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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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Re: Alfalfa hay

Hi Patty,

Alfalfa is a good source of protein and boosts the overall quality of protein in the diet when added to a grass hay. But, it should not be fed at more than 50% of the hay ration. Too much can lead to enteroliths (intestinal stones), as well as weight gain because it is higher in calories due to the added protein.

If your hay has more than half alfalfa, see if you can feed different hays at different feedings. And if you only offer hay three times a day, be sure that the amount fed is large enough to last them all day and all night. I only feed my horses hay once a day, for example, but I give them enough to where they never run out, not even for a few minutes. This is the way a horse is designed to eat -- grazing all the time on small amounts. If they run out, they tend to eat very quickly and can colic. They can also develop ulcers since stomach acid is always secreted, even when empty.

Please keep me posted.

All the best,

Dr. Getty
Author of Feed Your Horse Like A Horse

Hi Dr Getty,
I have been feeding horses at my boarding barn either TA or OA with usually no more than 20-30% alfalfa content. Recently I had to change hay dealers and the options are limited especially with the increase cost of hay. I tried the grass hay at the local feed store which contains no alfalfa. The horses love it but the flakes are very light and bales are small so I am using much more to feed horses properly. We have always fed hay 5 times daily where most barn only do 3 times a day. Several of the local people told me about another hay supplier with great hay so I am trying that hay but it is very high in alfalfa. How safe is the alfalfa to feed and what quantity would be comparable to the grass hays. I am concerned about excess protein feeding a richer hay so often and in same quantity. My boarders are complaining that we are not going to do 5 hay feedings and I can't seem to explain the hay differences adequately. They feel they pay for 5x daily and want 5x daily. What do you suggest?

Where are you from? Waverly, Ohio