Tack n' Talk

Online Equestrian Resource

HELLO WEEKEND: Changing hay

As horse owners, we often move our horses from one boarding facility to another often not thinking of how our horses will react to changes in diet.  This often never is even discussed.

horse forage

Sometimes, it is very difficult to maintain consistency in routine, but try and make the hay transistion as gradual as possible by keeping 2 weeks’ worth of hay.  Since hay makes up the majority of your horse’s diet, a sudden change in the hay can be problematic.  As horse owners, it is important to keep in mind that any sudden changes in diet including fresh pasture, can disrupt the gut and can result in colic, diarrhea, discomfort or laminitis.  As mentioned in previous posts, the energy and nutrient content in hay can vary dramatically.

As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately 3 weeks for the horse to adapt to dietary changes, thus making slow, gradual transitions over a 2 – 3 week period is important to prevent any GI upset.  When it isn’t possible to make a full 2 week transition, then allow for as much of a gradual change as possible, even if it is over 2 – 3 days.  Providing pre- and probiotics can also help support gut microbes through dietary changes especially if they are rapid.


1 Comment»

  aspireequestrian wrote @

Great subject. It’s tricky to keep on top of hay quality even when staying at one yard if owner changes hay provider for any reason or starts feeding hay from different field. Moving definitely creates even more challenges…

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