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Discussion on Alfalfa pellets - safe amount?

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Caryn Carlone
New Member
Username: caryn

Post Number: 1
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 12:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi,
I have read the article Equine Nutition and Overview of Feeding Horses and am confused on one issue. In the article, it states that alfalfa "can" be considered a concentrate. The article also advises that concentrates should not be fed in excess of 4.5 lbs. per 1,000 lbs. of body weight in one feeding session. So, does the concentrate rule apply to alfalfa pellets, which is also considered a forage?

I have been giving my mare 5 lbs. of afalfa pellets once a day as a supplement to the roughly 15 lbs. of Timothy that my boarding facility provides. I was considering increasing it because she is looking a little thin. Unfortunately, I cannot get to the ranch twice a day for supplementing. If it is safe to feed more than 4.5 lbs of alfalfa pellets at one meal? If so, how much is too much?

Thank You,
Caryn
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 17686
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 5:26 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Welcome Caryn,
You don't quote the article completely which changes the meaning of the sentences:
The amount of grain based concentrates should be restricted to less than 4.5 lbs. /1000lbs bodyweight per feeding.

And concerning the alfalfa statement:
Alfalfa, though a forage at 20% fiber, can be considered a concentrate. Then it goes on the explain it mainly is a protein concentrate.

On the other hand I would not consider pelleted feeds as a forage Caryn. The problem is the processing reduces the size and consistency of the fibers so that it loses some of the benefits that a forage does to the horses diet. I don't know of a limit on the amount of alfalfa pellets that can be fed at one time but divided feedings are always best when possible.
DrO
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Cynthia L Spanhel
Member
Username: cspanhel

Post Number: 13
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 12:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I emailed an alfalfa pellet producer with a similar question a couple of years ago...After consulting their nutritionist, this is the response they sent..hope this helps.

============================

He [nutritionish] says that 7 pounds of dehy [dehydrated alfalfa pellets] will replace the nutrition provided by 10 Lb of good quality alfafla hay. The problem is that the
horses will consume more pellets than hay if given the opportunity, i.e. it takes 12 lb. of pellets to make the horse fell as full as 10 lb. of hay. So, you can not just dump it out or the most aggressive horse will eat too much
and the other horse will not eat enough. Feeding the 7 lb. of pellets will take more supervision than feeding 10 lb. of hay.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 1784
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 12:33 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Also, as someone else has mentioned before, some horses choke on the alfalfa pellets. We have a QH mare who has choked on the pellets three separate times . . . but when I wet them down, she doesn't choke on them. I don't know if it is because they are bigger pellets than the pelleted feed she gets, or if she just bolts them down . . . but as long as I pour some hot water on them, just enough to moisten them, she does fine.
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Caryn Carlone
New Member
Username: caryn

Post Number: 2
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the clarification Dr. O, I felt like I was missing something and I was.

I've decided to divide the feeding of alf pellets, but they will only be a couple of hours apart due to time constraints. Unfortunately, I cannot pop into the ranch and feed her lunch earlier in the day.
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Caryn Carlone
New Member
Username: caryn

Post Number: 3
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 - 9:40 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the info. Holly and Cynthia. I feed Ally her pellets in a portions and isolation. She lives in a pasture with other horses, so I pull her and put her by herself with her supplements. She eats quite slowly and I've never had a problem with her choking, so I think the pellets are pretty safe for her. I do have a little mustang that eats any pelleted food really quickly and the possibility of choke worries me. I think I'll wet her grass pellets down, just in case.
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