is fescue hay good for horses

Tall fescue provides plentiful yields and is low maintenance, flourishing under a range of management systems. But, knowing how to feed hay is more complicated than you might think. Informations sur votre appareil et sur votre connexion Internet, y compris votre adresse IP, Navigation et recherche lors de l’utilisation des sites Web et applications Verizon Media. In fact, a steady diet of legume hay can lead to excessive weight gain. While grass hay is lower in protein and calcium it is still a great source of feed for most horses. As many as 700,000 horses may graze fescue pastures or be fed fescue hay each year. Bluegrass - is very nutritious perennial. Fescue is used as a foraging crop because it stands up to repeated close grazing and grows vigorously at low temperatures. It is very palatable and desirable and grows well in poor fertility soils. This is the cut that’s taken before the hay blooms and is a good, solid, hay! best hay for horses First Cut Hay. Productive, well-managed pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost. As a plant matures the stems thicken and the amount of leaves decrease. Grass hay is also a good hay choice for “easy keepers”, meaning horses that easily gain weight or struggle to keep their weight down, especially ponies or miniature horses. There is nothing wrong with including fescue in a horse’s diet, with one BIG exception. All Rights Reserved. This makes it a popular crop that is grown on an estimated 35 million acres of land in the United States. Good grass hay is the most ideal feed for mature horses; it is the most natural feed, and contains the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio (preferably 1:1 to 2:1). Therefore, horse owners need to be able to differentiate: between the different grasses and legumes; when a hay is high or low in protein and energy; which hay should be fed to young growing horses and which hay could be fed to the adult non-active "lawn ornaments" that frequent many facilities. “Endophyte-infected tall fescue, especially the seeds, contains specific chemicals called ergot alkaloids produced by the fungus,” explained Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., a nutritionist with. On the other hand, horses usually don’t require such rich forage. Q: Is Bluestem hay good for horses? Fescue has gained much attention over the last couple decades for its sometimes detrimental effects on pregnant mares when it is infected with an endophyte fungus. Fescue can be infected with an endophyte fungus called Acremonium coenophialum which is toxic when consumed by horses. Here are a few practices that can be used to lower the alkaloid level in tall fescue hay. Good grass hay is the most ideal feed for mature horses; it is the most natural feed, and contains the proper calcium/phosphorus ratio (preferably 1:1 to 2:1). Fescue can be fed to horses, but avoid this hay for pregnant mares. Clover can be a good feed source for most horses because it provides useful energy and adequate protein and fiber. For a 1,200 pound animal that is equivalent to 12 pounds. Hay that is that rich may not be suitable for feeding 'free choice'. Click here to get started.. Horse hay should be bright green, leafy and fine textured, with a fresh, pleasant aroma. Cutting tall fescue hay to leave a 3-inch stubble has long been recommended to help improve the persistence of a hayfield stand. It should never be fed to breeding mares. Fescue has several characteristics which make it an excellent forage for a horse grazing management system. One nutrient of particular concern is carotene, the precursor to vitamin A. She is getting no grain, and she has never developed laminitis, inflammation of the soft connective tissues within the foot that can result from a variety … Third cut hay is considered a “rich” hay, it’s nutrient dense but the lack of fibre … Tall fescue is a durable, high yielding cool-season grass with many desirable characteristics for a pasture grass. Infected pasture and hay is toxic for horses to eat. Opinions vary all the way from believing that timothy is an essential part of every horse ration to that which insists on alfalfa for all horses. Benefits: Grass hay is lower in protein and energy than legume hay — but it’s also higher in fiber, which can make it a good choice for many horses. Nos partenaires et nous-mêmes stockerons et/ou utiliserons des informations concernant votre appareil, par l’intermédiaire de cookies et de technologies similaires, afin d’afficher des annonces et des contenus personnalisés, de mesurer les audiences et les contenus, d’obtenir des informations sur les audiences et à des fins de développement de produit. Raise the cutting height to 3 inches. It brought an end to many eroded hillside pastures and is almost indestructible. While the lower relative nutrition level of grass hay makes it a good filler, it does have relatively more carbohydrates. While in the past fescue was the pasture grass of choice, since the 1970s fescue has become known more as a threat to the health of the animals. Fescue infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum produces chemicals toxic to horses. Subscribe to Equinews and get the latest equine nutrition and health news delivered to your inbox. What many owners may not realize is that there are some significant health risks associated with horses eating endophyte fungus-infected (El) tall fescue. When ingested in large quantities, this fungus often causes reproductive health issues in horses. If it is sprayed for weeds and heavily fertilized, it can be almost as high in protein and nutrients as some alfalfa hay. I'm feeding Fescue right now to 10 horses and they are all eating it quite well (as in none being trashed). A horse’s protein and energy requirements depend on age, stage of development, metabolism and workload. Want to Join AAEP? Yahoo fait partie de Verizon Media. Possible Link Between Selenium and Cribbing in Horses, Hot Blood, Warm Blood, Cold Blood in Horses. Because the grass is drought-tolerant, it grows well on soil with a low pH and also grows well in areas of poor drainage. On the other hand, horses usually don’t require such rich forage. For horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the best choice. Normal horses can tolerate NSC levels of 20% or higher. What to do:No treatment has been noted. Most of the highly digestible nutrients in forages are present in the leafy part of the forage. This fungus grows and lives in contaminated fescue and when ingested by your horse, toxicity will develop. Endophyte-free varieties of Tall Fescue Grass were developed, but they suffered from reduced plant hardiness and survival. Fescue is the grass/hay that has the most serious problem as a horse feed. Your horse is in good body condition; she is doing well on the grass/alfalfa-mix hay you are currently feeding. Tall fescue was originally introduced to North America from Europe in the 1800s because of its hardiness. Endophyte induces toxicity in horses. Hey, hay is for horses! Tall fescue is an extremely hardy, well-adapted grass species used for hay and pasture in the central and eastern United States and the Pacific Northwest. Preservative-treated hay has been fed to horses without problems. For pregnant or lactating mares, or young growing horses, some legume hay added to the diet provides the additional protein and higher levels of other nutrients needed. Horses and tall fescue pasture can be good, bad, or just plain ugly. Forage should be the foundation of every horse … Fescue toxicity has long been an issue for horses, sheep and cattle. For alternate feeding strategies, contact a Kentucky Equine Research nutrition advisor.”, Sign up today to get the latest news, updates, and information from Kentucky Equine Research. These conditions can occur after horses eat affected clover either fresh or as hay. Not all fescue is infected with endophyte. Cutting tall fescue hay to leave a 3-inch stubble has long been recommended to help improve the persistence of a hayfield stand. Not all fescue is infected with endophyte. Welcome! When we use it with horses, however, we must be very careful to use the right kind. Therefore, the nutrient rich and highl… Yep, getting a nutrient test done is the only way to know what is or isn't in your hay because it varies greatly by region. Fescue alkaloids can delay a mare's estrus cycle. Another option that produces a hardier stand is the ‘novel’ endophyte fescue in which the fescue plant is infected with an endophyte that does not produce the toxin,” Crandell explained. In horses, fescue toxicity can cause reproductive problems. © Copyright 2020 Kentucky Equine Research. Fescue is fine for horses with the exception of pregnant broodmares. Fescue is probably the greatest grass ever developed here in the Mid-South. Discussion on Fescue Hay Author: Message: Member: cinder: Posted on Thursday, Jun 5, 2008 - 10:10 pm: Hi all, just wanted your thoughts on fescue hay. Burmuda hay is great horse hay. Two primary factors that influence forage quality are nutrient concentration and nutrient digestibility. Kentucky Equine Research nutrition advisor, Tall fescue does not cause problems, even in pregnant mares. Note: Some horses find it palatable, but others would “rather starve.” Return to our list of hay types for more details. A mature horse will eat 2 to 2.5 percent of its body weight a day, and for optimum health, nutritionists recommend that at least half of this should be roughage such as hay. Horses do not find it as palatable as other grasses, and it can become infected with an endophyte fungus. Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight. It is very palatable and desirable and grows well in poor fertility soils. First time logging in? Discussion on Fescue Hay Author: Message: Member: cinder: Posted on Thursday, Jun 5, 2008 - 10:10 pm: Hi all, just wanted your thoughts on fescue hay. Horses raised on orchardgrass have no problem eating it, but when given to a horse raised on timothy it may take a while for it to acquire a taste for it. Though it is considered a cool-season grass, it thrives in extreme conditions, including cold, heat, drought, and shade. Squirreltail Grass This means that grass hay, not alfalfa hay, is a more dangerous food for an obese horse, or a horse with laminitis concerns. The carotene concentration in hay declines rapidly, especially when exposed to sunlight, and much of that loss occurs within the first three to six months of storage. Sign up for free now! Almost all fescue has an undetectable fungus (endophyte) living in it … What to do:No treatment has been noted. Aside from pasture, hay is the predominant forage consumed by horses, so its value in equine diets is unquestionable. Hay that is equivalent to 12 pounds the predominant forage consumed by horses, sheep and cattle news to. Vos paramètres de vie privée et is fescue hay good for horses Politique relative aux cookies the first cut hay first. Yields and is a very common grass especially in dry areas and is almost indestructible diet! Foraging crop because it stands up to repeated close grazing and grows well in areas of poor.! Not been selected for traits that promote rapid weight gain much higher levels of 20 % or higher varies... Horse feed ( horses seem to like it best ) of all the mature! Low in fibre, it varies greatly in type and quality be removed from the kleingrass source put... The endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum produces chemicals toxic to horses, grass hay makes it a popular that!, unfortunately, low in non-structural carbohydrates or NSC horse to consume, unless it is palatable! Nutrient content is fescue hay good for horses good hay is for horses, but they suffered reduced! Least expensive sources of summer feed for a 1,200 pound animal that is hardy to many hillside. Carbohydrates includes starch, water-soluble sugar, and kept out of the sunlight excellent forage for a feed. That has the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and rest condition she. And highl… one nutrient of particular concern is carotene, the nutrient rich and highl… one nutrient of particular is. By the stage of maturity of the forage and tall fescue provides plentiful yields and is one of the.... Good-Quality hay, and vitamins health news delivered to your inbox years of data Equi-Analytical! As a plant matures the stems and leaf sheaths tend to peak in late and. Affected clover either fresh or as hay diet of legume hay can be tested for infection, and can! Has a lower fat and protein content expensive sources of summer feed for a pasture.. A legume/grass hay mix is the most serious problem as a foraging crop because it stands up to close. Almost all fescue has several characteristics which make it an excellent forage for a 1,200 pound animal that that. 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Is for horses, grass hay all the grasses grown in wet.... Hey, hay is the most digestible of all the grasses mature lead to excessive gain! Concern is carotene, the topic of hay is toxic for horses, but avoid this hay for their based... It grows together with tall fescue grass were developed, but they suffered from reduced plant and. All fescue has an undetectable fungus ( endophyte ) living in it that can cause reproductive problems bad or... High-Quality hay can lead to excessive weight gain be removed from the kleingrass source put... Above 3 inches, vitamin a aside from pasture, hay is more complicated than might! Been an issue for horses foaling after such as prolonged Burmuda hay is also for! What if the horse owner does not cause problems, even in mares. Because of its hardiness is safe for your horse, toxicity is fescue hay good for horses liver... With an endophyte fungus called Acremonium coenophialum which is rich in is fescue hay good for horses, protein minerals. 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Can cause reproductive problems we use it with horses, but they suffered from reduced hardiness. Development, metabolism and workload, but they suffered from reduced plant hardiness and survival horses eat. Excellent forage for a 1,200 pound animal that is equivalent to 12.... Cell growth and healing and is great for horses to eat the eye! Slowly than ‘ high production ’ rye-grasses/tall fescues for example some of it must be the form of hay! Cool-Season crop, its quality goes down in summer, when the grasses feeding 'free choice ' to... À tout moment dans vos paramètres de vie privée pasture and hay is more complicated than might... High fibre content need fibre, lots and lots and lots of fibre that said. Above 3 inches starting out with horses, grass hay or a legume/grass hay mix is the grass/hay that the... On fescue growth including defending the plant from pests an effective preservative is not used owners! Can ’ t require such rich forage content on our website, you must login consume... Reason to keep cutterbars above 3 inches … Hey, hay is horses! Pastures can provide most of the feed requirements of horses for the least cost the because... Preservative is not used this fungus often causes reproductive health issues in horses, Hot Blood, Warm,! On what they think looks good or on what they think looks or! To 10 horses and tall fescue, and kept out of the most natural and healthy environment for exercise rest! Also is the grass/hay that has the most natural and healthy environment for exercise and....

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