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Old 09-18-2007, 12:42 PM   #1
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Feeding cut grass

We live in Maricopa Arizona and grass is not something that you have out here. Sounds funny but we live in a desert and with the climate its just the way it is. Were also on a well system so growing grass doesnt happen much. With that said if you dont live in arizona and dont understand how things work here please dont comment on that. Thats not my question.



My question is with my horses not getting much grass and there on a bermuda/alfalfa pellet with a bit of alflafa or grass hay to keep them busy during the day. A friend of ours cut the grass in his back yard and gave it to us a few days after cutting it. I wanna give it to my horses as a bit of a treat because they hardly get it. Ive heard something about it being high in protein. Is just giving them a little rake full a bad idea or an ok treat? Again please stick to the questions. Thanks.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:45 PM   #2
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I have given mine some after it was left to dry. I seem to remember someone saying fresh cut is not good but OK after drying. Just need to make sure that they do not have any weeds not good for horses in their grass and that they do not use any type of fertilizer/weed killer that could still be present.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:54 PM   #3
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Well, you're going to get a lot of people dead-set against it, but I've done it myself for years and haven't had a problem. I usually feed just a forkfull each, but they get it fresh. When I have a lot of clippings, I spread it out over a wide area, so it can dry evenly in a single layer with no clumpy moist spots, in the turnout pen and don't let them have it until the next day. Just make sure the clippings aren't hot or moist at all, and I would think you should be fine.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:55 PM   #4
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A few things to be considered. Grass can sour within twenty minutes of cutting. If it is not cured properly it can contain mold or mold spores which are not good for a horse. Mold alone can cause colic, and the fine mold spores can attach to the lining of the lungs and cause a severe respitory illness. Finally, grass clippings unlike hay are much smaller in length putting a horse at risk for choking and intestinal blockage. Those are my opinions only.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:25 PM   #5
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If it's been bagged or pilled and is moist, hot, and yeasty smelling, I wouldn't feed it.

If your neighbor let it dry out on the lawn and then raked it, so it's dry like hay, it's probably ok - but I'd feed only a little at first to make sure they don't scarf it down too quick and choke on it.

I'm assuming, of course, that there are no weeds or nasty chemicals on the lawn.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:00 PM   #6
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He does not put chemicals on his lawn, because we are both very into the wildlife around. So none of that is used. There were a few weeds but I was very careful to pick out even the smallest bit of weeds. And Im just giving them a small rack full of it. Oh and yes it sat for a few days after it was cut on the lawn. Im watching everyone closely just in case.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:14 PM   #7
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My 2 cents. I do not feed my horses any grass clippings. Why.....I do not want to take a chance on any toxins, either manmade or natural. In nature the horse has the great ability to eat only that which is good for them...when you place something in front of them as a "treat".....accidents happen.

Might I relay a story: a few years back a neighbor in the area cut his grass and offered it to a few horses who lived accross the street from him. the horses "loved" the grass treat. however as it turns out the grass clippings contain some Alameda/Oleander. Both horses were lost to the toxins in the plants.

and yes.....As a Biology instructor I am very aware that plants are regional. However the effects are the same.

beware
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:19 PM   #8
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My sister lived in Phoenix for four years and said that straw bales went for $14 each in Mesa. Yowzers! That being said though the climate would be great for riding!

If the grass clippings dried on the lawn for a few days and were then raked up, I don't think they should be a problem fed in small amounts. If they were bagged or otherwise "wet" I wouldn't feed them though - too much risk of mold as seerfarm said.
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:40 PM   #9
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Yeah most people freak when they hear our hay prices. Im currently paying $7 a bail and thats very cheap here. When that place is out I pay $10.50 a bail. Thats more the normal price.


Thank you everyone for your opinions. Everyone is appreciated
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Old 09-18-2007, 03:56 PM   #10
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Ok I have a question about this, are we talking like backyard planted grass or any cut grass altogether?

I ask becuz we have planted costal grass in our field that has overrun into our "backyard" area. Well we mow this grass about 3 times a year (call us lazy) and we have horses out around the house and the eat it with no problems so far.

Should I be worried. Oh and we use a big shredder so bagging it would be impossible
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:19 PM   #11
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Horses are usually taught well by the herd at a young age what is good to eat and what is bad. The only real issue is how quickly in heat it can sour, and the fact that alot of horses that are given clippings are done so because they don't have enough substantial forage.( I am not saying that all who are given clippings don't have enough forage to eat). Those that don't get it alot tend to really eat it up fast because it is so good, thus causing some of the problems I referred to earlier. You just have to consider the possibilities and know your own horses eating habits, and therefore make the decision that you feel is right for yours.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:35 PM   #12
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I have fed my horses grass clippings for many years with no problem - fed them some tonight as a matter of fact. I cut and let the grass lay where it is thrown anywhere from an hour to 2 or 3 hours, depending upon how hot it is and how high the sun is. I rake them when they are about half dried out. My grass is mostly bermuda, though, which doesn't have a lot of moisture to begin with, and dries out quickly, I don't have any toxic weeds, and I never feed grass the lawn mower has clumped. I also don't over feed them. I feed 1 full wheel barrow for 6 horses - more of a supplement or snack than a meal sized load. My yard is mostly the same plant content as my pasture, so it is food they eat anyway. But, they get more, faster, than when grazing, so you have to be carefull you don't give them so much they gorge. NEVER feed them absolutely fresh - or wet, and never feed them if your lawn mower is leaking any fluids...
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:05 AM   #13
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With only a couple of horses on it, my eleven acres of pasture gets bush-hogged a few times a year and the grass just lays there afterwards. We've had no problems with them after eating it.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:33 AM   #14
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We lived in Patagonia arizona - So I know what you mean about not much grass!! We had one patch of grass that we kept watered and had to mow in our yard - we used one of those lawn mowers that picks up the grass in the bag - Right after mowing we would dump the bag for the horses - They never got sick - and loved the treat. We didnt let the grass sit or dry - it just went to them fresh and they were fine. I would say if the bag has been sitting - pass on this time, but you probably are ok to feed it if it is fresh, or like others have said, pre dryed then raked and packaged. Just my opinion - good luck!
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