Hay Quality for Horses

Why should horse owners be concerned about hay quality for their horses? Horses need to be fed at least one percent of their body weight daily (dry matter) as forage. Most horses are fed more than that — many receive two or more percent of their body weight per day in grass or hay (on a dry matter basis). This means that a 1000-pound horse may easily eat 15-20 pounds of hay per day, along with 3–6 pounds of a concentrate ration. When problems occur that may relate to nutrition, horse owners usually look at the concentrate portion of the diet. However, when the vast majority of the horse’s diet is hay or grass, we also need to pay attention to the important role that forage plays in the horse’s total nutrient status. The quality of the hay greatly dictates the nutritional value.

Click here to learn more about the factors that impact hay quality and what to do when good quality hay is scare.

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