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While we're on the subject of hay, what about fescue?

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  • While we're on the subject of hay, what about fescue?

    I know fescue is a big no-no for pregnant mare (or mare you hope to get pregnant) but what about for your pasture puffs? Right now I'm feeding Bermuda because that's easiest to get around here, but I've been wanted to get some Timothy too so I can 1/2 and 1/2 the Timothy and the Bermuda. Partially for colic avoidance reasons and partially due to having and older mare who I think could benefit from the extra nutrients in the Timothy. In my search for the a Timothy source I ran across someone selling Fescue for about the same price I'm getting my Bermuda. Does anyone feed Fescue? Pros? Cons? Is it any better or worse than Bermuda?

  • #2
    Fescue won't hurt your horse but it's pretty much at the bottom of the taste scale for horses. My neighbor has big fescue pastures with several geldings in them 24/7. Another neighbor used to cut and bale a field for him so he'd have some bales to feed if the weather was bad enough that he had to feed hay. His horses just didn't want to eat the stuff much and when he gave me a few bales my horses walked away from it.

    Now, I'm sure it could vary some. there is also a couple of newer fescues that are more palatable but I've found it is a hay to avoid rather than waste your money. Another idea for you might be timothy/grass hay cubes.

    chicamuxen

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    • #3
      Originally posted by sourmilknightmares View Post
      I know fescue is a big no-no for pregnant mare (or mare you hope to get pregnant)
      Not even an issue for the wannabes

      but what about for your pasture puffs?
      There are issues with cattle eating high amounts of infected fescue. There is some evidence that eating ONLY infected fescue can have an impact on a really high performance horse. There MAY be some evidence that eating ONLY fescue can have an impact on how SOME horses tolerate heat (even when not high-performance)

      A mix of grasses is nearly always best - more complete nutritional profile overall. It would be nice not to feed pure fescue if the pasture is also pure fescue. But many people do it and the horses are just fine.

      My TB gelding ate a bit of fescue along with Coastal, and had no problem eating it.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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      • #4
        Yeah, fescue isn't a big deal to a pregnant mare unless it is endophyte infected. Every broodmare I've ever owned and bred has been on fescue mixed pasture and I've never had a problem.

        Most horse pasture seed mixes nowadays have endophyte free fescue in them.

        As far as fescue hay goes, most of mine aren't too thrilled if that's what they get fed. I have only fed it in desperate situations where I had an injured horse in the spring (and he had to be confined and I was out of my supply of hay). Eventually he stopped eating it altogether. I don't think it's too tasty.

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        • #5
          I'm feeding Fescue right now to 10 horses and they are all eating it quite well (as in none being trashed). That being said, it's not my first choice for horse hay but I was able to purchase some from a neighbor who is well known for producing nice hay - the quality was good and the price was good, not to mention the close proximity. No one is losing weight on it, that's for sure.

          The endophyte-free Fescue is called "Tall Fescue". I have not found any near me for sale and am feeding typical Fescue.
          Susan N.

          Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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          • #6
            I fed a lot of fescue mix hay last year. They didn't treat it too nicely, but when it came down to brass tacks, they ate it.
            "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer
            http://dressagescriblog.wordpress.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by bludejavu View Post

              The endophyte-free Fescue is called "Tall Fescue". I have not found any near me for sale and am feeding typical Fescue.
              Not sure how you meant this but before someone reads it the wrong way, 'Tall' fescue is just a type of fescue. Kentucky 31 is a type of tall fescue for example. There's tall fescue, turf type fescue, creeping red, red fescue, hard fescue, etc. Endophytes can indeed infect tall fescue. If you want endophyte free fescue you have to look for ENDOPHYTE FREE FESCUE. Not just 'Tall' fescue..

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              • #8
                For sure, there is nothing that relates the endophyte in question (or any endophyte for that matter) with "tall" fescue, or any other verbiage of that nature.

                there are very few e-free fescues out there, unfortunately.
                ______________________________
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jaimebaker View Post
                  Not sure how you meant this but before someone reads it the wrong way, 'Tall' fescue is just a type of fescue. Kentucky 31 is a type of tall fescue for example. There's tall fescue, turf type fescue, creeping red, red fescue, hard fescue, etc. Endophytes can indeed infect tall fescue. If you want endophyte free fescue you have to look for ENDOPHYTE FREE FESCUE. Not just 'Tall' fescue..
                  You are correct and it was a typo error on my part. It should have read "Drover Fescue" as that is the only variety in my area that is endophyte-free that I know of.
                  Susan N.

                  Don't get confused between my personality & my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.

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