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First Posted: Aug 10, 2012
Aug 10, 2012

Acceptability of Teff Hay by Horses

Shawna McCown, MS, Mieke Brummer, MS, Susan Hayes, MS, Gene Olson, MS, Samuel Ray Smith Jr., PhD, Laurie Lawrence, PhD College of Agriculture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY Received 4 August 2011; received in revised form 10 October 2011; accepted 6 November 2011. published online 16 December 2011.

Abstract

"Teff (Eragrostis tef) is a productive warm season annual grass. Because teff is relatively new to the horse industry in the United States, horses unaccustomed to teff hay were used in two sets of two-choice preference tests comparing teff with alfalfa hay or teff with timothy hay. A second experiment used mature mares to compare voluntary dry matter intake (VDMI) of teff hay and timothy hay. In the two-choice preference tests, horses preferred alfalfa hay and timothy hay to teff hay (P < .05). Horses preferred teff hay that was cut at an earlier stage of maturity and had lower concentrations of neutral detergent fiber and acid detergent fiber than teff hay cut at a later stage of maturity. In the VDMI experiment, four mares were fed teff hay and four mares were fed timothy hay for 17 days. Both hays had been harvested in the head stage of maturity. VDMI was measured during the last 10 days and was not different between the two groups of horses (P > .05). It was concluded that horses that are unfamiliar with teff may discriminate against it when it is offered simultaneously with alfalfa or timothy; however, if not given a choice, horses will consume approximately the same amount of mature teff as mature timothy. Additional studies are needed to compare VDMI of early maturity teff hay with other common hays."

For More Information:

Teff Grass (Timothy Hay Substitute)
Study Evaluates Horses' Voluntary Consumption of Teff Hay

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