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Wheat Hay?

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Brandi*

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I did a search on the forum and it didn't come up with much. I did get the impression that it's not safe for horses. Is this correct? I am having a hard time finding grass hay around here. The only thing I can find is orchard grass or orchard grass mix. Melody HATES orchard grass ! I have a mix right now and she picks through and gets the more coarse grass out and leaves all of the orchard grass to waste. I only give her hay overnight so that her tummy keeps busy. She is on Strategy twice a day and turned out all day. Her weight is holding nicely with this program. Is grassy alfalfa too rich for her? I have some but I just use it to sprinkle over the top of her orchard grass to encourage her to eat it. I have seen a lot of wheat hay, oat hay, alfalfa and alfalfa mix but no pasture grass since about two months ago.

Thanks so much!
 
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Alex

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Wheat hay is like straw; its pretty thick and course. Personally I wouldnt feed it, it is lower in TDN (around 46-47%) , not my first choice of hay.

Could you get a hold of some alfalfa or timothy pellets or cubes? Beet pulp? Complete feeds? These would take up a large portion of her regular hay intake.
 

disneyhorse

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I wouldn't feed wheat hay; it is not a popular horse hay. For the grain hays, I'd say the most popular is oat hay followed by barley hay (which isn't often available).

I am sort of a "tough love" kind of owner, if my horse doesn't "like" a certain kind of food I generally just leave it in there. Horses eventually will eat what they are offered if they are hungry enough.

If I were you I would try the oat hay or the alfalfa mix (or do half and half of that!). I would stay away from the wheat hay and the straight alfalfa.

Andrea
 

Marty

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Here, wheat hay is considered straw.

No they don't eat it. I used it at times for bedding.

Orchard grass is the mainstay here. Brandi, maybe there was something wrong with your cutting if it was coarse it was bailed too late proabably. Maybe it had fescue and she was sorting through it?

Grassy alfalfa? Try a little bit and see how she likes it or find another source for your orchard grass.
 

Minimor

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Wheat hay, or crested wheat? No one here uses wheat as hay. We do, however, have crested wheat and it actually makes very nice hay if it is cut at the right time. If it's cut early then it's a very nice grass; the horses really like it & they do well on it. Cut late, though, and it's much too dry and often coarse, and isn't at all palatable.
 

Billy G

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Wheat hay is great feed if it is put up right. It should be cut in a very early bloom stage, no heads as the beards will stick in there jaws. My brother used to raise Shetlands and wheat hay was his favorite.
 

stormy

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I have a friend who has put up wheat hay for years. One cut in the spring than uses it for pasture. It is very nice , soft, leafy hay when done right.
 

Miniv

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I wouldn't feed wheat hay; it is not a popular horse hay. For the grain hays, I'd say the most popular is oat hay followed by barley hay (which isn't often available).

I am sort of a "tough love" kind of owner, if my horse doesn't "like" a certain kind of food I generally just leave it in there. Horses eventually will eat what they are offered if they are hungry enough.

If I were you I would try the oat hay or the alfalfa mix (or do half and half of that!). I would stay away from the wheat hay and the straight alfalfa.

Andrea
I agree with Disney.
 

Margo_C-T

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Last year when I went to pick up my alfalfa hay, the growers told me they had some really nice wheat hay. I was skeptical--but being the great folks they are, they gave me a bale to bring home and try. It was actually very nice hay...it was a 'beardless' variety, and cut early, so there were NO AWNS, and it was moderately green and 'soft'--more like a quality oat hay, which we HAD fed many years ago. I researched it, and found it could be pretty good nutritionally, IF grown, cut, and baled properly and at the right time. There CAN be issues with--some kind of NITRATE 'poisoning', if I remember correctly-with wheat hay, so you would REALLY need to know your grower and how they 'managed' the hay. I've done business with these growers for around 20 years, and trust them implicitly, so no problem there.

All that said, I probably would NOT recommend buying wheat hay from anyone you don't know and trust as to their farming knowledge AND methods! The new crops of hay should be 'coming off' anytime now, and hopefully, you can find what you need...and if not, consider pellets or cubes, even if they require soaking to feed safely...

Good luck!

Margo
 

Brandi*

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Thanks for the info. Sounds like too much trouble. What does "beardless" mean? And what is a "awn"? I will just keep mixing the orchard with the alfalfa mix I guess
 

cretahillsgal

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We are in wheat harvest here! And to answer your question, no we don't feed any of the horses wheat hay, only the cattle. The heads of the wheat will get stuck in the jaw of the horse. We had to have the vet sedate and remove them from two horses years ago. Since then, no more wheat hay.

The awns (or beards) are the long whispy fibers that stick out from the head of wheat where the grain is. They are kind of sticky and feel like sandpaper. This is what makes them stick.

Here is a picture so maybe you can see what I am talking about.

 

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