Who feeds bermuda hay

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babygoose

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I have been feeding alfalfa hay to my minis and it is so hard to keep them from getting too fat. They finish their meals fast and I wish they had more "chew" time. It is very hard to find any other kind of hay in my area, but one feed store does carry bermuda hay. I don't know what variety of bermuda it is, but I don't think it is coastal. I think it is brought in from Arizona or California. I have heard there is an increased risk of impaction colic with costal bermuda. Does that apply to all bermuda hay? Also, one of my minis has a cresty neck and fatty patches so I need to keep her on low sugar feed. I've heard that bermuda is generally lower in harmful sugars as well.

So does anybody here feed or fed bermuda hay to minis and have you had any problems? I would love to hear any testimony good or bad.
 

skylineminis

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I have been feeding alfalfa hay to my minis and it is so hard to keep them from getting too fat. They finish their meals fast and I wish they had more "chew" time. It is very hard to find any other kind of hay in my area, but one feed store does carry bermuda hay. I don't know what variety of bermuda it is, but I don't think it is coastal. I think it is brought in from Arizona or California. I have heard there is an increased risk of impaction colic with costal bermuda. Does that apply to all bermuda hay? Also, one of my minis has a cresty neck and fatty patches so I need to keep her on low sugar feed. I've heard that bermuda is generally lower in harmful sugars as well.
So does anybody here feed or fed bermuda hay to minis and have you had any problems? I would love to hear any testimony good or bad.
I've always fed coastal bermuda to my minis. I think the problem with bermuda is, a horse has to be introduced to it slowly, just like a feed change so the horse learns to chew it and it also must drink more water with it. Alfalfa has moisture where bermuda doesn't.

Here in central Texas, horses tend to drink more water than in the northern states. Coastal is our normal hay down here and alfalfa is a treat or fed to show minis so they don't get such a hay gut on them. Alfalfa is also expensive here because it doesn't grow here. It's up to $12.00 or more per bale which makes it a sparsley fed hay.

It's usually lower in protein content but, depending on the type of fertalizer used, it can get pretty high in protein. I have fed some coastal that tested 32% protein and it gave my horses the runs. Didn't feed any more of it.
 

JWC sr.

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For over 20 years our main hay has been coastal bermuda hay. We have a herd of between 90 - 135 horses total depending on the time of year. While we feed some alfalfa to the show string, the vast majority are on normal graze for the coastal area of Texas which consists of buffalo grass,native coastal, some St Augustine and Blue Tip prarie hay. We use about 750 - 900 bales yearly at a cost ranging from 4.00 - 6.00 per bale. :DOH!

In any case the things you need to look for is what we all call horse quality coastal here in Texas. That is hay with little or no other weeds or grasses in it. Additionally it is normally fertilized hay to increase the protien content in it. It also usually comes in square bails only and is sufficently dried in the field before baling is done.


Follow those rules and you will find you can feed more to keep them munching for a large part of the day and not have any problems. Actually we have more problems getting quality alfalfa with no blister beetles etc. than we do getting good quality coastal hay. To get good alfalfa we normally have to get it out of New Mexico etc.


Up north and out east I understand the norm is what they call orchard grass and a few other small stem type hays that work really well also.

hope that helps, good luck with it.
 

Floridachick

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Ours are all too fat to keep on ALfalfa.... They they get nice quality Coastal Bermuda. I lightly salted our when we first moved here to keep all the horses drinking alot.
 

Charlotte

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We feed locally grown bermuda (central Oklahoma) which isn't the costal variety.

Like has been mentioned above, make any feed changes gradually. Depending on climate conditions and when harvested some bermuda can be high in carbs. If this is a concern you can rinse your hay before feeding.

Charlotte
 

Bluewater Minis

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All of last year we fed Bermuda grass hay that was grown over towards IN, and LOVED it. With fuel & hay prices continually going up, it eventually went too high for us to justify bringing it in this year so far. Our minis loved it, and after we've had one disappointment after another with our hays this year from other local suppliers, we're going switch back to Bermuda again. I thought their body condition was ideal and we had less waste hay with Bermuda (and of course with a load of premium alfalfa, but not everyone could handle that with their ample figures). Yes, allow for transition time in their diet when switching hays. But I'd certainly look into Bermuda if you can get your hands on a quality cutting.
 

Gini

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Feed only Bermuda here in AZ. However, it was 15.75 a large square bale so I'm going to start supplementing with some other things. Mine all look sleek and healthy so I don't want to change too much.
 

babygoose

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Thanks for the input so far. I live in New Mexico and alfalfa is the main hay here. We actually grow some of our own. I will start mixing a little bermuda with the alfalfa and see how it goes. I don't think it is really healthy for them to be done with their little alfalfa meals in 15 minutes either! I will probably end up feeding half bermuda and half alfalfa in the end as the bermuda is kind of expensive here. And my guys are good about drinking plenty of water. And for the cresty mare I will try rinsing the bermuda.
 

Hosscrazy

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Bermuda hay is generally low in sugar/starch and is a really good choice for minis. I've spoken with Chino hospital several times about it - bermuda hay SOMETIMES is long and stringy - that's the concern that some people have about impaction colic.

When I have bales of bermuda where the grass is longer and stringier, I just tear it in half, so it's not so long. No problems here with bermuda - I really like it (note: I also mix it with timothy).

Liz R.
 

Kathy2m

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I did a google search "what hay causes impaction colic" there are several good articles on it, Kathy
 

KanoasDestiny

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My two minis coliced last year at the same time, due to eating too much hay and not drinking enough. It was such a bad experience, that I stopped feeding them hay for a full year (fed hay pellets instead). This spring, I started giving it to them again, but since they are on a drylot, I wanted them to have something to munch on throughout the day. So I created this....



Sorry it's a bit blurry, I took the pic with my cell phone. I bought the feeder for around $50, and added the metal fencing inside of it myself. This way, they can't get their mouths in there to pull out mouthfuls. They can only pick at the strands they can get too. It takes both of them anywhere from 2-4 hours to finish one flake. It has completely cut down on all their boredom, and they no longer eat the wood, or each other's tails. I couldn't be happier.


I feed Orchard, so I can't help with the Bermuda question. I just thought I'd share a way to slow them down while eating hay.
 

Margo_C-T

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Some excellent responses so far, Lisa! I especially like the concept of making it so that the horses are 'forced' to eat more slowly. (Google something along the lines of 'hay feeders to slow eating'; I came across a link *somewhere* (can't recall where) about someone who designed several versions of just such hay feeders. I thought I saved it, but can't find it....it was from somewhere overseas, but the principle is very sound...basically, VERY small but secure openings so that the horse literally CAN'T pull out but a few strands at time. I have thought for YEARS that this would work; did some looking for 2"X 2" opening HD wire mesh w/ no luck; just haven't tried again, but intend to, as I think it is one of the BEST answers to extend their eating time and keep them happier throughout the intervals between feedings!

I fed only alfalfa most of my 'horsekeeping' life, including the first several years I had minis. As you did, I realized that if I gave them enough alfalfa to 'satisfy' their need to 'graze', they'd have been grossly obese! They clean up a proper ration of alfalfa in RECORD time, then need something to'do with' their chewing instincts--and that's when trouble begins!

That's when I began buying grass hay, and feeding both kinds. It has been hard to find reliable sources here, also...I've had SEVERAL different sources over the past 18-20 years--just when I got a good source, something would happen so that I couldn't count on it anymore!! At one time we went as far as Taos to pick it up; my husband would make TWO trips to haul what I needed! Recently, I've just had to buy it from the area feed dealers, AND haul and stack it myself.

Grass hay is uniformly higher priced than alfalfa, here---no matter what the type. I had to feed bermuda a time or two, but only to my 'big' mare. I don't care for it, honestly, though I HAVE seen some that was way better than others.

If it's all you can get, examine the quality...does it have a least SOME 'color'? Is it weed and mold free, and NOT dusty(I found that a serious issue...being over dry and full of 'dirt'!) If the blades/stems are REALLY long, to me that means it was overmature when cut--and, I'd consider it more of a 'hazard' to feed, to minis, at least.

I'd be surprised to find bermuda 'overly high' in protein? It is more likely to be early-cut alfalfa, around here at least, that would have that issue. For good info, go to www.safergrass.org(or maybe, .com--not sure)--but it is an EXCELLENT source of info about grasses and hay made from grasses.

If you use it, introduce VERY slowly. You could easily 'rinse', or even soak, the bermuda-- nevermind the protein thing-to 'soften' it, add some 'built-in' moisture, and maybe make it easier to eat.

The highest protein grass hay is 'usually' timothy, but of course, SO much depends on a variety of things about the growing conditions that there can be no 'hard and fast' answers...

I personally like a mainly orchard grass mix, but the main thing is the overall QUALITY of the hay!

Good luck!

Margo
 

HGFarm

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I live in AZ and feed alfalfa. The bermuda we have access to is used for bedding! It is not cut at the right time, and is not much more than 'filler'. I have seen many Minis here fed just grass, and they have no meat over their toplines and big pot bellies, and their coats are rough and look awful.

I think a combo of some of each would be nice, if you can get good grass hay. Mine hate it. And yes, the bermuda here comes in the big 3 wire bales like the alfalfa, and it costs more than the alfalfa! I just dont get that.

If I was going to feed grass hay, I would try to look for a good orchard mix or something else- I just hate the bermuda we have here.

I dont know that one hay or the other is going to make a horse more prone to impaction when there may be other issues involved as to why they impacted. I had a mare many years ago get impacted on PELLETS and about lost her. We dont know why she did, she just did. Horse has never been sick since (I still know where she is) and it's been years, but she does not get pellets any more either.

I am sure I am not much help, but if your horses are too fat, I would increase excercise or just cut down on feed some. Mine get fed twice a day and do fine on that.
 

REO

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We've fed Bermuda grass hay to our minis for 15 years, and our big horses before that. Pretty much free choice.
 

disneyhorse

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I have known two horses that will consistently colic if fed Bermuda grass, so I think some horses ARE sensitive but not the MAJORITY of horses.

I have always fed my horses Bermuda grass along with a richer hay such as alfalfa. The richer hay adds some protein and the Bermuda adds some graze time as they don't prefer it to the other hays and will eat it more slowly. It is more of a "filler" nutritionally and horses don't tend to look great if fed straight bermuda.

I think the "problem" with Bermuda is that it is very FINE stemmed and that causes the impactions. It can be constipating so is good for horses with loose stool. It must be added slowly to the diet to prevent impactions. I like to feed it in addition to alfalfa (which is a laxative) for these reasons. The coarser stem of other hays helps prevent the bermuda from impacting. I don't think it is the LENGTH of the hay, personally, I think it's the fineness.

Andrea
 

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