Results 1 to 10 of 10
Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By Cheryl D

Discuss Orchard Grass vs. Bermuda - option to free feed? at the Horse Health forum - Horse Forums.

When my boyfriend and I went up to Utah for the holidays, we were basically ...
  1. #1
    Full Member BuckskinDazzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Posts
    95

    Orchard Grass vs. Bermuda - option to free feed?

    When my boyfriend and I went up to Utah for the holidays, we were basically given six bales of orchard grass from his grandmother - a very generous gift considering the prices of hay where I live!

    From doing a wee bit of reading, it seems like it is in between bermuda and timothy as far as its nutrient profile? Is it typically a good quality hay to feed horses? I used to feed it to my rabbits, but since orchard grass is nearly impossible to get in AZ, I don't have much experience with it.

    Can it be free fed? Or is the only hay that should really be free fed going to be bermuda?

    Will I need to adjust how much ration balancer I am feeding if I add orchard grass to her diet? I fed her a bit of it, and she scarfed it right up. It gave her looser stools the first two days, and then everything went back to normal. I haven't increased the amount since - probably only a few pounds of it a day.
    *~ Dazzle ~*
    2007 15.3h 1015lb MFT/QH buckskin mare
    Apprenticing under PSR Stockdogs - ASCA Hall of Fame Excellent Kennel #25

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cheryl D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    S. California
    Posts
    560
    We feed orchard grass or orchard alfalfa here in S California. Every horse that has been on bermuda has had colic episodes so we don't trust it. It is the first question asked at the equine clinic when they get a horse in...Is this horse eating bermuda grass. Anywhoot...some horses take awhile to acquire a taste for it as it does take them a bit longer to eat it. My horse eats from a hay net so I don't know about free feeding it.
    Heaven Sent likes this.
    Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

  3. #3
    Full Member BuckskinDazzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Posts
    95
    Gotcha, thank you for sharing your experience with it. Is anyone else aware if it can be free fed?
    *~ Dazzle ~*
    2007 15.3h 1015lb MFT/QH buckskin mare
    Apprenticing under PSR Stockdogs - ASCA Hall of Fame Excellent Kennel #25

  4. #4
    Senior Member+
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    960
    I feed a combination of Bermuda and Orchard. I have never had any issues. I can't free feed anything cuz I have air ferns!

  5. #5
    Senior Member+
    lhoward's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    SE Alabama
    Posts
    767
    There are a great many different bermuda grasses and hay. And most horses in the south east are on Bermuda.
    There is Coastal Bermuda, Alicia, Tifton 85, Tifton 9, Tifton 44, Bahia etc. They are all versions of Bermuda hay.
    Alicia is the kind that is usually VERY fine (and green) which is what you should stay away from. I feed coastal Bermuda or Tifton 85and make sure that the hay is not fine, but not stalky either, dust and mold free, smells sweet.
    I've seen horrible looking Timothy.
    I think you have to make sure its GOOD hay, whichever kind it is...
    My favorite would be GOOD Timothy, but its almost impossible to get here ($28 for square bale and up, not greatest quality either). So I make sure I CAREFULLY pick my bermuda hay.
    "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

  6. #6
    Full Member BuckskinDazzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Prescott Valley, AZ
    Posts
    95
    We are paying about that much for timothy here in AZ. A lot of times we get great looking and smelling timothy (haven't had it analyzed, though) but this last cut looks more like straw. It's $26.95 for a 3-wire bale regardless. Hence, why I don't feed it. Maybe I will take a picture of my orchard hay. When it doubt on HGS, take a picture lol. I am learning a ton from these picture tutorials.

    I never knew there were so many types of Bermuda! I haven't a clue what kind ours is. No one has ever asked. Now I'm curious. Most people in AZ honestly have their horses on straight alfalfa, which horrifies me usually. It's the cheapest hay you can get here at $17.95/bale.
    *~ Dazzle ~*
    2007 15.3h 1015lb MFT/QH buckskin mare
    Apprenticing under PSR Stockdogs - ASCA Hall of Fame Excellent Kennel #25

  7. #7
    Senior Member Cheryl D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    S. California
    Posts
    560
    Orchard hay is usually good hay. I rarely get a bad bale here in S. California. Now the Orchard/Alfalfa mixes can vary depending on the time of year. Yes, our bermuda in the West is not the best. Other states don't have the problems we do because of the type of bermuda they have. The only horse on it at our stables (out of 35) is an HYPP positive horse and she eats every meal out of a hay bag. Alfalfa is a widely used hay here too. Our hay right now runs 17.95-22.95 for alfalfa (grade changes price) 24.95 for orchard/alf and 23.95 for straight orchard. Bermuda is somewhere in between. Used to be bermuda was pretty cheap and people were willing to risk a colic but not anymore. All the hay has gone up unbelievably. I think if you free feed orchard it would be no different than free feeding any other type of grass hay...but may last longer cuz it's harder for them to eat...typically can't be bolted due to the coarse texture. You may not get a definitive answer as orchard isn't as widely used as other types of hay.
    Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

  8. #8
    Senior Member+
    JBandRio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    63,492
    Blog Entries
    12
    good OG is a very, very nice hay And as long as you don't have horses sensitive to sugars, or get fat, then absolutely you can free feed it.

    My usual hay farmer grows nothing but OG (though some fescue creeps in, it's just the way of things), and I put it out basically free choice in the Winter.
    He who thinks he can do everything or knows everything has already reached the beginning of the end.
    -- The Rothenberger Family


    Barn Swallow Jewelry on Artfire!

  9. #9
    Senior Member+

    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southcentral Kansas
    Posts
    11,009
    As with any hay, it depends on the area where it is grown, weather conditions, stage of growth when it was swathed and baled, and if was propeerly cured before baling. We don't have orchard grass here, but our prairie hay would be comparable.......some years it is excellent, other years it is not worth the fuel to haul it to the barn. IME, most grass hays can be feed free-choice unless the horse is an air-fern or has metabolic problems. Even though we raised alfalfa for years, and my SIL does now, I have never fed it free-choice.....for some horses, alfalfa causes them to become hot and being more nutrient dense than grass hay, our horses tend to become a little more pleasantly plump than I would like if I do not limit feed it.
    ....I'm sorry to say you are setting yourself up for total failure trying to keep this lot on topic --Maisie
    "I'd say you nailed it! Interesting truly how LITTLE is needed eh?" Rhythm and Blues

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    950
    I free feed Orchard in large hole hay nets to my hard keepers. Never had a problem.

Similar Threads

  1. Orchard grass vs Timothy vs Alfalfa??
    By jmjarabians in forum Horse Health
    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 06-11-2009, 04:23 PM
  2. Hay anyone, orchard grass/timothy mix, ohio
    By TESS030404 in forum Horse Chat
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-19-2008, 09:15 PM
  3. A switch from alfalfa/timothy hay to grass hay?
    By SweetIron in forum Horse Health
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-20-2007, 01:11 PM
  4. how to free lunge your horse
    By hossluva in forum Horse Training
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 07-01-2004, 11:55 AM
  5. Lease with an option to buy
    By RubySlipper in forum Horse Chat
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 10-14-2003, 06:21 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •