Return to Website

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
This Forum is Locked
Rye hay vs Timothy hay

Hi Dr. Getty,

I just have a concern about Rye hay. To make a long story short, where I keep my horse the barn manager is switching over to Rye hay from Timothy hay because it is cheaper here in the south. My concern is I have never fed my horse Rye hay. My mare is now sixteen years of age, I have always fed her Timothy/orchard grass mix twice a day along with 1/2 a scoop of Purina Stadegy pellets. The switching of the hay is going to be an abrupt change to the horses, in which is not ok with me. I just wanted to know your opinion on all of this as I am starting to wonder about the well being of my horse at this boarding facility. All comments welcome.

Thank you!



Where are you from? Georgia

How did you locate this forum? Search engine

Re: Rye hay vs Timothy hay

Hi Shawnee,

Thank you for writing. You are wise to be concerned about this change for two reasons. First, any abrupt change can be problematic for horses. So, to ease the change for the bacterial flora that live in the hind, I would add Ration Plus to the diet. This is a prebiotic and will boost the health of the microbes.

But, the second concern is the most critical because Rye is a cereal grain and therefore, is much higher in starch and sugar than the grass hays you were feeding. Horses, as they age, become more prone toward developing conditions (e.g., Cushings and insulin resistance) where their starch levels should be monitored. So, feeding exclusively rye hay would not be advisable, in my opinion. If you can provide a grass hay (such as timothy, orchard, or bermuda) to the mix, that would be more favorable.

All the best,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO