Hay You!

timothy_hayMany people still insist on feeding chaff to their horses.  I can’t understand why.  I haven’t fed chaff to my horses in over 12 years.  Instead of chaff, I feed hay, specifically Timothy Hay.  Not only is hay better for the horses, but I save a heck of money for myself and my owners.

All equine nutritionists agree that a longer fiber length is better for your horse’s gut.    Equine Nutritionist Catherine Marriot spoke about fiber length at a Hookahs Feed Seminar a few years ago.   Here are excerpts of her talk.

Horses need a fiber length that is over ¾ of an inch to act functionally in the Gastro Intestinal Tract (GIT)

  • Horses duodenal orifice is ¾ of an inch
  • The longer the fiber length, the healthier the horses entire digestive system
  • Fiber length is directly proportional to speed of flow of feed and acid levels in the entire GIT
  • Long fiber length leads to:
    • More effective chewing
    • Higher saliva production
    • More complete digestion
    • Slower feed intake
    • Healthier stomach, hind gut and less colic
    • Decreased incidence of compaction
    • Decreased incidence of ulcers

Steam Cut Premium Chaff is on average only 1/4 inch long. Hay is a better feed than chaff as it is not cut short.  Chaff is made from hay that has been cut to a short length and then bagged and shipped to you.  This adds to the cost of chaff.

At as much as RM134.00 per 32 kg bag, chaff works out to be RM4.19 per kg.  Timothy Hay, on the other hand, costs RM165.00 per 50 kg bale or just RM3.30 per kg.

Let’s summarize this

  • Chaff is simply hay that has been chopped up.
  • Timothy hay is 89 cents cheaper per kg than steam cut premium chaff.
  • That makes it 27% cheaper than steam cut premium chaff.
  • Horses need a longer fiber length.
  • Less chance of colic when you feed hay rather than chaff
  • less chance of stomach ulcers when you feed hay rather than chaff

If you feed about 8 kg chaff a day to your horse, then changing to hay is going to save you RM7.12 per day or RM220 a month!

It makes scientific sense and it saves you money.  Better and cheaper!  This one is a no-brainer!

Many owners let their grooms dictate what their horses should be fed.  This article gives you some information that your grooms probably don’t know.  Please use it to educate your grooms, to improve the quality of life for your horse, and to make some savings in your feed bill.

If you feed a chaff, and almost every owner in Malaysia does, you have available a better option for your horse that is cheaper than what you are probably using now.  If you change to this better, cheaper option, you are going to save yourself some money.

And it is my gut feeling that your horse’s gut will thank you.

About Peter Abisheganaden

Polo Player, Tournament Director and Executive Secretary of the Royal Malaysian Polo Association. FIP Ambassador and FIP Tournament Director of FIP Snow Polo World Cup and Super Nations Cup. World Cup and Asian Games Showjumper. Champion SEA Games Showjumper and Eventer. FEI L3 Show Jumping Course Designer and L1 Course Presenter. Champion amateur jockey. Retailer and wholesaler of saddlery and polo equipment and Managing Director of Zack's Tack.
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