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  1. #1
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Default Perennial Ryegrass Hay - Is It Safe?

    I've heard that rye hay has to be slowly introduced but are there any other concerns about feeding it to horses? Also, how does it compare to other grass hays nutritionally?

    ETA - I'm pretty sure what we are dealing with here is perennial rather than annual ryegrass. Seedheads are forming on the grass. Does this mean that the risk of endophyte fungus is to great to feed this hay to horses.
    Last edited by EAY; May. 20, 2011 at 11:01 AM.



  2. #2
    roja.raou Guest

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    Yes, rye hay will be fine but it has a lower protein content than some other grass hays like timothy. If you aren't using your horses a lot (high performance) they should be fine.



  3. #3
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    Katy Watts calls it "candy hay", or maybe it was "Cap'n Crunch hay", I can't remember.

    Rye tends to be very, very high in sugars because it is fast growing and many varieties were developed to be fed to cattle.

    I wouldn't want it, but I have a lot of easy keepers and one pony who spends her life in search of laminitis. Hasn't found it yet, thank God, but that's not for lack of trying on her part!
    Click here before you buy.



  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    Katy Watts calls it "candy hay", or maybe it was "Cap'n Crunch hay", I can't remember.

    Rye tends to be very, very high in sugars because it is fast growing and many varieties were developed to be fed to cattle.

    I wouldn't want it, but I have a lot of easy keepers and one pony who spends her life in search of laminitis. Hasn't found it yet, thank God, but that's not for lack of trying on her part!
    That's good to know. Our barn has three ponies so I will make sure that if the BO gets some of it, we keep it away from them. On the other hand, I'm not certain I'm comfortable with taking the chance that someone else will feed it to them.



  5. #5

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    rye the small grain or rye the grass ???


    Tamara
    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tamara in TN View Post
    rye the small grain or rye the grass ???


    Tamara
    I want to say it's rye the grass. We are in Maryland, if that's any help. It is quick growing as deltwave mentioned.



  7. #7
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    You could always have the hay tested, which is far more likely to give you accurate information on YOUR hay than a standard assumption based on the species/type of hay.
    Click here before you buy.



  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by deltawave View Post
    You could always have the hay tested, which is far more likely to give you accurate information on YOUR hay than a standard assumption based on the species/type of hay.
    We do not have the hay at this point. It is growing on the farm and the BO is thinking of having some of it baled for use for our horses. She asked me my opinion as to whether or not it was good for horses. If we do keep some of it, having it tested at that time would be an option.

    From what I gather here it does not seem that it would be something I'm keen on for my horses - two show hunters, one of whom has a heavy training workload, and a pony who like yours has a tendency toward laminitis.



  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Do you have the option to buy a handful of bales and have those tested before committing to a larger load? Would the farmer submit to having the batch tested before buying?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2004
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    Cairo, Georgia
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    I wouldn't feed it if you gave it to me at this point as I've see to many personality changes in horses from both the fresh rye grass & also rye hay. Hate the stuff. Was to full of sugar/starches from what I've seen.
    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
    www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com



  11. #11
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    THere are three kinds of rye, perinneal (sp?) ryegrass which should not be fed to horses, annual ryegrass which is often plnted for spring and fall grazing and sometimes baled for hay, usually along with oats, and rye grain also sometimes planted for grazing in spring and fall before it gets too mature and then baled when more mature. I have no problem feeding annual ryegrass hay to most horses, but not IR horses. THe other two, no, I do not feed hay made from them. The rye grain hay tends to be too stalky for horses, better for cattle. If I am not mistaken, there is something either in or "on" the perinneal ryegrass which makes it not suitable for horses



  12. #12
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawneeAcres View Post
    THere are three kinds of rye, perinneal (sp?) ryegrass which should not be fed to horses, annual ryegrass which is often plnted for spring and fall grazing and sometimes baled for hay, usually along with oats, and rye grain also sometimes planted for grazing in spring and fall before it gets too mature and then baled when more mature. I have no problem feeding annual ryegrass hay to most horses, but not IR horses. THe other two, no, I do not feed hay made from them. The rye grain hay tends to be too stalky for horses, better for cattle. If I am not mistaken, there is something either in or "on" the perinneal ryegrass which makes it not suitable for horses
    I think I almost need to start a new thread. I'm pretty sure what we have is perennial ryegrass and as I've stated in my other related thread the horses are now grazing on the pasture where the hay is to be cut.

    My concern now after doing a little research is the potential for exposure to an endophyte toxin, as the BO is letting the ryegrass grow rather than mowing it as they usually do, so now seed heads are starting to form. My understanding is that the endophyte is most prevalent is either overgrazed pasture or in the seed heads of the ryegrass.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 19, 2009
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    I am currently feeding my horse Gulf (variety) ryegrass hay. I don't know if that is a perennial or annual. I do know it is not the type you make bread out of(lol), but the grass. We call it the "alfalfa of the south" due to it's nutient/energy quality. If this hay is cut mid-bloom, it is usually too sugary for horses, and is sold as cow hay, because it puts the weight on them. My hay guy waited and cut this hay until after the hay seeded completely out. Not quite as nutrient rich this way, but not nearly as sugary either. My horse IS eating it like candy, but I've been feeding it for two weeks now, no additional weight gain, and no digital pulses (I check everyday, twice a day). I am quite happy with it. I also feed a ration balancer along with it, and He is doing great. I am going to buy the rest of what my hay guy has left. If you have any concerns, take some scissors and cut some, and have it tested.



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