This page is a continuation of our guide to horse hay. This page is all about brome grass.
Brome Hay For Horses
Today we’re going to be talking about grass hay. Specifically, we’re going to be talking about bromegrass hay for horses. If you are new to owning a horse, making sure that you have the best hay for your animals is one of the most stressful yet important things you will encounter. The last thing you want is to feed your horse hay that it doesn’t like. This will end with your horse pushing the hay around instead of eating it, or even peeing on it. It’s like trying to feed a child broccoli and instead of eating it the child pees on it.
This is where quality grass hay comes in. As the boss of your barn, you determine what your horse eats. This is why you should never be cheap when it comes to the food you feed your animals. You don’t want a low-grade hay. You want something high quality like brome grass.
There are actually two different groups of grass hay. You have grass hay that is cool-season and grass hay that is warm-season. When dealing with cool-season grasses, we’re typically talking about Timothy grass, orchard grass, rye grass, and even reed canary grass, though the latter options are not super popular. When talking about warm-season grass, we need to include Bermuda grass, brome grass, and teff.
But there’s a little more to it than that. Cool-season grasses mature early in the springtime. This means they are ideally going to be harvested in May. It’s important to note that the later in the growth stage the hay is cut, the more stems it has. Also, the less nutritious it will be and the less digestible. If hay is too mature, there’s going to be higher levels of crude fiber. This actually decreases the feeding value and the ability for your horse to digest its food.
Hay cut too late in the season is going to be way too stocky, it’s going to be low in protein, and it can have almost no nutritional value. Your horses probably won’t even eat it. It could be moldy or dusty. It’ll basically just be a great big waste of time.
And that brings us to smooth brome grass.
Is Brome Hay Good for Horses?
Brome grass is exceptionally healthy for horses. It actually has loads of benefits. Brome grass is highly nutritious, it’s highly palatable, and it has a very high ratio of leaves to stems. This means it has more leaves and less stems.
Brome grass is one of the best warm-season grasses to feed your horse. The feeding value of brome grass is very similar to some cool-season grasses like Bermuda or Timothy. It’s probably not the most desirable option in terms of versatility to feed all horses, but it is still a great choice at a reasonable price.
One of the big bonuses with brome grass is that it matures much later in the season than other grasses. The weather variables during harvest are going to be reduced significantly, such as the rain and the cold. This means you are going to have more consistency with the nutritional value of brome grass. Brome grass is going to be greener and leafier, which makes it easier to eat for your horse. There is also a lower risk of brome grass getting moldy since there is less rain involved.
To be fully honest, brome grass is actually great. Because it’s so unlikely that your harvest will be overly mature, there is always going to be great nutrients to find in every harvest of this grass.
Do Horses Like Brome Grass?
Horses like brome grass quite a lot. If there is one thing that’s for sure, it’s that horses take to eating brome grass extremely quickly, even if it’s a sudden change in their usual diet. Some people say that after switching to brome grass, it’s as if they’re feeding the horse candy – they just love it and can’t get enough.
The best horses to feed brome grass to are going to be older horses. This is because brome grass is actually quite soft, and it’s ideal for aging horses who need to eat softer food. This is especially true if you can’t get your hands on a second cut of orchard grass or Timothy grass and need a substitute.
But this grass is not only for old horses. Considering hay is such an important dietary component for any horse, as they consume between 1% and 2% of their body weight every day just in forage, brome grass makes an excellent feed source for young horses, active horses, and elderly horses. One of the biggest benefits it has is for horses that are kept inside stalls. Brome grass can be an excellent way to keep your horse from getting bored in its stall, and helping it to slowly feed all day.
Brome grass can provide additional fiber for horses that are less active and need more time to chew. It’s also great for horses who are trying to manage their weight. When you use brome grass, you always have a leafy hay that is super palatable and suitable for horses of all ages.
Can You Mix Brome Grass with Alfalfa?
You can absolutely mix brome grass with alfalfa! While the classic mixed hay is usually Timothy and alfalfa, you can replace the Timothy with brome grass. This is especially useful if your horse is a picky eater. Because brome grass is so delicious, it’s a great way to help your horse consume more alfalfa. By adding brome grass to an alfalfa mixture, you’re going to increase the sweetness of the feed, thereby improving palatability and promoting more consumption.
This is actually a great idea if you’re worried about the overall quality of nutrients by solely feeding your horse brome grass or another type of grass feed. By introducing alfalfa or another legume into the mix, you will be increasing the amount of energy, protein, and calcium that your horse receives.
Brome Hay Protein
Brome hay is a great source of protein for horses. There can be as much as 13-15% protein in brome hay, and plenty of fibre, calcium and phosphorous. In fact it has a higher level of available protein than some other grasses like crested wheat grass. When mixed with Alfalfa this can be a really great source of nutrients for your horse. It does however depend on when the grass was cut, as maturity of the grass will affect the available nutrients.