Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hay Buying Basics for your Horse

We hope that this newsbyte finds all of you well as we begin our journey through 2010. Our goal is to provide a short newsbyte intermittently with educational and interesting information about equine wellness, medicine, and surgery. As some of you know, I enjoy talking about nutrition and so I thought that the first newsbyte could shed some light on Hay-Buying Basics.

How much do I need? Typically an adult horse will consume 1.0 to 2.0 percent of its body weight daily in forage. This would mean that a 1,000 pound horse would consume 10-20 lbs. of cured/baled (90% dry matter, 10% moisture) hay per day. A horse on pasture, consuming grass (20-30% dry matter, 70-80% moisture) would require significantly more intake, approximately 30-60 lbs daily because of the extra moisture content. With hay, it is a good practice to periodically weigh a flake to be sure that you are giving adequate amounts of forage.

What is the forage analysis on the hay I’m buying? A hay analysis is the only quantitative barometer of identifying good quality hay from poor quality hay. The analysis is so important that your purchase decisions may change based on the results.

What is Relative Feed Value (RFV)? When assessing your forage analysis, the RFV helps determine the digestibility & availability of nutrients. The higher the RFV, the higher the quality and availability of the nutrients.

What grain mix/supplement should I feed? The grain mix/supplement should always complement the quality and quantity of forage being provided to your horse according to their activity, age, and reproductive status. Please call or email if you have any questions.

Happy Trails!

Justin Sobota, MS, MSM, DVM

South Mountain Equine

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