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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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Protein and Calcium

Dr. Getty, I have been searching to my question if a mature horse needs to have alfalfa when the grass hay is 10% protein and has adaquate levels of calcium. The horses are worked daily and sometimes at high intense work. I feed Utium and up the amounts when worked and hauled. I am being told that the horses need to have at least 30% alfalfa a day with the grass hay. Does the mature horse need alfalfa in this case?

Re: Protein and Calcium

Hi Kasey,

If you are feeding Ultium according to directions, then you do not need to add alfalfa. The purpose of adding alfalfa is to boost the overall protein quality of the diet. But, Ultium contains alfalfa, along with added amino acids to complement the grass hay that they are receiving.

For horses that only receive grass hay and/or pasture, it is advisable to add some alfalfa to the mix to provide additional amino acids. Alfalfa is a legume and as such, it boosts the overall protein quality consumed.

But, in your case, it is not likely that additional alfalfa is needed. If however, you are only feeding a small amount of Purina Ultium, you may want to consider alfalfa.

Thanks for writing,

Dr. Getty

Where are you from? Bayfield, CO