About Buying Hay

The most important factor to consider when purchasing hay is the kind of animal you will be feeding. Horses generally need better quality hay than cattle, as they cannot tolerate much dust or mold. Don’t let color be your only guide. Look at the leaf and stem, and don’t forget, smell the hay! When the sun hits the outside of a bale of hay, it will turn the outside half inch of the bale yellow. This does NOTaffect the quality of the rest of the bale. Inside that bale, the hay still is good.Buy from a reputable grower. We don’t recommend that you “experiment” when feeding your valuable animals. Be a responsible consumer. Look the hay over and feel free to ask questions. Don’t look for bargains and quality at the same time! Hay is usually priced pretty consistently within the region. Remember, you get what you pay for.We will always have hay for sale year in and year out.

Nutrition Needs of Horses

Horses eat to meet their energy needs. They also eat to meet a level of gut fill, required for digestive tract and microbe health. Horses whose energy needs are met with feeds of insufficient bulk (too energy dense) will continue to seek food to fill their digestive tract.

The average horse will eat about 2% of its body weight daily of dry feed. A horse that weighs 1100 lbs. (average 15 hand Quarter Horse) will eat about 22 lbs. of hay each day. This is about 1 bale every 4 or 5 days.

Horses need a forage based ration. At least 50% of the ration must be consumed as forage each day. This is important for gut fill, for nutrition and health of large intestine microbes, as a reservoir of water in the body, and to maintain digestive tract pH.

Horses cannot tolerate large amounts of soluble carbohydrate (grain) in their diet. Grains reaching the large intestine will be fermented rapidly by microbes, leading to massive acid production, decreased pH, microbial death, toxin production, and possible, endotoxemia, colic and laminitis. The high nutrient requirements of working, lactating and growing horses require that a substantial nutritional requirement be met by good quality forage.