Timothy hay is a late-maturing high-fiber bunchgrass hay with relatively low protein content. The long stem and consistent quality enables necessary consumption and provides proper conditioning for dairy cows and horses.

timothy hay close up in the columbia basin

Nutritional Benefits

Through its versatile nutritional qualities, Timothy hay is the perfect base or addition to your animal’s feed.

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Alfalfa Hay and Timothy Hay are two distinct varieties of forage that cater to different nutritional needs of livestock and pets. Alfalfa Hay, a legume, is characterized by its rich, deep-green color, softer texture, and high protein, calcium, and energy content, making it an ideal choice for young, growing animals and lactating or pregnant animals that require extra nutrients.

On the other hand, Timothy Hay, a grass hay, boasts a paler green hue, coarser texture, and a more balanced fiber-to-protein ratio, promoting healthy digestion and reducing the risk of obesity. This makes Timothy Hay an excellent option for adult animals or those with lower nutritional demands, such as horses with a low to moderate work regimen, or small herbivores like rabbits and guinea pigs.

Horse owners have found that Timothy hay promotes a shiny coat, good digestion, bowel regularity, and a healthy weight. It is also excellent for colic prone, protein-sensitive, and obese horses.

A horse needs a fairly small amount of protein per day. Roughly 3/4 to 1 pound of digestible protein (DP) will meet most horses’ daily requirement. This need can be met by supplying Alfalfa as half of a horse’s roughage. Feeding horses Alfalfa reduces or even eliminates the need for supplements which often have a laxative effect. Our commitment to supplying high quality Alfalfa year round gives horses a consistent and safe supply of protein.

Timothy hay is recommended by many experts due to its ease on various animal’s digestive system as well as promotion of bowel regularity. Additionally, there have been scientific studies done that show Timothy hay is an ideal feed for pregnant or lactating cows. Another advantage is that it is relatively low in moisture content, preventing mold and rot. Timothy hay can help prevent hypocalcemia, “milk fever”, which occurs right before or after calving and can impact up to 10% of the herd. Adding Timothy to a feed regiment helps reduce potassium concentrations, to help avoid hypocalcemia.

For racehorses, fiber is a good cornerstone for any feeding program. Fiber from Timothy hay can be fermented in the gut and used as an energy source throughout the day. It also protects good digestion and prevents conditions like gastric ulcers and colic. Most racehorses require more energy than Timothy hay provides, so usually their diet is supplemented with a percentage of Alfalfa mix. Race horses also typically receive a balanced TMR to achieve required inputs depending on activity level.

Timothy hay is highly recommended for horses confined to a stable because it offers more chewing time. It most closely mimics the normal day long grazing activity for pasture animals, which is anywhere from 10-15 hours a day. Feeding on Timothy hay can help satisfy your horse’s natural urge to chew and graze when they are confined to stalls for long periods of time. While other feeds such as Alfalfa hay can meet energy requirements of horses in high levels of products, low nutritional concentrations of Timothy hay are ideal for many life stages.