Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil is high in fibre, protein and key minerals while being low in starch and sugar. This highly palatable, cost-effective, dust-free chaff contains pure alfalfa that is dressed with soya oil. The feed can be fed on its own (at recommended intakes) or form part of the horse’s diet mixed with other compound feeds.
Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil is a versatile feedstuff suitable for horses with additional energy and nutrient requirements, including racehorses, polo horses, competition horses, lactating mares and youngstock. However, do you know the benefits of alfalfa and oil and how when used together, they can benefit horses with different needs? Read on to find out more.
What is Alfalfa?
Forage is divided into two types; grasses and legumes. Alfalfa falls into the legumes category and is a pea family member. It grows in well-drained soil and is harvested at the same time as its counterpart, grass. It is economical and enriches soils with nitrogen, so is a sustainable crop, helping to promote soil fertility.
Why is Alfalfa Fed to Horses?
Alfalfa is a highly digestible feed for horses rich in fibre, protein and key minerals including calcium and low in carbohydrates (sugar and starch). When fed in the correct amounts, fibre can help maintain a healthy digestive system. However, feeding inadequate amounts of fibre and too much sugar and starch can cause digestive disturbances, disrupting the delicate balance of the gut microbiome (micro-organisms in the gut) and affecting gut motility.
Often, pasture alone lacks essential nutrients and will fail to provide enough energy for those horses in medium to hard work, or for poor doers. Therefore, horse owners are required to supplement with additional feedstuffs. A basic high-fibre, low-calorie feed is recommended to meet a typical horse’s maintenance nutrient requirements. However, a high-fibre diet may not meet the energy levels and protein requirements of horses in harder work, broodmares and growing youngstock.
Why is Oil Fed to Horses?
Oil is a rich source of important fatty acids (including omega 3 and 6 fatty acids) and is high in calories. It is recognised widely for promoting healthy skin and a glossy coat. Adding oil into the horse’s diet can help weight gain without adding cereals. Oil is an excellent alternative to grain, for horses who require a diet low in starch and sugar, but have higher energy requirements, providing more than double the energy compared to the same weight of grain.
Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil uses soya oil, which is low in starch, rich in omega 6, and high in calories, offering horses a form of slow-release, non-heating energy.
What Type of Horse is Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil Suitable For?
As we discussed earlier in this article, Mollichaff Alfalfa Oil is high in fibre, protein and calories while low in starch and sugar. Therefore, it is a versatile, quality feed suitable for various horse types based on their lifestyle, these include:
Feeding horses alfalfa and oil can help them maintain or gain weight, promote optimum digestion and improve coat condition. Alfalfa is a good source of protein and energy, while oil provides additional calories to help those who struggle to maintain weight, especially over the winter. Oil can also improve overall skin and coat condition that often lacks lustre due to poor digestion.
To Support Gastric Health
To help keep the horse’s stomach in a healthy balance, we must feed horses little and often. A constant supply of fibre from roughage and chaff is essential to prevent acid build-up in the stomach.
To help maintain a healthy stomach and digestive system, horses should be fed a high-fibre, low in sugar and starch diet. Cereals, in particular, should be avoided due to their high sugar and starch value. Alfalfa is a recommended chaff due to its high levels of protein and calcium and its ability to act as a gastric buffer. Alfalfa Oil is an excellent choice for horses that require more energy while supporting gastric health. The soya oil provides additional energy, reducing the need for cereals.
Horses in Hard Work and Competition
As with any horse, an increase in workload requires sufficient amounts of energy to sustain stamina together with increases in other key nutrients, including protein for muscle growth. Alfalfa Oil offers an excellent source of slow-release-non-heating energy and protein, which is essential for building and repairing muscles.
Lactating Mares and Youngstock
Lactating mares require a higher amount of protein and energy than usual. Therefore, additional energy and nutrients are needed to maintain a healthy body weight and to produce high-quality milk for the foal.
Once young stock are weaned, their nutritional requirements will increase. The foal requires a carefully balanced diet consisting of protein (equivalent to 14-16%), nutrients, minerals vitamins and sufficient energy. Fibre is also essential to develop and maintain the healthy function of the gut.
Alfalfa Oil provides fibre, protein, minerals and calories while remaining low in starch and sugars, making the feed a good choice for both lactating mares and youngstock.
Feeding horses alfalfa and oil can provide numerous benefits to their overall health and well-being. It is important to ensure that horses receive a balanced diet to support their growth, development, and health. If you are unsure about the best diet for your horse, our friendly team of experts are here to help: 01803 527274.