Last year’s hay is nearly gone, but the farmers have been busy growing and harvesting their hay crop. Before you know it, fresh new bales have arrived at your farm. Those bright green bales being stacked in your loft is a beautiful sight!
But some horse owners have concerns about new hay. Will the hay change cause horses to colic or founder? We’ve been warned against feeding grass clippings to horses, or hay that’s just been mown. So is new hay dangerous, too? Should it sit for a while before feeding?
The good news is that as long as it’s been properly cured, your new hay should be fine to feed.
To check that new hay in your loft, simply open a bale and take a look at it, smell it, and feel it. If it is dry and smells good, you’re fine. But if it is wet and/or smells musty, it has not been properly cured and is not safe to feed.
Another thing for you to keep in mind is that it is important to properly transition your horses to the new hay. New hay is full of protein and nutrients that might not be present in older hay. Mix a little of it in at a time with your old hay and gradually replace the old hay with the new. This way you can slowly acclimate your horses to the new hay.
So, feel free to use that new hay in your loft. Just be sure that it is dry and free of dust and mold, and be sure to introduce it to horses slowly. And while you’re at it, enjoy the sweet aroma of fresh hay!