Instore Pickup & Local Delivery


Your Cart is Empty

  • Add description, images, menus and links to your mega menu

  • A column with no settings can be used as a spacer

  • Link to your collections, sales and even external links

  • Add up to five columns

  • April 11, 2024 3 min read

    Teff Hay for Horses: What You Need to Know

    Teff hay is a relative newcomer on the WA hay scene and is already gaining popularity, being appreciated for its nutritional value and suitability for a wide range of horses. In this article teff hay is explored in detail from what it is, to why it is considered nutritionally beneficial, and which horses it would most suit.

    What is Teff Hay?

    Teff hay originates from the teff plant (*Eragrostis tef*), a fine-stemmed, warm-season annual grass native to Ethiopia. Historically, teff has been a staple grain for human consumption due to its nutritional properties, and only in recent years has it gained recognition as a valuable forage crop for livestock, including horses. Teff is harvested as hay when it is in the early stages of seed head development, ensuring the highest nutritional value and palatability.

    The adaptability of the teff plant allows it to thrive in a variety of climates and soil types, making it accessible to horse owners in diverse regions. Its rapid growth cycle also means it can be harvested multiple times per season, providing a consistent and reliable source of forage.

    Nutritional Benefits of Teff Hay

    Teff hay offers several nutritional advantages that make it an excellent choice for equine diets. Here are some key benefits:

    1. Low in Non-Structural Carbohydrates (NSC): Teff hay is naturally low in NSC, which includes sugars and starches. This makes it an ideal forage for horses that are sensitive to sugar, such as those suffering from metabolic disorders like Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) or Laminitis.
    2. High in Fibre: Like other types of hay, teff is high in fibre, which is essential for proper digestion and gut health in horses. Fibre aids in the slow release of energy, keeping horses satisfied and reducing the risk of digestive disturbances.
    3. Balanced Protein Content: Teff hay has a moderate protein content, typically ranging from 8 to 14%, depending on the maturity at harvest and growing conditions. This makes it a suitable option for maintaining muscle health without the risk of excessive protein intake, which can be a concern with other types of hay.
    4. Rich in Minerals: It is a good source of essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, contributing to bone health and overall well-being.
    5. Low in Dust: Teff hay is often less dusty compared to other hays, which can be beneficial for horses with respiratory issues such as heaves or asthma.

    Suitability for Different Horses

    Teff hay's nutritional profile makes it suitable for a wide range of horses, including:

    1. Horses with Metabolic Disorders: Its low NSC content makes teff hay an excellent choice for horses with EMS, Laminitis, or Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM), as it helps manage blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of associated complications.
    2. Performance Horses: The balanced energy and protein content supports the nutritional needs of performance horses, providing sustained energy without the risks associated with high-starch diets.
    3. Overweight Horses: For horses needing to manage their weight, teff hay's low-calorie content, combined with high fibre, makes it an ideal forage to promote satiety without overloading on energy.
    4. Horses with Respiratory Problems: The low dust content is beneficial for horses prone to respiratory issues, reducing the risk of triggering allergic reactions.
    5. Senior Horses: Senior horses, especially those with dental problems, may find the fine stems of teff hay easier to chew and digest, ensuring they receive adequate nutrition despite their age-related challenges.

    Teff hay is a versatile and nutritionally rich forage option for horses, offering numerous health benefits and suitability for a broad spectrum of equine dietary needs. Whether managing a metabolic condition, supporting the performance of an athletic horse, or ensuring the well-being of a senior companion, teff hay appears to be a good choice for horse owners seeking quality and nutritional value in their animals' diets.

    As with any dietary change, it's crucial to introduce teff hay gradually into a horse's diet and consult with a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to ensure it meets the specific needs of the horse. 

    At Oakford Stockfeeds we have Teff Hay iBales by Western Hay in stock for $22.95 each. 

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.