Thehorse.com - Full article
by: Karen Donley-Hayes
January 11 2008, Article # 11149
Hay is at a premium. Whether it is the result of weather conditions making forage scarce or prohibitively expensive, or if there's some other reason, there could come a time when horse owners need to consider alternative sources of forage. Equine nutritionists say that when this is necessary, you should change a horse's diet gradually to avoid stressing his digestive system.
Horse owners can turn to the conventional forage substitutes, including hay cubes, alfalfa pellets, sugar beet pulp, and haylage, or they can try total mixed rations (TMR). These products are cubes containing all of the horse's nutritional requirements, and they can be offered free choice. Forage-based TMR cubes could be a viable alternative for owners faced with inconsistent or nonexistent forage sources. Such feeds have been available for some time for other species, but they are relatively new for horses and aren't widely available.
Sarah Ralston, VMD, PhD, Dipl. ACVN, assistant professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, said...