How do you know what type of Chaff to feed your horse?
Here is a breakdown of the basic different types available and their attributes:
Also known as Alfalfa. High in protein and energy than grass or cereal hays and chaffs. Lucerne contains a lower level of starches and sugars than many grass hays.
Lucerne also contains high concentrations of minerals calcium and magnesium, and when fresh, the vitamins A and E. Lucerne is typically low in phosphorous and depending on where it was grown, contains varying concentrations of other minerals.
Can be a great feedstuff for working and training horses, eventing and performance. Older horses needing extra energy and injured or recovering horses, also growing horses = generally those requiring more energy and protein. Lucerne can also be fed to laminitic horses who need high quality protein to repair damaged laminae in the hoof.
Not advisable for those ponies whose daily protein requirements are already met with pasture and/or other feed.
Use = Fiber, Protein, Energy
Generally, contains a combination of all grass types harvested. Therefore, can have an unknown level of minerals and protein. However, the later the grass (mature grass) was harvested the lower the protein and energy levels can be expected. Typically, less energy and protein than Lucerne.
The amount of leaf to stalk (stem) will dictate the quality and its energy content.
Use = Fibre, Energy
Oaten chaff is the chaffed stubble or hay portion of an oat crop. Should not contain any actual oat grain.
Oaten chaff often contains high sugar + starch, poor mineral levels. Early-cut oaten (and wheaten chaff or hay) can contain a lot of sugar, which makes them very palatable and increases the energy content. However, has good fibre and low protein levels.
Use = Fibre
Timothy is a horse-friendly grass species, grown well in New Zealand and Australia.
Has lower protein and low sugar levels than lucerne, it is also low in non-structural carbohydrates, which is great for horses that are prone to metabolic issues such as laminitis or insulin resistance. Great fibre.
Use = Fibre, protein, Energy