Feeding Your Horse
Giant Bermuda (excerpt from www.hayusa.net)
There are many types of Bermuda grasses. All of them originated in Africa with Giant Bermuda being high on the feeding scale in regards to digestibility.
How to recognize Bermuda hay – Giant Bermuda blades are grey-green in color. The erect stems can grow 10 to 35 inches tall. The stems are slightly flattened, often tinged purple in color. The seed heads are produced in a cluster of 3-7 spikes (rarely 2) together at the top of the stem, each spike 2 inches long. It has a deep root system. In winter the grass becomes dormant and turns brown. Growth is promoted by full sun & retarded by full shade.
Coastal Bermuda can cause impaction. Coastal hay is excellent pasture feed. It has a tendency to be ropy if baled mature and this can cause impaction. It is considered empty calories if not cut young and fertilized properly.
The Cuttings and Harvesting: Giant Bermuda Hay is nutritious when cut and baled for horses with proper management and fertilizer program. Giant Bermuda is usually cut and baled for horses on a consistent monthly cycle. A swather cuts the grass and arranges it in windrows. After the grass has dried, a tractor pulling a baler collects the hay into bales. In most climates, Bermuda is cut three to four times a year but is harvested up to 6 to 8 times per year in Southern California. Yields vary with region, weather, and the crop’s stage of maturity and fertilizer management.
Bale sizes: There are several types of bales commonly used for Bermuda hay. For small animals and individual horses, the Bermuda is baled into small “square” bales — actually rectangular, and typically about 14 in x 18 in x 38 in. Small square bales weigh from 50 – 70 pounds and can be easily hand separated into “flakes.” Cattle ranches use large round bales, typically 4 to 6 feet in diameter and weighing from 1000 to 2000 lb.
Giant Bermuda is Recommended: We often recommend Giant Bermuda in conjunction with alfalfa for back yard horses and horses in training programs. Giant Bermuda hay is excellent for foundered and obese horses. Giant Bermuda hay is a good choice for horses that require a low protein and calcium diet, and it is a good choice for ponies and donkeys. We recommend Giant Bermuda hay for horses that are confined to a stable and have created bad habits as a keep busy hay.
Bermuda hay is not recommended for:
Horses that are impaction prone and are underweight.
Horses are pasture animals. Their normal activities include grazing anywhere from 10-15 hours a day, Problems can arise in horses that are confined to stalls for long periods of time.
• Kicking: Stabled horses may resort to kicking due to boredom or hunger. Horses that learn to kick can quickly destroy your stable. One way to decrease this kicking behavior is free feeding Giant Bermuda or Timothy hay on the ground so your horse can free-feed.
• Box walking: A horse will continuously walk around their stall in circles due to boredom. This causes damage to ligaments and joints. To decrease this behavior offer more turn out time. If your horse must be in a stall, we recommend free feeding Giant Bermuda or Timothy hay for additional chewing time & offer toys.
• Cribbing: Often caused by boredom, horses will set their incisors into a horizontal object, arch their neck and pull backwards, swallowing air. This causes a release of endorphins and can be very addictive. Cribbing can lead to weight loss, gastric colic, and excessive tooth wear. We recommend free feeding Giant Bermuda or Timothy because of the extended chewing time. It will help keep them busy.
The Advantages of Giant Bermuda Hay
Giant Bermuda hay is recommended by Veterinarians
Giant Bermuda hay is the perfect hay for the equine athlete
Giant Bermuda hay can be fed as a complete diet
Giant Bermuda hay is Blister beetle free
Giant Bermuda hay is more digestible than coastal bermuda hay and does not burn calories to digest.
Giant Bermuda hay is perfect for horses that are protein sensitive
Giant Bermuda hay can be free fed and help bad stall habits
Giant Bermuda hay is excellent for foundered horses
Giant Bermuda hay is excellent for horses that are obese
Giant Bermuda hay is excellent for horses that are allergic to legume hays
Feeding recommendations: When changing any horses diet we recommend consulting your veterinarian. Generally speaking, give 2.5% forage / feed per 100# of body total body weight per day. All horses have different needs, So, a 1,000 pound horse would have 25 pounds of hay. This varies greatly, depending on the amount of work the horse is asked to do, and on the type of hay that is fed. It is best to allow horses to eat free-choice hay throughout the day to promote the health of their digestive systems.
Horses need minerals. It is an excellent choice. Free feed loose minerals as their body requires.
Hay or grass
is the foundation of the diet for all grazing animals. Hay is usually fed to an animal in place of allowing the animal to graze on grasses in a pasture, particularly in the winter or during times when drought or other conditions make pasture unavailable.
Fruits and Vegetables for Horses
Ever wondered around the produce aisles at the grocery store wondering what else you could feed your horse as a treat instead of just carrots and apples? Well, here’s a list to simplify your feeding questions. Please remember to remove pits from fruits such as peaches and cherries as they are poisonous. And feed all foods in moderation, whether you have fed them to your horse before or not. It is better to feed them a very small portion than a large one. (excerpt from http://www.equinerecline.org)
~ Apples Peaches
~ Apricots Pears
~ Bananas Pineapple
~ Beets Plums
~ Blackberries Pumpkin
~ Blueberries Raisins
~ Carrots Rutabagas
~ Celery Squash
~ Cherries Strawberries
~ Coconut Sweet Potatoes
~ Corn Tangerine
~ Dates Turnips
~ Figs Watermelon (both rind and pulp)
~ Grapes Sprouts such as alfalfa, wheat, and barley
~ Tomatoes~ Any other members of the nightshade family which includes peppers
~ Broccoli or Cauliflower (may cause gas, which in turn may cause gas colic)
When in doubt, do NOT feed it!