Haylage & Horse Grass For Sale Online
An excellent source of fibre for horses, haylage helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. At Equi Supermarket we offer the highest quality haylage for horses from leading brands including Equilibrium, Fulmart, Gelston Haylage and Marksway. These are the names you can trust to deliver exceptional nutrition for your horse whether you need haylage bales or blocks.
Feeding Your Horse Haylage
If you are considering investing in your own horse but have not cared for a horse before then it is important to think about feed. Providing your horse haylage can be an important element of their diet so here’s everything you need to know.
What is Haylage?
Haylage is a replacement for hay. To create haylage, grass is grown in the same way as for hay but it is left to dry out for less time and so features more moisture. It is then formed into bales which are compressed to roughly 65% of their original size. The natural process of fermentation preserves the grass as haylage and it offers around 90% of the nutritional value of grass. Unlike hay, it does not feature dust and spores and so is a better option for horses with dust allergies or those suffering from coughs.
The Benefits of Haylage
Feeding your horse haylage is an excellent source of fibre and this is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system. Horses naturally browse for their food and so eat little and often. Working their way through haylage more closely replicates their natural diet than eating buckets of feed which they will consume in a short period of time. Eating haylage may also alleviate boredom. Haylage is a good source of energy and protein and can help to prevent or manage respiratory problems.
How Much Haylage?
BHS Stage 3 guidelines state that a horse in light or medium work which is kept stabled most of the time should be provided with 2.5% of its body weight in food. Roughly 75% of its diet should be forage in the form of hay or haylage. The right quantity of haylage will depend on how much exercise your horse is getting and the amount of available grazing.
Haylage should not be fed to horses which are prone to laminitis due to the high protein content. It is best fed on the floor as long as the floor is clean and free of mud. Feeding from the floor is more natural and benefits horses’ respiratory system and back muscles. It is, therefore, best to avoid haylage nets or racks. If you cannot use the floor, use low level feeders instead.
Storage of Haylage
Try to avoid storing the haylage where cats or dogs could scratch the bales or climb on them. Always handle the bales with care and if a bale becomes punctured it should be used within one week or within 4 days if the weather is warm. Check that your haylage wrapping is not damaged when it is delivered. If you discover any haylage which is wet this could be a sign of additional fermentation and so the haylage should not be used.
Do not feed your horse haylage that has white patches of mould. Check that your haylage is not rotten and take care that there is no dead animal matter nearby or the haylage could develop the toxin botulism.
Any uneaten haylage in either the field of the stable should be discarded daily and a fresh supply offered instead.
Good For Allergies or Boredom
Haylage does not contain the dust and spores that you find in hay and so is a better option for horses with allergies or those suffering from coughs. Horses naturally browse for their food and so should eat little and often. In munching on haylage, they closely replicate their natural diet. Eating haylage can alleviate boredom and this is a feed which delivers energy and protein.
Haylage Feeding Quantities
The correct quantity to feed will depend on how much exercise your horse receives and the quality of its grazing. As a rough guide, horses should be fed roughly 75% of their diet in the form of forage including haylage. They should receive roughly 2.5% of their body weight in food each day. Haylage should not be fed to horses which are prone to laminitis due to the high protein content.
Storage of Haylage
Handle haylage bales with care and keep them clear of pets who could scratch the bales. If a bale is punctured it should be used within one week. Haylage found to be wet should not be used and you should check for mould in stored bales before feeding your horse. Uneaten haylage should be discarded daily.
Different Types of Hay for Your Horse
There are a variety of factors to bear in mind when choosing the correct hay for your horse. These are all to do with matching the physical specifications and daily activity of your horse to the nature of the hay in question. Also considering what it will offer your horse’s system. Specific details to note should be things like your horse's breed, body type, age, weight, workload and metabolism.
Since an adult horse should be eating around 2% to 2.5% of its body weight per day, it is crucial to know exactly what you are feeding your horse. As a result of this, it is certainly worth consulting your veterinarian and nutrition experts to help you with this assessment. Also, you should think about having your hay tested to find out precisely what it is that your horse is eating.
On choosing the hay itself though, there are various options. Here we will look at a few of the important varieties you might consider going for.
One of the great benefits of alfalfa, which is also sometimes known as lucerne hay and is generally the most popular and highly regarded type of hay, is its high protein content. This protein content is between 15% and 21%, depending on when the grower cuts the alfalfa. This is important to consider if you have young horses, working performance horses, or lactating mares, all of which would need a higher protein intake than the 10% to 12% average requirement for normal adult horses.
Alfalfa hay usually contains a relatively high amount of calories but low amount of fibre. This means that horses are able to maintain their weight without eating as much. However, this does of course also mean that their may be a chance of the horses putting on excess weight if their consumption is at a high level in comparison to if they were eating lower calorie packed hay such as grass hay.
As mentioned above, grass hay typically has a lower protein and calorie content than alfalfa hay. This can be a benefit for certain kinds of horses. If you have mature horses for example, or non-working horses, or horses which are not breeding, then they will not need as much energy and protein, and so a grass hay diet can be preferable.
Additionally, if you have a horse that is prone to gaining too much weight, and this is often the case when it comes to ponies and miniature breeds, then the relatively high fibre to low protein and energy content can be advantageous because it means that feeding can be taking place without the threat of your animals becoming unhealthily overweight or obese. On top of that, grass hay tends not to get as dusty as alfalfa hay, making it a good choice for horses with respiratory problems.
A specific kind of grass hay which you might want to consider is Timothy hay. Made from Timothy grass which is native to most of Europe apart from the Mediterranean regions, people have used it as a major source to feed horses in Britain since the mid 18th century. It is relatively high in fibre, though growers need to cut it late in order for this fibre content to cultivate. If they cut it too early then it may also be too course and harsh for pleasant feeding. Though, with that said, its generally more abrasive qualities mean that it is in fact beneficial for your horse’s teeth and jaw health.
So, what's the difference between hay and haylage I hear you cry! The answer is here