Expert advice on feeding haylage
Haylage is a specialist forage for horses and, as its name suggests, is a cross between hay and silage.
Its biggest advantage over hay is that it is considered “dust free”, compared to hay which is not.
Any spores present in haylage are swollen by the presence of moisture and are “stuck” to the grass stalks, meaning they are eaten rather than inhaled.
This means you don’t have to soak haylage, which saves a lot of time, energy and water for those who previously soaked hay.
Haylage tends to be sweeter than hay and is popular with horses, who can gobble up their night-time allowance quickly and then stand around bored – this is not good for box-walkers, weavers etc, unless you find something else to occupy them.
Haylage nets with a tighter mesh and generally smaller capacity are available; they help to slow down the greedy eaters and deter the groomfrom over-feeding.
Haylage is generally richer than hay, and fat ponies get fatter on haylage than they will on hay – haylage is best for working ponies only, or those with broken wind.
Always buy your haylage from a reputable manufacturer.
Quality is everything, so choose a company with its eye on making quality haylage, and ask it for an analysis of the product. Good companies do this as matter of course.