Some horses are unable to eat dry hay due to respiratory problems such as COPD. Haylage is higher in moisture and virtually dust free. Once a horse has been affected, it will never recover and will always need special attention to minimise exposure to ‘dust’ in order to control the disease. Good quality haylage is an ideal and cost effective way in which to improve condition due to its higher energy and protein levels.
Owners of horses in heavy work require a higher nutritional balance from forage, for endurance, performance and condition. Feeding high protein and energy haylage provides a good base from which the rest of the diet can be tailored to suit individual requirements.
Cost and convenience
Haylage based diets for all horses in average to heavy work requirements will have an overall lower cost than hay. This is because haylage can provide much of the nutritional needs of your horse without the addition of lots of cereal based feed. Many owners are able to feed ad lib haylage and significantly reduce hard feed requirements. Haylage is plastic wrapped and so can be stored outside without the risk of spoilage from the weather. Haylage does not need to be soaked before feeding so no more cold wet hands in winter!
How to feed haylage
Mature horses generally consume 2-2.5% of their body weight in feed per day. This is supplied by a combination of forage, either grazed grass, hay or haylage, and concentrated feed. The level of concentrate required by your horse is dictated by two main factors; the nutritional value of the forage and the amount of work your horse is doing. The way haylage is made and the quality of the grasses used means that haylage is usually has a higher nutritional content than hay but as haylage is wetter than hay, more needs to be fed than hay to ensure that your horse has a high enough fibre intake. Haylage is 65-75% dry matter compared with 90% for hay, so you should feed 30-50% more haylage by weight to maintain your horse’s fibre requirements. Reduce your hard feed to compensate for the higher nutritional content of haylage.
You can now buy Old Manor 20kg haylage packs online – they are available as half pallets or full pallets