This post was originally printed in February of 2010.
I’m reprinting it today because hay prices are SKY HIGH… and Teff Hay is still some of the least expensive grass hay around. To me, it is a great deal. So, if you see Teff Hay and you wonder if you should purchase it – go for it!
I’m writing about Teff Hay today because when I heard about this hay, no one had anything to say about it… and my nearby feed supplier only grumbled when I suggested it. Hmmmmm. So, I looked it up on the Internet and it seemed like a really good idea. Basically, it has comfortable protein and sugar levels for most all horses, is new and is generally less expensive than all other grass hay Here is a link to read about it and understand the analysis.
I really don’t know why more growers aren’t seeding with this. I assume because it hasn’t caught on yet. But, for me, after trying a stack (88 bales), I am willing to use it for the rest of my life! I love it! Let me tell you about my experience so you can know about it almost first hand.
Here is a photo of my last two bales. As you can see, it doesn’t look that enticing. It isn’t bright green and it doesn’t have that grassy fragrance. To be honest, this is the only Teff I have tried, so there may be variations. But, for this stack, it rocked!
Now, to explain my horses and their needs… I have 13 horses and 8 breeds here (Draft, Shetland, Donkey, Morgan, Mustang, QT, TWH and Icelandic). To say that they all have different needs is an understatement. I couldn’t feed alfalfa to the Chia Pet easy keepers, I needed a robust feed for the Mustang, a low fat for the Shetlands and a feed with enough oomph for the TWHs. Yikes! I usually have several types of hay around here; I use grass, 3-grain, alfalfa mixes… and do a jig every feeding hour as I dance from stack to stack. When I’d run out of one, I’d have to figure out some alternative or run to the feed store and hope they’d have what I needed for a decent price. Ugh. (Here is a picture of the inside of a bale.)
Last Autumn I went on a hay hunt. I got in my VW and drove around to all the valley growers who I heard had the best hay. One of them, Glen Owens, had Teff hay. Since I had done some reading, I knew it was a good alternative for my horses that needed low fat and low sugar forage. It looked good, nice thin strands, fairly green, pleasant aroma. Glen was very personable and the hay was very reasonably priced (read “cheap comparatively”) and he offered for me to take one bale to try. Hmmmm, again. He was far away and the trek was long… So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a stack and hold my breath. I never know if my delicate charges (read “spoiled” ) would go for it.
The hay was delivered when I didn’t realize it was coming and I was gone. So, it sat outside the hay barn. And, because I didn’t know it was coming on that day, I had one of my horses out loose. Before I got home and could get him into a pasture, he had chewed a nose height circle around the entire stack. A good sign. That night at dinner time, I fed the Teff to all 13. OMG! It was like a pirahna feeding frenzy! They dived into that stuff like it was the last hay they would ever see. I could not believe it! They ate it better than pure alfalfa – which I never feed but you know what I mean… Here is a picture of a bale of Teff sitting on top of a bale of Orchard Grass. You can see the color difference.
So, after 86 bales are gone, I can honestly tout the wonders of Teff. All of my horses are at the perfect weight. I only have to feed the proper amount to each horse (no need to double up), no feet issues, no Cushings symptoms, no hot horses, no pouty faces, it is all good. They look great, made it through the winter and all of them have sleek coats, great hooves and smiles on their fuzzy mugs.
As an aside, I was pulling down the second to the last bale of Teff to take pictures for this blog and I shed some of the hay into the wet pasture (it is raining non-stop here). As you can see, three of my horses (Morgans and Icy) who had just finished breakfast and are not considered “trim” by a long shot, jumped on the shreds of Teff like it was Willy Wonka Teff. Yahoo! All of them love it and they all eat it. Imagine, One Hay For All!!!!!
As usual, if you have any questions, please email or comment and I’ll be happy to respond.
Anyone have any other hay experience?
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