When it comes to choosing the right feed for your horse, the options are endless.
You can go with a traditional feed like hay or grains or try something more specialized, like beet pulp, or alfalfa pellets.
As an equestrian, we often get confused by beet pulp vs alfalfa pellets; which one to choose for my firm?
The truth is……
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It depends on your horse’s individual needs and diet. In terms of energy, Beet pulp is high in energy fiber than a pallet, which helps in horse weight gain, while alfalfa is a great source of protein, which is great for a horse’s muscle mass.
But what we always believe…….
Before making your final decision for your horse’s diet know the benefits and drawbacks of the ingredients first and then incorporate any feed. And this article is all about those minor yet important things.
Wait…..what is beet pulp & its pros and cons?
The thing is, Traditional forage like hay or pasture is difficult for older horses to chew and digest. And Beet pulp is an alternative feed to solve this problem.
Is it good for horses?
This is high in fiber which provides several nutritional benefits to horses. Beet pulp is simple to chew and offers horses enough fiber and energy. It also provides extra calories, which help horses to gain weight.
- Beet pulp is affordable and widely available.
- They are a great source of fiber, and they can be used in place of forages.
- A source of high energy and a good amount of calories.
- Helps horses to gain weight.
- Easier to chew for horses with poor teeth.
- It also has a low sugar content of less than 10%, which is good for horses who are prone to insulin resistance.
- It contains fiber, and feeding too much can make the horses fat.
- Kinda difficult to prepare.
- Feeding beet pulp without a diet plan can be dangerous.
Now come to alfalfa pellets
You probably already know……Protein is a necessary nutrient for horses, especially for their muscle growth.
Alfalfa pellets are a great way to add that protein.
Horses can need calcium, protein, and other nutrients daily. These pallets are high in protein and can be fed to horses regularly. They are commonly fed to sports horses, requiring more protein and nutrition for their everyday training.
- Horses love to eat alfalfa pellets more than traditional forages.
- Widely available at an affordable price.
- A great source of protein and fiber.
- Good for horses’ growth and muscle mass.
- Has more nutritious value than most grasses.
- If a correct diet is not maintained, the high calcium content of alfalfa can produce an imbalance in horses’ nutrition.
- Alfalfa needs a high-maintenance process to grow.
Which one should you choose for your horse?
Here’s a comparison table that lays out the differences between these two feeds.
|It is made from the leftovers of sugar beets.
|Made from ground-up alfalfa.
|Beet pulp is a good source of fiber and calories and provides a lot of energy to horses.
|Great source of protein, which is important for horses’ growth.
|It is great for horses’ health, especially those who have trouble adding weight.
|Good choice for horses who need to put on muscle mass.
|It contains 7.0% protein, 0.5% crude fat, and around 18.2% fiber. It also has a low sugar content.
|It contains 16% protein, 1.5% crude fat, and 30% fiber.
|Nutritional value is great for older horses as it is easy to chew and provides digestible energy
|More concentrated. That means your horse can eat fewer of them and still get the same amount of nutrients.
So which one should you choose?
If your horse is thin and less active, you should go for beet pulp, and if you want your horse to grow and improve muscle, opt for alfalfa pellets.
Note: Talk to the vet before making the decision of which feed would be best for your horse.
4 Things you should keep in mind before feeding
#1. Ensure enough hay and pasture
First of all, make sure your horse is getting enough hay. An average thousand-pound horse needs around 15-20 pounds of hay every day.
So make sure you’re feeding them enough hay, and then add other feeds.
#2. The feed amount depends on the weight
Design the horse’s diet based on its weight. A horse needs 1.5-2% of its body weight in dry feed.
As a general rule, you can feed 1.5-2 KGs of dry feed per 100 KG of the horse’s body weight.
At first, a large portion of the diet should contain regular hay and pasture.
You can slowly add to their diet and increase it gradually if your horse enjoys it.
#3. Avoid overfeeding
Horses can experience serious digestive problems if they eat too much fiber or protein.
Start by adding a small can or bowl. If your horse seems to enjoy them, you can increase the amount.
If your horse really likes beet pulp, you can increase its amount by up to 50% of its dietary forage. Regarding alfalfa pellets, refrain from 18-24 lbs per day. Learn more about what food you should avoid overfeeding:
- Alfalfa Pellets vs Grain – Can Feed Pellets Instead Grain?
- Can Horses Eat Fish? Is The Horse Omnivore or Herbivore?
- Are Walnut Trees Toxic to Horses? (5-Minute Read)
#4. Seek expert help
Always consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions about feeding your horse. They’ll be able to help you figure out the best diet for your horse’s specific needs.
Does beet put weight on horses?
Yes, Great fiber source that helps horses put on weight.
How much beet should I feed my horse a day?
Great energy source and fiber, but feeding it too much can make the horses fat. As a general guideline, you can feed them one or two pounds daily.
Does the pulp need to be soaked?
It’s up to you. However, animals need water to survive. So feeding soaked beet pulp with water is not a bad idea.
Can I feed my horse alfalfa pellets instead of hay?
No, alfalfa is more nutritious than some forages. But it can not be a substitute for all forage needs. Horses should have around 1-2 pounds of hay per day.
Both are high in nutritional value for horses.
The horse’s requirements determine the proper feed. Always consult with your veterinarian to determine what is best for your animal.
Can you feed beet pulp and alfalfa pellets together?
Yes, you can incorporate both into the horse diet but not together. That’s because the feeding rules are so different. Make sure you give the right amount to keep a balanced diet.
Zunnun AhmedWe are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.
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