Crimson clover is another tall-growing type but tends to be higher in indigestible fiber than red clover. As a pasture grass, horses seem to consume more of it in the fall after a frost has hit and the sugar content has risen. These awns can work their way through the tissue, causing lesions and infections. They do get readigrass as a treat and on occasion hay cakes. Although the most popular legume used among horse owners is alfalfa, other legumes such as red or crimson clover, lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, and peanut hay are often fed, and these provide horses with high-quality nutrients. On a foxtail plant, you will see a fringe of hairs instead of a tall membrane. Timothy hay vs meadow hay › Forum › DIET & CARE › Timothy hay vs meadow hay This topic has 5sd replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 3 months ago by Azerane . Hay can be classified into three general types: legume, grass, and mixed. Pure legumes are rarely roundbaled, but if faced with tightly wound round bales that cannot be opened, an instrument designed to remove core samples from the inside of hay bales, called a hay probe, can be used. There are a few features you can check. Timothy hay is the most digestible of all hays and is one of the most popular hay feeds for horses. i generally feed both meadow and timothy hay (2nd cut). Cereal hays should be light green in color; a yellow, straw-like color would indicate that the hay was harvested too late and will be of lower nutritional value. All Rights Reserved. For horses that are stalled, or for horses that do not have abundant pasture, stored forage in the form of hay is the primary source of forage. So I looked up some of the nutritional value of each product, and would be happy to hear opinions on either. The opposite is often true with legumes, and these hays sometimes have an abundance of stems and few leaves. Oat hay is the most common cereal hay fed in the United States, and if harvested at the right time, it is quite palatable to horses. In conclusion, horse owners and hay producers should learn how to tell the difference between foxtail and timothy grasses. Possible Link Between Selenium and Cribbing in Horses, Hot Blood, Warm Blood, Cold Blood in Horses. Meadow hay is taken from permanent pasture and may contain a wider variety of grasses than seed hay as … Evaluating hay requires a thorough visual appraisal. The color is somewhat dependent on the type of hay. 1st & 2nd Rye – The perfect match for horses in hard work or competition. You don't need to feed out quite as much lucerne as you do meadow. Photo: Cornell University. Each meadow hay bale for horses are freshly wrapped for convenience and protection whilst in transit. A special category of grasses are cereal hays. All bags used are 100% Recyclable under code 4. Like most horse owners, Kathleen Crandell, Ph.D., has opened hundreds of bales of hay during her lifetime of owning and caring for horses. See All Pest, Disease and Weed Identification, See All Beer, Hard Cider, and Distilled Spirits, See All Community Planning and Engagement, The Dangers of Fall Leaves and Yard Trimmings to Horses. First, it is relatively expensive and needs to be sprayed twice for maximum effectiveness. Subscribe to Equinews and get the latest equine nutrition and health news delivered to your inbox. I grab a handful or two to get an idea of the hay’s texture. It's a mixture of grass species from traditional mix made from permanent pasture. It is relatively high in fiber, especially when cut at a later or more mature stage. The foxtail seed head may droop over, which is a dead giveaway that it isn't timothy. This hay has adequate protein levels and is particularly suitable for horses, ponies and donkeys prone to laminitis. Photo: Ohio State University. Getting clover to dry quickly in the field is challenging for growers, and premature baling of damp hay is the primary reason clover hay is sometimes moldy. This hay can be shipped anywhere in the UK as compressed 20kg bales. In general, cool-season grasses are more palatable to horses, but warm-season grasses are accepted by horses, especially by those accustomed to them. From a nutritional standpoint, clovers and alfalfa are very similar: higher in calcium and protein, and more calorie-dense than grass hays. It is not unusual to run into bales that have both green and brown plant material, according to Crandell. Timothy Hay and Native Mountain Meadow High Altitude Grass Hay Mix Our high altitude grown grass hay is a high-quality mix of premium Horizon variety Timothy hay with some Meadow Foxtail hay and native meadow, high altitude grasses and clovers, which is an excellent blend for pleasure, ranch and rodeo horses and especially for prize race horses. Feeding meadow rolls at the moment and the horses are doing a little too well on it.Theres a lot of clover in it.I swap and change between oaten and meadow depending on which is the better quality. A profusion of leaves and few stems indicates that the hay was made at the desired maturity and that few leaves came loose during baling. Seed hay is taken from pasture grown especially for hay making from grass seed, has a higher nutritional value than meadow hay, and is lighter in colour. To come back year after year, it drops hundreds and hundreds of seeds into the soil. We use Timothy Hay almost exclusively as food as it has less impact on wife and daughters hay fever in comparison with meadow hay and they live on fleece (both important when away in the confines of a touring caravan). It is also effective on other summer annual grasses like crabgrass and some broadleaf weeds. Some horse owners prefer grass/legume mixes over pure legume because a mixture more or less averages the content of certain key nutrients to make it appropriate for different classes of horses. LEARN HOW TO STOP THE INVASIVE SPOTTED LANTERNFLY, Coronavirus: Information and resources for the Extension Community. Remember to take soil tests and correct pH or nutrient deficiencies before you seed, and to avoid grazing the pastures for at least 6 months after seeding to allow the new grasses to establish healthy root systems. Timothy has bulb-like structures called “corms" and they may resemble the bulbs of onion grass. Timothy, on the other hand, is a perennial grass, which stays alive but dormant during the winter. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Right image: Foxtail: Fringe of fine hairs at collar. Certain horse owners associate clover with excessive salivation. I have to purchase my hay twice a month. Meadow hay. When baled under optimal conditions, the most nutrients are preserved.”. This method has a few drawbacks. Foxtail is a summer annual grass, meaning it grows from seed in the spring and dies in the fall. Timothy Hay – Extremely clean, nutrient packed hay. There are three important things to remember with this method: There is one pre-emergent herbicide approved for pasture use in Pennsylvania called Prowl H2O that you apply in the spring, before the foxtail seedlings emerge, that will prevent them from growing. Distinguishing hay types is important, if only from the standpoint of purchasing the appropriate hay. Known as slaframine poisoning, excessive salivation is not life-threatening. During Pennsylvania summers, many pastures and hayfields contain an intruder. Early-maturity hays are softer to the touch than late-maturity ones.” As with legumes, Crandell checks for dust and unusual odor indicative of mold. This makes it a great choice for good-doers, laminitics and horses in light work seed hay , which is made from immature plants and is packed with protein and energy, so it’s best for performance horses “I might shake a couple of handfuls to see how much dust flies off. Legumes add nitrogen to the soil, so growing legumes with grasses can cut down on fertilizer needs and growing costs. Timothy hay is a common favorite among horses and owners. If the cereal hay is harvested after the grain is removed, it is no longer considered hay but straw. This will bury the seeds too deep for them to germinate. As a nutritionist with Kentucky Equine Research (KER), she understands the importance of good-quality hay. At first glance, it looks like the popular timothy grass, but a close inspection can tell you that it's really foxtail. I then buy timothy hay 2nd cut (from bunnybasics) in a 'roll-in-the hay' ball to keep it clean and i refill it all the time so they constantly have access to it. By entering your email, you consent to receive communications from Penn State Extension. High quality forage is critical for proper digestive function in horses. View our privacy policy. The most popular choices for grasses to be utilized as horse hay are Timothy Grass and Orchard Grass making them the big two forage grasses. Crandell next evaluates the color of the hay. “Fescue blades roll up lengthwise when dried, while orchardgrass blades dry open, so it is very easy to distinguish these two plants. Timothy hay is appropriate for all classes of horses, including young, growing horses. While the immature foxtail plant has no ill effect on horses, the seed heads are troublesome. Understanding the ins and outs of hay selection is an important aspect of horse ownership. Lucerne and grass hay are packed in small bales and the unit of feeding is a biscuit (flake). I'm always open to change if it benefits my horses! She then estimates plant maturity. As hay, it would be harvested in the spring and summer so palatability might not be an issue for certain horses. During certain times of year, hay may be the only forage available to horses and therefore the selection of well-preserved hay harvested at the appropriate stage of maturity is critical. For some horse owners, the gold standard among grass hays is timothy due largely to its extreme palatability. Each individual seed contains spikes with barbs called “awns," which can lodge in horses' mouths and gums, or even scratch an eye. On the east coast of the United States, I would say a mix of grasses in a hay is more common than any pure single-species hay like you find on the opposite coast,” remarked Crandell. Typically timothy grass has a finer texture than other grasses. When evaluating legume hays, Crandell first establishes the type of hay. Aside from marginal nutrition, if the stems are too mature, horses do not particularly like to eat them,” added Crandell. Left image: Timothy: Tall membrane (ligule) at collar. © Copyright 2020 Kentucky Equine Research. Left image: Timothy seed head. So how do we tell these similar looking plants apart? It provides some variety, although this is not necessarily an advantage, as rabbits often pick out the bits they like, usually the more calorific bits, and leave the rest. Entering your postal code will help us provide news or event updates for your area. However there are some important cons to consider. The first involves improvement of the land. A good quality cereal hay is harvested when the grain is immature (soft dough stage) and the leaves and stems are still green, and therefore higher in digestible nutrients. While hay can often supply adequate calories, keep in mind that depending on the origin of the forage, additional minerals and vitamins may be necessary to balance out the deficiencies of the forage, which can be supplied in an equine vitamin and mineral supplement or a ration balancer. If the leaves are brown, the hay is likely to have less nutritional value, as leaves deliver the most nutrients. Red clover is the most common clover hay because it grows taller than white clover and thus provides more yield per acre. Almost all hay has some dust, but if a large cloud erupts, it’s probably best to pass but imperatively so if you have a horse with a respiratory ailment aggravated by dust. If the hay was baled wet, it might have a distinct smell that results from caramelization of proteins,” remarked Crandell. Crandell uses the same process of evaluating grass hays as she does for legumes. Whilst haylage is more expensive to buy than hay it can be better value, as less concentrate food needs to be fed because of its higher energy level. You may want to use a magnifying glass or lens. One reason horse owners often avoid clover is its propensity for mold. While the immature foxtail plant has no ill effect on horses, the seed heads are troublesome. Each individual seed contains spikes with barbs called “awns," which can lodge in horses' mouths and gums, or even scratch an eye. It is not recommended to feed foxtail with seed heads to horses. Well made lucerne hay is generally of better quality, nutrative value and palatability (for horses) than well made meadow hay. Feeding Hay to Horses and Ponies. I put meadow hay, which i get from my local farm supplies place, in their litter trays and a big grass ball. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. 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. “I have seen lovely bales of the classic timothy/alfalfa mix. Timothy has no awns. The hay is a late-maturing high fiber bunchgrass with a relatively low protein content. Timothy hay is one of the most popular hays fed to horses. “I also look at stem coarseness, as this tells me the stage of maturity of the plants when they were harvested. Because the outside of a bale can be misleading, especially if it was situated on the edge of a stack with exposure to the sun or other elements, appraisal necessitates breaking open several bales. I feed timothy hay cubes, but a lot of people feed beet pulp. Therefore, if your field had a lot of foxtail last year and you use this herbicide in the spring, you will have bare ground in its place and no way to fill it in with desirable grass until the following spring. Though Crandell agrees that timothy is appetizing to most horses, she also believes “the most palatable hay to a horse is the type he is accustomed to.” 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. Timothy hay is an excellent source of roughage for equine diets. Horsemen often have to decide if they should purchase the first or second cutting of timothy hay for their horses. Introduction of a legume also improves the quality by increasing energy, protein, and calcium. 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. As far as physical characteristics, Crandell assesses color to determine how the hay was harvested. Bagged Meadow Hay. Our Bagged Meadow Hay is an all round Hay for horses and ponies in low to medium work. Other weeds may pop up in the bare areas, and bare ground is at higher risk for soil erosion. Specifically, the orchardgrass/red clover mix is especially useful for picky eaters. Timothy is typically harvested two times per season, the first cutting in early summer and the second cutting in late summer or early fall. With hay prices in California being $25 a bale (YIKES!) Photo: North Carolina State University. “Many orchardgrass hays are sold as timothy because the average horse owner does not know the difference in the seed heads. They eat alot of this. This usually means that the leaves came off during baling or when the hay was lying in the field. Right image: Green foxtail seed head. Get notified when we have news, courses, or events of interest to you. 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. Next, check for the awns, which look like hairs coming off each tiny seed on the head. Warm-season grasses include Bermuda grass (referred to as coastal), bromegrass, and most recently teff. If you mow between this stage and full seed set, then the plant will not be able to drop seeds for next year, and it won't grow another seed head during this year. This will only be obvious when the grasses are going to seed and aren't mowed. Warm-season hays are typically not as attractive as the cool-season types, as they are often more golden in color. Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight. Timothy is a beloved favorite of horses and their owners for its palatability and the great hay it produces. In order to know the true NSC value of your hay you will have to test it, but understanding the factors that affect NSC levels will help you pick hay that is more likely to meet your horse… The wider range of grasses mean that the hay has a wider range of minerals. Timothy corm. Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. The leaves of a foxtail plant may have some hairs as well. While alfalfa is the most well-known legume hay, clover hays are appropriate for horses, even if they are not as popular with horse owners as alfalfa. This is not the cheapest option for hay but it works for us. Australian horses are fed roughage in the form of hay, chaff, pellets and cubes. If you can pull or dig up the plant, take a look at the crown, where the shoots meet the roots. They mistakenly believe that it is the clover plant that causes horses to slobber, but the causative agent is actually a mycotoxin produced by a fungus that grows on clover. The true test of hay quality rests with the horses, though, and if they offer up their approval by consuming it readily, selection was a success. Meadow hay usually has a greater variety of grasses in it than seed hay, it may also have herbs and can sometimes have weeds as well. High quality hay can be an excellent source of nutrition for - including protein and calcium - for horses and ponies and is a very palatable feed.. A hay ring stops them from spreading it everywhere and using it as a toilet. Why do we need this? Like all forages fed to horses, timothy hay should be free of mold, dust, and weeds. Oh Goody. Forage (hay/pasture) makes up 60-100% of the diet for horses, depending on their function and activity. I almost always try to smell the hay to see if it is fresh, stale, or moldy. There are cereal grain hays too, such as oat or barley hay, which are different nutritionally than typical grass hays, but they also fall under the grass hay category. Timothy Grass Hay is a premium feed used for thoroughbred horses, pleasure riding horses, and ranch horses. However, there are several different varieties of foxtail, and some seed heads remain upright. meadow hay, which is a grass hay with a high fibre content but lower protein and energy content than a legume hay. Probes are used to collect hay samples for chemical analysis and nutrient determination. Color is not the end-all, be-all in determining hay quality, but it can be a clue to how it was made. Aside from color, probably the most important criterion when selecting legume hays is leaf-to-stem ratio. Some varieties may have very long and obvious awns, but others may have shorter awns that you need to look for. “It might be bright green, brownish-green, or pale green, or it might not be green at all; perhaps it is yellow. Pull a leaf away from the stem and examine the area where they meet (this is called the collar region). Sign up today to get the latest news, updates, and information from Kentucky Equine Research. A practical advantage occurs as well: when grasses and legumes are grown together it is more difficult for horses to pick out the tasty portions, as they could if fed a flake of legume and a flake of grass. For timothy, the early-cut stage would be considered the early head stage. Because it's a grass, it is nearly impossible to eradicate with herbicides that won't also damage your desirable grass. Timothy hay is usually lighter in color than orchardgrass unless the orchardgrass is harvested at a very mature stage. The most common cool-season grasses in the United States are timothy, orchardgrass, ryegrass, fescue, redtop, reed canary grass, and occasionally bluegrass in the East; and wheatgrass, blue grama, bluestem, and meadow in the Midwest and West. Hay collected in the probe should be assessed just as carefully as that in entire bales. Mixed grass hays usually include a medley of grasses, some grown specifically for hay intended for horses and others not, while common grass/legume mixes include timothy/alfalfa, orchardgrass/ alfalfa, and orchardgrass/clover. Alfalfa hay, sometimes called lucerne hay, is the most popular legume hay fed to horses in the U.S., while timothy and orchard are popular grass hay choices. Hay. Now that you can tell the difference between timothy and foxtail, what can you do about the foxtail in your pasture or hayfield? Timothy is a beloved favorite of horses and their owners for its palatability and the great hay it produces. “Maturity is judged by the number and age of the seed heads, ratio of leaves and stalks, color, and texture. Timothy must be harvested in the pre- or early-bloom stage to ensure a high nutrient content. Because these lethal insects often swarm, it is possible for only a few bales to be infected. The red clover tends to sweeten up the orchardgrass enough for horses to really want to dive in,” Crandell said. These hays are made from leaves, stems, and grains of oat, barley, and wheat plants. If it is bright green, then I know the hay was likely cut at an appropriate time, that it was probably not rained on after cutting, and that it dried quickly and was baled in a timely manner. If a horse really is sensitive to NSC content, the "safest" hays would be coastal Bermuda or timothy cut early in the day, after a warm night and recent rainfall. To determine the type of grass, seed heads are the most telling, though blade characteristics are also useful. The presence of mold, unusual growths on leaves, insects, and suspicious plants is noted. On a timothy plant, you will see a tall membrane come away from the stem and stand upright. Learn how to distinguish between the two and eradicate foxtail. Sign up for free now! Second, the herbicide has a planting restriction of 10 months for grasses. Since it’s less nutrient-dense than legume hay, horses have to eat more grass hay to fill their bellies, which makes grass hay a good tool for keeping a stall-bound horse from getting bored. If you keep an eye on these plants, you can tell when the seed heads start developing within the sheath (the boot stage). Lucerne (alfalfa) is the most common hay fed to horses, followed by grass (meadow) hay and oaten hay. Mixed hay is usually defined as a blend of grass and legume plants, though some hay producers and horse owners may define it as a combination of several grasses. If, on the other hand, the occasional stem is brown but the leaves are green and well-anchored to the stem, then the hay is probably still nutritious. Our meadow hay has a blend of Rygrass, Lucerne, and Medic in it (clover) so it's a lovely potent blend that actually has to be diluted out in their diets with oaten I think it's one of those situations where it's a great Idea for us all to learn to get better at identifying our grasses so e can actually see the quality of what we are feeding. It usually has a higher amount of protein than other grass hays but has a better balance of nutrients such as calcium and fiber. Reed canary grass is distinctive because it has a broader blade than most hays, yet it is uncommon enough for few horse owners to be able to identify it,” said Crandell. Mixing grasses with a legume has two notable benefits. Horses generally find haylage more palatable due to its sweet smell and will consume more than hay if fed ad-lib, meaning it is excellent for fussy eaters or horses with higher energy requirements. “Yellow, brown, or otherwise faded hay indicates that it was made at a mature stage, laid in the field longer to dry, or possibly rained on after being cut in the field, all of which would indicate lost nutrients through leaching by the sun or rain,” said Crandell. This means they can get too many calories and not enough fiber. Though blade characteristics are also useful severe infestation, eradicating the foxtail may be difficult and can take years. Can pull or dig up the plant, you will need to feed out quite as lucerne. 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N'T mowed mixed hay can be a clue to how it was made interest to.! “ many orchardgrass hays are typically timothy hay vs meadow hay for horses as attractive as the cool-season types, horses. Have found that timothy hay provides more yield per acre wider range of minerals for horses timothy! Clover hay because it grows from seed in the probe should be assessed just as carefully as in! Issue, however, as they are often more golden in color especially useful picky. And stalks, color, and suspicious plants is noted has adequate protein levels and is suitable. This usually means that the hay was harvested or dig up the plant, you consent to receive from. Could mean the hay ’ s texture tall membrane ( ligule ) at collar summers!, in their litter trays and a healthy weight clovers and alfalfa are very similar: higher in fiber. Shoots meet the roots forage ( hay/pasture ) makes up 60-100 % of the most telling though! 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