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Discuss Grass or hay? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

I have noticed that our horses get fatter on grass than hay. Odd. Hay is ...
  1. #1
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    Question Grass or hay?

    I have noticed that our horses get fatter on grass than hay. Odd. Hay is generally really just dried grass.

    Pago especially. He can have 24/7 hay and still stays leanish. Put him in a good grass paddock and he goes rather round.

    Dizzy gets fatter on grass than hay.

    The hay is good grass hay. Made from the same grass they would be on in a paddock.

    Any ideas why? Could they actually eat more grass because it tastes better?
    "If your brain was elastic you wouldn't have enough to make a garter for a canary" (Prisoner, an Aussie tv show)

    "It's probably the worst idea since Hitler's dad said to Hitler's mum 'come up stairs Brunhilda-I'm feeling saucy tonight!'"

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    Senior Member+ My Bida Booger's Avatar
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    Could they actually eat more grass because it tastes better?
    I think so
    Even though you've been bucked, kicked, bit, & stomped NEVER GIVE UP!
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Bida Booger View Post
    I think so
    It is the only reason I can think of. I wish I had more good grass. Not only would my hay bill be less but the boys would be fatter.
    "If your brain was elastic you wouldn't have enough to make a garter for a canary" (Prisoner, an Aussie tv show)

    "It's probably the worst idea since Hitler's dad said to Hitler's mum 'come up stairs Brunhilda-I'm feeling saucy tonight!'"

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    Senior Member chic_victorian's Avatar
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    My horses get both, however with winter coming I just add extra hay, and in summer I take away hay. But would rather them grazing on grass or hay then eating a bunch a feed.


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    There are nutrients in the grass that rapidly deplete from hay. I also believe that, if the grazing is available, horses will generally eat larger amounts of pasture free choice than when provided with free choice hay. Grass that's eaten is also typically at an earlier stage of growth than when grass is cut for hay. And a higher % of the grass taken in is closer to the root than when it's cut for hay (because it's longer). So there are a variety of reasons why grass puts weight on better than hay.

    One advantage to hay though is that more of it 'can' be eaten in a 24 hour period than grass because of the dry matter content. Hay is typically in the 90-93% dry matter range, while grass is typically only 25-35% dry matter. Grass takes less chew time though, so lots of different factors coming into play.
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    Senior Member+ Equine747's Avatar
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    That is why it is actually called a grass belly, the horse has to eat much more grass to get the same amount of dry matter that they would get from hay.
    "It can be - done quickly , done inexpensively, or done correctly... Pick any two." [/CENTER]

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn View Post
    There are nutrients in the grass that rapidly deplete from hay. I also believe that, if the grazing is available, horses will generally eat larger amounts of pasture free choice than when provided with free choice hay. Grass that's eaten is also typically at an earlier stage of growth than when grass is cut for hay. And a higher % of the grass taken in is closer to the root than when it's cut for hay (because it's longer). So there are a variety of reasons why grass puts weight on better than hay.

    One advantage to hay though is that more of it 'can' be eaten in a 24 hour period than grass because of the dry matter content. Hay is typically in the 90-93% dry matter range, while grass is typically only 25-35% dry matter. Grass takes less chew time though, so lots of different factors coming into play.
    Thanks Dawn. I am glad I was not just imagining things and there is a real reason.
    "If your brain was elastic you wouldn't have enough to make a garter for a canary" (Prisoner, an Aussie tv show)

    "It's probably the worst idea since Hitler's dad said to Hitler's mum 'come up stairs Brunhilda-I'm feeling saucy tonight!'"

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    Grass is also easier digested by the horse due to the natuaral moisture count than dried hay...it is also this moisture that helps with the protein counts....older grasses lose moisture and are not as "fattening" as younger grasses....kinda like what dawn mentioned.

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    Senior Member falala's Avatar
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    Mine gets both. Hay inside and grass outside plus extra hay outside in the winter.

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    I think the main reason is that grass has a higher sugar content than hay and when grass is cut for hay the sugar turns to starch like in corn .

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