La Sra. Ma. Alejandra Bauza-Brown representa a Haras Ambato en USA. Escribe una de las páginas mas interesantes que he leido en el Facebook su nombre es JUMPER. Allí ha publicado este artículo que los invito a leer por la importancia de su contenido
Feeding alfalfa; pros cand cons.
The key of feeding alfalfa is “Balance” Some people say that there is nothing better than feeding alfalfa, others say that is a kind of poison, The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between.
Horse love it! Alfalfa has lower indigestible fiber than grass hay. High quality alfalfa supplies 20% to 25% more calories per pound than grass hay, although, the difference is much smaller for more mature cuts of alfalfa.
Pregnant or lactanting mares and young rapidly growing horses benefit from tha alfalfa’s high protein content, it is also a rich source of calcium.
Cubed and pelleted alfalfa tends to be very high quality, the major quality issue is overheating during processing, which will damage the protein. Pellets and cubes should be green, not brown or black on the outside.
There are many horses who need extra calcium or protein in their diets, and alfalfa is an excellent source of these nutrients. Because of its taste appeal, higher digestibility and that it is easier to chew, it is often a valuable addition to the diet of sick or senior horses.
We talked about the “pros” of feeding alfalfa, now lets talk about the “cons”
Insulin resistant horses prone to laminitis may be sensitive to alfalfa. Alfalfa contein more sugar and higher starch. The high calcium content causes an imbalanced calcium/phosphorus ratio. It also causes hormonal shifts that makes it difficult for the horse to rapidly mobilized calcium from bone stores in times of need. This can cause muscular problems in horses working hard or in mares when they first start to produce milk.
Alfalfa its high on protein which it will be burn as fuel and the extra metabolized to amonia, which must be excreted by the kidneys, to handle this extra demand, the horse will drink more and make more urine.
Grazing on alfalfa pastures requires the same precautions as feeding alfalfa hay, plus some extra conciderations. Example= Digestive upsets may be a bigger problem, especially in the spring and fall when temperatures swings can lead to rapid changes in the composition of the plant.
Alfalfa is prone to have more fine broken, crumble leaves that fall out when you open the bale. This is where the bulk of nutrition is, and that could be a considerable loss. You can feed the small pieces that fall out. For horses that might have some respiratory sensitivities you can mix them into a meal or whet down slightly, but, in general, the particles are much too large to be inhaled into the lungs.
High-alfalfa / low grain diets have been linked to the formation of enteroliths (stones) in the intestinal tract, which can cause colic and may be need to be surgically removed.
Alfalfa does not have to be avoided. You can balance your horse’s diet so he’ll get everything he needs in the right amounts. If you use alfalfa as your sole hay type, just be sure to get advice from a nutrition professional on how to properly balance your feeding program.
When you feed an alfalfa based diet, you have to make sure that you feed a high phosphorus sourse such as grain, supplements, grass hay; You will need to balance the alfalfa’s high calcium levels.
Try to keep your horse in a no more than 14% protein intake to not upset the digestive sistem. Make sure your horse have plenty water, he’ll drink more.
Thanks to the horse.com