Our mini's had just returned home from the breeding ranch and on July 4th we had them out on the front lawn grazing. We were having talking with the neighbors when I noticed that Hopi had gotten into a plastic shopping bag that was in the corner near the garage. I went over to grab it away from her and inside I found packages of rat poison! At a closer look, I noticed that she had eaten some of it. Making this long scary story short...we had to rush her to the emergency equine vet 30 miles away and they did many tests and procedures and she ended up to be fine. We're now hoping she didn't loose the baby. The emergency vets told us not to feed Bermuda Hay because almost every colic case they get is from Bermuda fed horses. Just wanted to pass this along.rockin r said:I feed my minis 2x a day. They get alfalfa with both feeding. But they have free choice bermuda all the time. I have never given them Timothy. Although when I lived in Fla. The full size horses got T & A mixed in the same bale. But since I moved here 4 yrs ago, They only get alfalfa and bermuda. All are fat and sassy!!
Robin...You're Great!! I'm always learning about our mini's and you've been very informative regarding this ongoing hay issue. Just one question...in your opinion, which cutting is preferred?Robin_C said:ClpClop -- two different types of hay will be just fine. I mix my own hay just as you do, primarily because it is very difficult to get good bales of mixed hay in Florida. Part of the reason is because alfalfa, a legume and not a grass at all, grows at a quicker rate than the grasses it is frequently cultivated with. As such, when the Timothy (or orchard grass, or brome, etc) is at the right stage for cutting, the alfalfa is over-mature. If the alfalfa is at the perfect stage for cutting, the grass may not be at optimum growth stage. I solve that problem by purchasing alfalfa bales trucked in from up north and a locally grown Tifton (bahia hybrid), then mix them according to each individual horse's needs. Fatties get mostly grass hay with a "whiff" of alfalfa while moms and foals get about 50:50.
As far as Bermuda or Bahia or Coastal hays causing colic, that probably has more to do with the physical hay itself rather than the "type" of hay. I've heard nearly as many people claim their horses have colicked on alfalfa! Very fine hay of any type (and it is true that the warm-climate grasses like Bermuda and Bahia tend to be finer than the cold climate grasses like orchard or timothy) may ball up in the cecum and cause impaction colics. On the other hand, there are many references to coarse-stemmed hays such as overmature Timothy or oat hay causing colics due to perforation, etc. Rule of thumb regarding hay is to purchase the best you can find and afford, regardless of "species". It should be soft and springy, fresh-smelling and free of dust, mold or debris. Extremely dense flakes that are hard to pull apart and overly heavy bales may have been baled too early, contain too much moisture, and be prone to mold. Hay that sits in poor storage too long may lose its nutrients. Learn about cuttings - 1st, 2nd, 3rd and beyond. This will help you choose hay that both keeps its nutritional value, AND is palatable and useful to your horse. Let your nose and fingers be your guide. If it smells sweet and fresh enough for YOU to eat, and soft and comfortable to your fingers, it's probably a good choice for your horse, too!