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                  Birmingham, AL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hot or spooky is not something my friends and I have found w/ feeding our draft or light horses alfalfa. We also offer them free choice vits/mins. They're all on round bales and get supplemented w/ grain (oats, alfalfa pellets) and do just fine. These are Percherons... breeding stallion, broodmares, babies and young crosses. All are as easy going as they can be and usually are.
                    A Merrick N Dream Farm
                    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                      Not sure how else to say allergies

                      Allergies don't have to manifest as hives or bumps or lethargy, it can manifest as "hot" or "high".
                      Sorry just never heard of allergies having that affect

                      Altamont Sport Horses: what % calcium and % phosphorus of alfalfa is optimal? and would providing a mineral block aid in the horses getting what they need?

                      I wish there was a fact based, not sponsored by any feed company, site that gave good comprehensive nutritional information including all feeds and hay choices! Not a biased site

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here's a site that may help you out:
                        http://www.shady-acres.com/susan/Cal...osphorus.shtml

                        The only time peeing too much would be a problem is when a) the stall doesn't get cleaned (good) enough, and/or b) if not enough bedding is used.

                        Many, many breeding farms use alfalfa for their broodmares without them being "hot", many, many individuals use alfalfa for one reason or another, without their horses being "hot".

                        Feeding a horse energy, means you also have to give it the opportunity to get rid of that energy. Load it up with alfalfa and keep it locked in a stall: Yes, it will bounce off the wall. Alfalfa is part of all of my horses' diets and none of them are "hot".

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rebmik View Post
                          Sorry just never heard of allergies having that affect
                          Ah, sorry I didn't make that clear.

                          Altamont Sport Horses: what % calcium and % phosphorus of alfalfa is optimal? and would providing a mineral block aid in the horses getting what they need?
                          The ideal ca/phos ratio is between 1.5:1 and 2:1. An adult horse can easily handle about 6:1. Foals and youngsters, not well, so they do need a more ideal ratio for growth purposes.

                          I wish there was a fact based, not sponsored by any feed company, site that gave good comprehensive nutritional information including all feeds and hay choices! Not a biased site
                          It's called the NRC book Ok, that doesn't have commercial feeds, but that doesn't matter - you learn the information, more or less, in the book, particularly as it pertains to the most commonly discussed nutrients, and then you are free to make up your own mind about the ingredient list and analysis of commercial feeds. To help with that, without buying the book, you can go here
                          http://nrc88.nas.edu/nrh/
                          ______________________________
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by luvmywalkers View Post
                            Here's a site that may help you out:
                            http://www.shady-acres.com/susan/Cal...osphorus.shtml

                            The only time peeing too much would be a problem is when a) the stall doesn't get cleaned (good) enough, and/or b) if not enough bedding is used.

                            Many, many breeding farms use alfalfa for their broodmares without them being "hot", many, many individuals use alfalfa for one reason or another, without their horses being "hot".

                            Feeding a horse energy, means you also have to give it the opportunity to get rid of that energy. Load it up with alfalfa and keep it locked in a stall: Yes, it will bounce off the wall. Alfalfa is part of all of my horses' diets and none of them are "hot".

                            Yes that article does help.
                            My horses are out 24/7 in about 15+ acre pasture.
                            I'm just concerned now that new horse is getting "up" from alfalfa.
                            But my EPSM horse that is turned out with new horse must have the alfalfa as opposed to the orchard. Not sure if I can regulate new horses intake since new horse was purchased to keep EPSM horse company!!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Alfalfa has a bad rap because people who aren't careful with introducing alfalfa slowly have foundered their horses. Or they fed just too much alfalfa. You would need to take the same precautions with any grass very high in protein or sugar.
                              I know of a asb/QH mare who foundered 4 times on alfalfa. The owner would not "get" it. I suspect in this case it was because it was too rich in sugars and starches. I do believe that some horses may get hot on it because they are allergic, but I believe in many cases it is because it is indeed too high in NSCs!

                              (Though low in fructan, alfalfa is high in starch; evidence suggests that the extra protein in alfalfa can stress the digestive system when fed in large quantities.)
                              http://www.equisearch.com/horses_car...danger_032205/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Your regular every day horse does not need alfalfa......way too much protein which in turn means too many calories which leads to obesity.

                                Dalemma

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  There's all levels of protein in alfalfa

                                  Depending on when in the plants life cycle the hay was cut you can have all kinds of levels of protein in the hay from 12% to 25%. So it will depend on the quality of the hay yo are buying. Just don't feed too much, and if the horses get 'aggressive or hot' then stop feeding it.

                                  As for why it makes horses 'hot or aggressive', I don't agree with the allergy theory, but I have another theory (also unproven).

                                  Alfalfa is low in essential amino-acids, and has a lot of non-essential amino-acids. When the essential ones are 'used up' then there is all this excess of non-useable ones. Now aas can't be stored and have to be de-aminated in the liver. The by product of the de-amination is ammonia, which is then reduced to urea.
                                  The urea circulates in the blood (as does some ammonia) and is excreted by the kidneys as urine. That's why the urine output goes up when you feed alfalfa.

                                  High circulating urea and ammonia in most livestock makes them 'angry', they will act very aggressively and can become violent. Thus I am theorising that the higher urea/ammonia levels you get in the blood stream following intakes of legume proteins (alfalfa and soy) makes the horses angry and belligerent.

                                  As I said just my theory, and not proven, though well documented in cattle and sheep.

                                  Yours
                                  MW
                                  Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
                                  Sign up for the Equine nutrition enewsletter on www.foxdenequine.com
                                  New edition of book is out:
                                  Horse Nutrition Handbook.

                                  www.knabstruppers4usa.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Also,
                                    Alfalfa is prone to certain toxins, as I found out the hard way. If it is not cut properly or ends up with water damage it can very easily get fungus growth. The hay can look and smell great, but be a carrier.

                                    I fed alfalfa and my 2 horses with white socks ended up with TERRIBLE scratches, the worst I had ever dealt with, and absolutely relentless. I was tipped off here to pull the falf, did so, and within days it was clearing up. I basically banished alfalfa at that point, but as I started researching the way it is cut, I became suspicious that maybe there was something in the hay.

                                    I slowly started trying alfalfa pellets, ready to stop at any second at the first sign of a blow up. They have been on them 2 months now, no reaction, and actually they are thriving from it.

                                    Just more food for thought, re allergies.
                                    Celtic Pride Farm
                                    www.celticpridefarm.com
                                    Become a fan on Facebook!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      UGH so frustrating and SO much conflicting information
                                      I live at a farm that grows hay and am able to adjust anything in the process to hopefully produce the best hay for my EPSM horse.
                                      This past year I tested all cuttings of alfalfa and orchard and while alfalfa was higher in protein, it was MUCH lower in sugar and starch (an acceptable level for EPSM).
                                      I am attempting to learn so we can grow safe, quality hay.
                                      So much that I read regarding EPSM suggests only feeding alfalfa, then why such problem?

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        What about cubes that are soaked? I have always given my horses soaked cubes in the winter. I don't know if they get hot or not, in the cold weather with no turnout I expect them to be spooky - or more spooky then when they are ridden and out all night in the summer. I haven't noticed any anger though. Makes sense that the acid would cause them to be uncomfortable. I also soak because I thought it was a good way to ensure they got water in the winter, if it causes them to pee more I guess it's just a wash. The bagged cubes say 15% protein, they eat all the grass hay they want and either a 12% or 14% grain depending on their age.

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X