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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. 

Currently, I am discontinuing new questions. This may change in the future, but in the meantime, please know that It has been a true pleasure serving you. 

Take a look at my Nutrition Library and Tips of the Month for a variety of answers on selected topics. Be sure to sign up for my monthly e-newsletter, Forage for Thought

I also have a growing number of recordings on "Teleseminars on Nutrition Topics that Concern You" as well as the new, Spotlight on Equine Nutrition Series -- printed versions of favorite teleseminars.

And finally, look for my articles in a variety of local publications and online newsletters, as well as the Horse Journal, where I am the Contributing Nutrition Editor.  


All the best,

 Dr. Getty 


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

Hi Dr. Getty!

With winter in full swing now this is something I've been wondering about. I know a good way to keep your horse warm at night when the temps drop is to feed additional hay. The question I have is there a particular type of hay that will make a horse more warm than another? A friend told me a while back that alfalfa will keep a horse more comfortably warm at night than bermuda or other grass hays. Someone else told me that it doesn't matter what kind of hay you feed (legume or grass)it will all keep them warm. What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you!!!!!

Where are you from? California

Re: hay for warmth

Hi Angel,

Any type of hay will produce body heat as a result of its fermentation in the hind gut. Feeding alfalfa provides additional protein, but that is digested in the small intestine. What reaches the hind gut (large intestine and cecum) is the fibrous portion and that's what gets fermented. So, both types of hay provide fiber and lots of it.

Having said that, it's a good idea in most cases, to feed some alfalfa (either as hay, cubes, or pellets) to balance out the protein quality in the diet.

But, there is no need to offer more alfalfa in cold weather. The key is to offer grass hay at all times -- that's 24/7.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO