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Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition

   Welcome to my forum. 

Here you will find more than 6 years of questions and my answers. It is searchable and offers a great deal of information. 

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 Dr. Getty 


Ask the Nutritionist: Dr. Getty's Forum for Equine Nutrition
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Hi Dr. Getty,

What are the anti-nutritional factors in alfalfa?


Re: Alfalfa

Hello Nathan,

There really aren’t any, except that it is high in calcium and if you feed a supplement that is also high in calcium, you may be feeding too much of this mineral.

Alfalfa is high in protein and that’s a good thing. And, the protein content balances the protein profile in hays, to produce a high quality protein. The old research regarding high protein diets has been disputed over the years. We now know that protein does not cause laminitis, colic, or birth defects. Instead, the old mainstay of horse diets – oats – is causing a significant amount of problems for many horses since their digestive systems are not designed for large amounts of these carbohydrates.

The only caution I would offer is to make certain that your alfalfa hay is safe for horses. Check with your supplier and verify that the hay does not have blister beetles. These can be deadly for horses. But, if you have a reputable supplier, I highly recommend alfalfa. You can also feed alfalfa cubes and pellets, if alfalfa hay is not available in your area.

Thanks for bringing up this issue. It’s important to update the old myths with new research.

All the best,

Dr. Getty