How Much Alfalfa Hay is It Safe to Feed a Horse?


Choosing the right diet for your horse is a big concern and a big part of your animal care budget. You want to choose wisely to ensure that your animal is healthy and that you are running a sustainable horse care budget as well. This short guide will help you better understand how much alfalfa hay is good for your horse. Keep reading to learn more.

Can You Feed a Horse Just Alfalfa?

Alfalfa is a high protein, high nutrient legume. Horse and livestock owners love Alfalfa because you can get a big nutritional bang for your buck, but is alfalfa hay good for horses?

It is important, however, to understand how Alfalfa can affect a horse, so that you can make well informed decisions about their diet.

Alfalfa has very high levels of protein. The protein content of Alfalfa is higher than many other types of grass or hay. This makes Alfalfa an important type of cash crop and an important type of feed for horses and livestock.

However, a high-protein, high-energy type of feed is not necessarily what every horse needs every day.

Alfalfa is mostly recommended daily for horses that struggle to put on and maintain weight. It is also recommended for horses that are in training for competition. Most equine vets will discourage the feeding of Alfalfa to healthy, fast growing young horses. This is because these types of animals usually have no problem getting all of the protein, nutrients, and vitamins they need from other less dense types of food.

Because of the high protein content, Alfalfa is also not recommended for animals with any type of kidney problem or liver problem. An unhealthy liver or kidney may not be able to process high levels of protein.

So, although you could feed the horse just Alfalfa, you should probably talk with your vet first to ensure that this would benefit the horse and not harm it in any way.

What Does Too Much Alfalfa Do to a Horse?

Because Alfalfa is so dense in protein, vitamins, and nutrients, it can cause an animal to gain weight too fast. This is especially true if the animal is not active enough to justify the extra calories.

Too much Alfalfa can also hurt a horse that has liver or kidney problems as well.

Ideal Amount to Feed Your Animal

Determining the ideal amount of Alfalfa to feed your horse can get tricky. Alfalfa works best as supplemental hay. Alfalfa can be added to regular grass hay to help your animal reach its recommended daily allowance of vitamins, nutrients, and protein.

The best way to determine this would be to talk in-depth with your vet. The vet will evaluate the horse’s age, weight, and activity level and then help you develop a diet for the animal.

The amount of Alfalfa your horse will need will be dependent on how many calories they are already getting from other less dense types of grass.

Because Alfalfa is also a premium type of feed, you can also customize and improve your horse care budget by using Alfalfa as a supplement and more inexpensive types of feed as the main food source.

What you feed a horse does matter, though. Horses have different nutritional needs at different stages of their lives. You should invest some thought and research into customizing a diet that will help your horse live a long and healthy life.

For more information on alfalfa hay and how much to feed a horse, contact us at David Woods Hay Service to learn more.