What type of hay do I need?

Lissie

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Jan 18, 2016
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Anyone know anything about hay?

I need some hay for Lottie as she has enough energy without haylage. Options are second cut seed hay, meadow hay or seed hay cut later, hay man says won't have as much sugar in it. I need the least calorie/sugar one.

The second cut seed hay is lovely but is seed hay quite high in nutritional value? Would I better off with the meadow grass, I could have the late cut stuff but worried as he's said it's brown and not as sweet smelling she might not eat it.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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I used to buy meadow hay and always thought it wasn't that calorific. Tbh ours got bored with it:rolleyes:
Yorkshire hay is the best. It used to be clean and lovely and never ever sent them loopy. Seed hay I had for Joe years ago and although very nutritional (apparently this is what I was told) he soon rejected it in favour of meadow. Hmm. Sorry not much help!
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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It kind of depends what seed they used for the seed hay, if its a rye grass ley (that's the norm) that is likely to be quite high to very high in sugars (most haylage is made from rye too but the sugars are consumed as part of the fermentation process so that tends to be lower sugar than hay made off the same field. Rye has been measured up to 30% sugar when fresh, compared to 10% in many native grasses. Late cut is normally lower in sugars but if it is very seedy then it can be quite high in starches (as seed are grains).

Meadow is generally an old mixed native ley, so is generally lower sugar and has a wider nutritional base so is better if you aren't feeding lots of compound feed.

The sure fire way is to test it for sugar quantities, D&H http://www.dodsonandhorrell.com/forage-analysis do a reasonably priced service for basic testing, if you want full nutrient analysis then its more like 50-60 quid from forageplus. Its only worth testing if you have a reasonably stable supply of hay.

ETA, Jess is very sensitive and a pig, I won't touch anything with Rye in it, 2nd or late cut or what ever, I'd prefer late cut meadow :)
 

Lissie

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Thanks @Jessey I went for the meadow hay, here's hoping she eats it after having lovely haylage the past few days. The seed hay was cut about June so the hay guy said it would have quite a bit more sugar in than the meadow hay. She is turbo charged enough so I don't want to be feeding her anything with sugars in as I could go out for a hack and next seen in the next county and she'd still be going :p
 

Jessey

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Jess is still refusing to eat as much hay as normal after a haylage trial for a week, and its the hay she went nuts for 2 weeks ago :rolleyes:
 

Lissie

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@Jessey Yes I think that will be Lottie tonight, she will turn her nose up! Will persevere though as the haylage is really good stuff, too good for her really.
 
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Lemme

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May 22, 2008
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We use meadow hay and generally its 2 years old - our hay supplied keeps us some back - not much in it, bulk rather than quality, its not generally dusty if stored well, if the odd bale is then we soak it.
 

Taffie

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Traditional meadow hay is ryegrass-free and the later it is cut, the lower the sugars and higher the fibre/protein. It should have at least 3 legumes in it out of: red clover, white clover, bird’s foot trefoil, lesser trefoil, greater trefoil, hop trefoil, black medick, meadow vetchling, tufted vetch; depending on type and where in the country you are. Grasses should include Crested Dogstail, Red Fescue, Smooth-stalked Meadowgrass, Sweet Vernal grass; but often include Yorkshire Fog, which has rubbish value or palatability. Newer horse leys tend to include Timothy and some ryegrass cultivars, but I would avoid them unless you have TBs or other poor-doers.
Traditional UK livestock breeds need traditional (old meadow or rough) hay or grazing, any richer and there can be trouble. This goes for cattle, sheep, horses. Sadly, in most of the UK our old meadows are continually being lost to agricultural improvement and intensive farming and it is increasingly difficult to source appropriate hay for horses. Haylage isn’t appropriate generally. It’s like giving your kids Macdonalds every day. They love it and put loads of weight on but it ain’t healthy.
 
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