Q&A: Alternatives to grazing

  • Q: My nine-year-old 16.2hh part-Hanoverian is turned out for four hours a day during early spring along with five other geldings. Unfortunately, the paddock offers very little grazing during these months. I believe there are dried grass products available with similar feed values to grass, which can supplement a horse’s winter diet and add a bit of variety when grazing is scarce. Could you suggest products for me to try?

    A: Manufacturers say that their quick-dried grass products are palatable, nutritious and as good as fresh grass. Within hours of being harvested from the field, the grass is flash-dried at high temperatures to remove the moisture content and extract dust.

    Generally, you can feed these products as a partial hay replacer, as a chaff to slow down eating or on their own as a treat. Speak to the individual companies for advice on how to incorporate their product successfully into your individual horse’s diet.

    It is not advisable to feed large quantities to horses or ponies prone to laminitis.

  • ReadiGrass from Spillers. Feed a double handful of ReadiGrass as a high-quality chaff or use it as a partial hay replacer (at 50 per cent of the normal hay ration). The company’s technical advisor, Clare Lockyer, says owners could also feed 1kg or 2kg when they bring a horse in from the field, as a bit of a boost.

    “It takes longer to eat than hay and has high levels of protein and fibre, so it is good for keeping weight on,” says Clare. Priced £8.60 for 18kg, tel: (01908) 226 626 for stockists.

  • Just Grass from Balanced’ Horse Feeds. This grass is dried at a high temperature so that it has the value of spring grass. Feed as a chaff replacer, or simply as a treat. The price for the product had not been finalised at the time of going to press, but expect to pay around £7.50 for a 20kg bale. For stockists, tel: (01372) 721 700.

  • Graze-On from Northern Crop Driers. New on the market, Graze-On is flash dried grass with a feed value said to be virtually identical to fresh grass. It is dust-extracted, with no additives, and can be fed as a partial hay replacer, as a chaff replacer to extend feeding time or on its own as a treat. Priced around £7 for a 15kg bale, tel: (01759) 318 302
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