Prevent Toxic Hay from Harming Your Horse

Few things have more potential to seriously damage your horse?s health than his feed.? Whether it?s moldy or dusty hay, toxic plants, or simply the type of hay, what your horse ingests will have serious implications on his overall well-being.? It is important, first and foremost, to feed your horse hay that is compatible with his body?s needs.? Different types of hay will have different levels of proteins and sugars, and not all are good for every horse.? For instance, if your horse is prone to episodes of laminitis, then it is best to feed a low sugar and low protein hay, such as a local grass hay or even timothy.? However, if your horse is working hard and in competitive training, you may need to feed a higher energy feed such as alfalfa.? Usually you will wind up feeding some type of combination, but just be aware that what you are feeding your horse could be making him sick.? Check with your veterinarian about the best type of hay for your horse.

Once you have narrowed down what you are looking for, you?ll need to find a supplier.? Be sure to inspect their bales for evidence of mold or toxic plants.? Walk their fields if at all possible to look for toxic plants that grow in your area.? Hay bales should be weed free, but if you do find plants in your hay, remove anything that you aren?t sure of.? You can also try over-feeding your horse slightly, as he will have some ability to choose not to eat the toxic plants. ?If you are feeding alfalfa, be aware of blister beetles ? horses only need to ingest a few of these poisonous insects to become seriously ill.? Don?t buy alfalfa that has been crimped ? in this process the beetles are crushed, causing the toxin to spread into the hay.

The best hay bales will be green, sweet smelling, and free of unwanted plants.


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