Dengie Allays Hay Price Concerns
A sharp rise in the cost of hay has left many horse owners tightening their belts as they prepare to contend with a second winter of discontent. Last year’s weather conditions – a dry spring and wet summer – coupled with increased exports to other European countries following poor harvests, have resulted in spiralling prices and fears of a shortage in supply.
“But alternatives to hay are widely available, offering easily sourced, cost-effective forms of fibre,” says Katie Williams, senior nutritionist at Dengie Horse Feeds, who is keen to reassure horse owners that a wide range of options exists to replace totally or supplement a horse or pony’s hay rations.
“People are worrying about access to high-quality, affordable hay,” she explains. “The Dengie Feedline is currently inundated with calls about this very subject, but we are able to allay concerns and discuss the excellent range of feeds available that can provide plenty of fibre to keep a horse chewing and keep the gut healthy.
“These include bagged forage, such as haylage, which is one viable option, but its high-energy value does not suit all horses. Dust-free and easy to store, it has a higher nutritional value than most forms of hay, which means it can promote weight gain.
“Then, there is alfalfa – a crop related to the pea and bean family that is packed full of naturally occurring vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dengie grows its own alfalfa on farms in Essex and Lincolnshire specifically for its family of high-fibre feeds.
“Dengie Hi-Fi provides consistent nutrition from bale to bale. Using it to replace hay is simple – you just feed the same amount of Hi-Fi as you would your regular forage. Every product in this range can be fed dry or dampened, from the bucket or the floor.
“The Alfa-A range can be fed as a partial hay replace, as the higher levels of nutrients mean that it would be too rich to replace hay completely. What a lot of people don’t realise is that Alfa-A has the same levels of energy as a cool mix but, because it is so high in fibre, it provides greater chew time.
“Alfalfa Pellets are another great way to give a bucket feed that is high in fibre but low in sugar. They can also be fed in a treat ball to encourage natural foraging behaviour and make the feed last much longer.
“Hay prices and availability might be affecting our pockets, but there is no need for them to impact on the welfare of our horses and ponies, who have a wide selection of fibre providers on offer to keep them in great condition throughout the winter.”
For further information about Dengie’s range of feeds suitable for forage replacement call the Dengie Feedline on 0845 345 5115.