Roughage includes hay and straw.
Hay – is a feed that perfectly meets the needs of horses, therefore it should be available all year round. hay composition depends on the grasses that are intended for it. It is very important that the hay is of very good quality, and I am not only referring to horses, but also to other farm animals. Hay can also be soaked to prevent excessive dustiness, but this only makes sense if it is done for all horses.
Hay mowing is not everything; you also need to be able to transport and store hay well. For this purpose, we use the so-called three methods:
loose hay – the water content should be up to 15%, even more before drying. The hay cut should dry out well, after harvesting, the hay is fermented and excess water is deposited. It is only suitable for feeding after approx. 12 weeks. Remember not to feed your horses with “fresh” hay.
hay in cubes – the water content should be below 15%, arranged in layers, it should be possible to dry out. Also feed after approx. 12 weeks without prior notice.
Hay in bales – the water content should be less than 15%, the bales are strongly pressed and it becomes impossible to evaporate the water. Therefore, the hay that will be pressed into the bales should be completely dry.
Hay should preferably be stored under a roof, but first spread the straw underneath and place the hay on top. It should not come into contact with concrete or walls, and it should not be covered with tarpaulins because of the condensation of water vapour. Hay for horses is mown later than for cattle. This is due to the fact that the grass fibres have a better structure, higher weight, more raw fibre and more calcium. The mineral content also depends on how the grass is mown, how often it is mown, when the hay is turned over during drying and how it is stored.
Horses that are not working can be fed hay at will. The dose is 1 kg of hay per 100 kg of animal body weight. Horses underweight are given 1,5 kg of hay per 100 kg body weight.
Straw – we mainly use it as litter, but straw is also consumed by horses. Horses eat straw when they are looking for work, want to relieve stress or rarely get too little roughage. Wheat and oat straw are best suited as fodder straw. Such types can be served together with hay or hay silage to horses that are overweight. Straw should meet the same criteria as hay, the energy value in comparison to hay is 20% – 30% lower. Straw can be given to force the horse to grind more forage. The dose is 0,5-1 kg per 100 kg body weight. Let’s not forget that straw is poor in protein and contains a lot of crude fibres, and exceeding this norm results in constipation. Straw should be interrupted by the administration of concentrated feed.
With the permission of the RM publisher