Hay is an essential part of a horse’s diet, providing them with a variety of vitamins, minerals and fiber. However, not all hay is created equal and some can be harmful to your horse. It is important to understand what types of hay are not good for horses and why, so you can make sure your horse is getting the best nutrition possible.
What to Look for in Quality Hay
When selecting hay for your horse, it is important to look for hay that is free of weeds, mold, dust and other contaminants. Hay should be a rich green color and have a sweet smell. The stems should be flexible and the hay should be free of large stems, which can be difficult for a horse to digest.
Moldy hay is one of the most common types of hay that is not suitable for horses. Mold can cause respiratory issues in horses, such as heaves, or recurrent airway obstruction, which can be life-threatening if not treated correctly. Moldy hay can also cause digestive issues, such as colic, which can be fatal if not treated immediately.
Weed hay is hay that contains weeds, such as foxtail, thistle, and burrs. These weeds can cause health problems for horses, such as skin irritations, digestive problems, and even colic. It is important to inspect hay for weeds before feeding it to your horse, as some of these weeds can be toxic.
Dusty hay is another type of hay that is not good for horses. Dusty hay can cause respiratory irritation and distress in horses, as well as allergies. Dusty hay is especially dangerous for horses with asthma or other respiratory conditions.
Stale hay is hay that has been stored for too long and has lost its nutrients. Stale hay is not only less nutritious than fresh hay, but it can also contain mold and bacteria that can be harmful to horses.
Grain hay is hay that has been contaminated with grains, such as oats, barley, and wheat. Grain hay can be difficult for horses to digest and can cause digestive issues, such as colic or diarrhea.
It is important to understand what types of hay are not good for horses and why, so you can make sure your horse is getting the best nutrition possible. Moldy hay, weed hay, dusty hay, stale hay, and grain hay are all types of hay that are not suitable for horses and can cause health problems. It is important to inspect hay for these contaminants before feeding it to your horse.