Slow Feed Tip - Feed Grass Hays & Alfalfa Separately
Warm season grass hays such as Bermuda/Coastal, Teff and Tiffany are typically less palatable than alfalfa and cool season grasses such as Timothy, Orchard and Rye. In addition, very mature plants tend to contain large amounts of indigestible fiber and tend to be even less palatable; naturally slowing consumption rates. Review A Safer Always Have Hay Source – Mature Grass Hay to learn more.
If your companions do not have forage available 24/7, try a mature warm season grass hay if available or mature cool season grass in an effective slow feeder such as a bale net or multiple slow feed hay bags as an always have hay source. See our article Healthy Gradual Weight Loss for Horses vs. Fasting & Forage Restriction for more details.
Can alfalfa be slow fed successfully?
Yes (to some degree) and no! Grass hay is optimum for slow feeding because of the much longer stem/leave length. Alfalfa can be challenging to slow feed due to tightly packed flakes, short stems and small leaves. Horses tend to be far more anxious to eat it as quickly as possible due to its high palatability, which can easily result in frustration.
If you are feeding limited amounts of alfalfa in addition to grass hay, it’s not worth the hassle. We recommend feeding it loose in a tub or trough.
Helpful How-to Resources for Slow Feeding
- Sand Colic - The Surprising (Simple) Cure & Prevention
- Can Horses Eat More Hay Without Weight Gain? The Surprising Factors
- How to Introduce & Incorporate Free-Choice Forage: A Detailed Action Plan
- Slow Feed Solutions for Any Environment
- 6 Great Reasons to Feed Your Horse from Ground Level
- 9 Benefits of Slow Feeding Horses
- 7 Slow Feed Dos and Dont's for Horses
- 7 Easy Ways to Help Prevent Colic
- Never Exercise Horses on an Empty Stomach...Ever!
- Why Most Horse Prefer to Eat Outside