Feeding Horse Hay

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feistychins

The Chinchilla Lady
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
327
Location
Connecticut
Many years ago (even before I had chinchillas) I had a vet tell me not to feed 'horse hay' to my house bunnies. He said it was not good for them and to stick to the timothy hay and other grass hays.

I don't remember exactly why he said it was not good for them and I assume the same is true for chinchillas. I feed only Oxbow hays to my chins.

For my own knowledge, can anyone tell me why hay that is normally given to horses may not be good to give to your chin?
 

aznmexaggie

Chinchilla Chateau
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
1,667
Location
Northern California
Horse-quality grass hays are safe for chins and other herbivores. Horses also have sensitive digestive tracts and shouldn't be fed the low quality hays that can be fed to ruminants such as cattle. If you need to buy hay by the bale, check out a local horse stable for your timothy or grass hay mix. It should be stored in a covered storage area, relatively free of weeds, not wet/moldy or overly dry, and free of fescue.
 

feistychins

The Chinchilla Lady
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
327
Location
Connecticut
I know that horses and chins have very similar digestive tracts, so you would think that what is ok for a horse would be the same for the chins.

High quality hay is the only choice of course. Even horses can't get a large amount of Alfalfa, so maybe he was thinking that the hay given to horses was lower quality. I'm not really sure it has been so long since I was told this.

Someone (who has horses) recently mentioned to me that they give horse hay to their chin and I wanted to know for reference if it was ok.
 

minrex

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
256
I know that horses and chins have very similar digestive tracts, so you would think that what is ok for a horse would be the same for the chins.

High quality hay is the only choice of course. Even horses can't get a large amount of Alfalfa, so maybe he was thinking that the hay given to horses was lower quality. I'm not really sure it has been so long since I was told this.

Someone (who has horses) recently mentioned to me that they give horse hay to their chin and I wanted to know for reference if it was ok.
At the risk of derailing the thread, it depends on what you call a "large amount". Alfalfa probably shouldn't normally be free-fed to horses, since it is so rich in protein and energy. However, many people do feed straight alfalfa to their horses, particularly those which need a higher energy intake. A mature 1,100 lb. horse which is used only for light work will need about 16 lbs. of alfalfa per day, as compared to about 22 lbs. of timothy hay, in order to meet its dietary requirements. Horses can also be kept on an alfalfa pasture, as long as the horse is given time to adjust to the diet over the course of a few weeks.

My own horse eats only alfalfa hay as forage in the winter (largely because it's nearly impossible to find any type of grass hay besides brome in this area, and he refuses to eat brome -- he would prefer to starve). He gets about 20 lbs. of alfalfa per day and he does perfectly fine on it. At age 31, he is fat and healthy, and looks about 10 years younger than he is.

For the record, I have regularly fed horse hay (straight brome, or alfalfa/brome mix) to my rabbits. They've done well on it. As others have mentioned, good horse hay is generally very high-quality, and if it's suitable for a horse, it should be just fine for a rabbit or chinchilla (grass hay, that is).
 

mishellyshel

Chin Slave
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Messages
4,633
Location
New Jersey
I think that vet was uninformed. I bought a bale of hay at my feed store and my pita chins wouldnt eat it! so make sure they like it first.

wow 31 years old........that is awesome! you must be doing something right. ;)
 

starleomach

Dawnna's Keeper
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
4,257
Location
Cary IL,
I grab my hay straight from the Barn, Chinchillas have very similar digestive tracts when compared to horses
 

CTChin

defender of all animals
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
646
Location
Conn.
I was always told that horse people are the fussiest when it comes to hay. I've been feeding horse hay for quite a while when it is fresh and nice and green. However, this time of year it is tough to find good hay so I broke down and bought some Oxbow hay the other day. Sure gets expensive buying bagged/boxed hay for a large amount of chinchillas :(
 
C

ChinHeart

Guest
This time of year and we've already stocked our barn for the winter. The horses have enough hay to make it until June. By then the hay for this coming season should be cut and ready to sell for decent prices.
 

feistychins

The Chinchilla Lady
Joined
Feb 2, 2009
Messages
327
Location
Connecticut
Ok, so the vet that told me this had no clue. :err: Like I said this was many years ago and I have not seen him in almost that long. Good info to know.
 

purplepassion2676

New member
Joined
Jul 6, 2017
Messages
3
Location
PA
has anyone tried the compressed bale of timothy grass western forage from tractor supply yet? 40 pounds of timothy grass for $20, any comments, experiences? thanks in advance:)
 

mercynursie

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
843
I have used/tried both the alfalfa blend and timothy bales. They were good enough but a lot was wasted by my nine guys and it had a lot of hay chaff/dust that I had some respiratory trouble with. Now I just bite the bullet and order Oxbow from Chewy.com. Their prices are great plus they have the Oxbow chinchilla pellets and guinea pig pellets that my guys like.
 

Idgie

Chin Geek
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
296
Location
Chicago burbs
I buy a bale of grass hay from a farmer. He has many types and cuts that he stores in the barn. He let's me go through them and I pick what I want. He usually doesn't sell to chinchillas lol, but that $10 bale lasts me all year!
 

Airyn

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 23, 2010
Messages
834
Location
Pennsylvania
has anyone tried the compressed bale of timothy grass western forage from tractor supply yet? 40 pounds of timothy grass for $20, any comments, experiences? thanks in advance:)
I tried the compressed hay from TSC a few years ago. They ate it for a single day and then rejected it.
 
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