Grass or hay?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Chester, Dec 31, 2011.

  1. Chester

    Chester Senior Member+

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    I have noticed that our horses get fatter on grass than hay. Odd. Hay is generally really just dried grass.

    Pago especially. He can have 24/7 hay and still stays leanish. Put him in a good grass paddock and he goes rather round.

    Dizzy gets fatter on grass than hay.

    The hay is good grass hay. Made from the same grass they would be on in a paddock.

    Any ideas why? Could they actually eat more grass because it tastes better?
     






  2. My Bida Booger

    My Bida Booger Senior Member+

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    I think so
     
  3. Chester

    Chester Senior Member+

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    It is the only reason I can think of. I wish I had more good grass. Not only would my hay bill be less but the boys would be fatter.
     
  4. chic_victorian

    chic_victorian Senior Member

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    My horses get both, however with winter coming I just add extra hay, and in summer I take away hay. But would rather them grazing on grass or hay then eating a bunch a feed.
     
  5. Dawn

    Dawn Senior Member+

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    There are nutrients in the grass that rapidly deplete from hay. I also believe that, if the grazing is available, horses will generally eat larger amounts of pasture free choice than when provided with free choice hay. Grass that's eaten is also typically at an earlier stage of growth than when grass is cut for hay. And a higher % of the grass taken in is closer to the root than when it's cut for hay (because it's longer). So there are a variety of reasons why grass puts weight on better than hay.

    One advantage to hay though is that more of it 'can' be eaten in a 24 hour period than grass because of the dry matter content. Hay is typically in the 90-93% dry matter range, while grass is typically only 25-35% dry matter. Grass takes less chew time though, so lots of different factors coming into play.
     
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  6. Equine747

    Equine747 Senior Member+

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    That is why it is actually called a grass belly, the horse has to eat much more grass to get the same amount of dry matter that they would get from hay.
     
  7. Chester

    Chester Senior Member+

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    Thanks Dawn. I am glad I was not just imagining things and there is a real reason. :)
     
  8. farmeress

    farmeress Banned

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    Grass is also easier digested by the horse due to the natuaral moisture count than dried hay...it is also this moisture that helps with the protein counts....older grasses lose moisture and are not as "fattening" as younger grasses....kinda like what dawn mentioned.:D
     
  9. falala

    falala Senior Member

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    Mine gets both. Hay inside and grass outside plus extra hay outside in the winter.
     
  10. Eugene Cassels

    Eugene Cassels Senior Member+

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    I think the main reason is that grass has a higher sugar content than hay and when grass is cut for hay the sugar turns to starch like in corn .
     






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