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What is hay?

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Question: What is hay?
It comes in bales or bags and may be the single most important feed source for your horse or pony.
Answer: Hay is a mixture of grasses and legumes dried until only about 18% of the moisture remains. It is most nutritious if cut before the seed heads fully develop, and is usually baled in either small square bales preferred for stabled horses, or large round bales usually fed to cattle, but often used in feeding horses kept outdoors. Bags of hay cubes can also be purchased at feed supply stores.

Grasses commonly cultivated for hay in North America are timothy, brome grass, and orchard grasses. The mixture of grasses will depend on what is native or hardy in any given area. In some places marsh grasses are used. Legumes commonly grown with hay grasses are alfalfa and red clover. The legumes provide more protein than grasses. Mixtures of legumes and grasses are the best for horse hay, with the grasses making up the larger part of the mixture.

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