Fresh Hay

It’s that time of year again! Coming into the store we’ve got a large fresh stock of well cured hay. We carry timothy hay, orchard hay and alfalfa all from Eastern Oregon. We also carry local hay grown in the Willamette Valley.

Not sure what to feed your animal? Here is a breakdown of types of hay and which animals thrive on the different kinds.

ALFALFA HAY

Higher Protein Content
One of the biggest differences between alfalfa hay and grass hay is the protein content. On average, alfalfa hay has much higher levels of protein, ranging from 15% to 21% depending on when the alfalfa was cut. This is much higher than the protein levels of grass hay, which typically contains 10% or less protein .Higher protein is important for young growing animals, working performance animals, and for lactating mothers. Alfalfa also has less fiber and higher calcium than grass hay.

Alfalfa Hay Analysis (average)
Crude Protein – 15.0% – 22.0%
Crude Fiber – 25.0%
Non Structural Carb (NSC) – 8.75% – 13.25%
DE, Mcal/Lb. – 1.06 – 1.32
Calcium – 1.28%
Phosphorus – 0.24%
Ca:P Ratio – 5.3:1

GRASS HAY

Grass hay has:

  • Lower Protein Levels
  • Lower Energy Content
  • Higher Fiber
  • Lower Calcium Levels

Grass hay is quite a bit lower in protein than alfalfa hay; the energy content of grass hay is also lower than alfalfa hay. For many people who have mature animals, animals that are not used for breeding, grass hay is often preferred over alfalfa hay because of these lower protein and energy levels. Grass hay is also quite often a good choice for senior animals, as it’s easier on the kidneys due to its lower protein content and is also easier to chew and digest.

Grass hay typically has lower nutritional values than alfalfa hay, and is also lower in calcium, making it closer to a more desirable Ca:P ratio (between 3:1 to 1:1). Also, grass hay is often less dusty than alfalfa hay, so it a good choice for animals that have respiratory issues.

Timothy Hay
Timothy hay is high in fiber and generally is easy to digest. It tends to be more expensive than the other grass hays, but it is also higher in nutrients than other grass hays.

Timothy Hay Analysis (average)
Crude Protein – 6.0% – 10.0%
Crude Fiber – 30%
NSC – average of 12% (range 7% – 18%)
DE, Mcal/Lb. – 0.7 to 1.0
Calcium – 0.38%
Phosphorus – 0.17%
Ca:P Ratio – 2.2:1

Orchard Grass Hay
Orchard grass hay is not as nutrient sensitive to the time of cutting as the other grass hays, and is also less expensive than timothy hay.

Orchard Grass Hay Analysis (average)
Crude Protein – 7.0% – 11.0%
Crude Fiber – 30%
NSC – average of 12% (range 7% – 18%)
DE, Mcal/Lb. – 0.7 – 1.0
Calcium – 0.34%
Phosphorus – 0.23%
Ca:P Ratio – 1.5:1

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