Is Peanut Hay Good for Horses? Are Really Safe? Quick Facts!

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 08/09/22 •  8 min read

Have a huge pile of leftover peanut vines and are about to throw them away?

Wait……there is an awesome way to use them wisely in your firm.

Yeah, you guessed it right. This could be a great addition to your livestock.

Look, horses eat a lot of forage every day. They are herbivorous animals, fond of eating plant-based feed. Also, similar to cattle, they love grazing around for hay. But is peanut hay good for horses?

The answer is yes. 

Let’s go through this detailed guide about peanut hay’s nutritious value and why it is an excellent forage crop for the horse.

First……..Is peanut safe to feed horses?

Can horses eat peanuts hay?

Undoubtedly, peanut hay is safe to feed horses. 

This forage crop is pretty similar to alfalfa hay. Moreover, it contains high RFQ (Relative Forage Quality), making this hay suitable for pasture. 

Perennial peanuts are best grown in the Southern Coastal Plains and across the Florida Peninsula, benefiting farmers and ranchers in the Southern region. 

In recent times, researchers claim that peanut hay is an excellent feeding option for horses. It helps in,

However, you shouldn’t feed peanut hay to a mare. In this case, feed alfalfa hay because it has the required protein content to fulfill a mare’s nutritional feed. Remember to increase the protein requirement of a mare gradually and carefully. 

Other great benefits of peanut hay are……

Your horse will remain warm, especially in the winter. Additionally, peanut hay has some awesome benefits as a livestock feed.

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Great source of fats

Peanut hay is rich in fats. Impressively, it contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, helping your horse maintain good health.

Excellent source of protein

Of its total calories, peanut hay has 20% – 23% protein. Peanut hay can be the best choice if you are looking for plant-based protein for your horse.

Low carbs

After consuming peanut hay, it enters the bloodstream immediately due to the 13% – 16% carb content. While other hay has more than 20% carb content and takes much time to get into the bloodstream. So, your horse will not gain unnecessary weight.

Peanut hay’s nutritional value

Peanut hay grows in the subtropical region, containing energy content and high protein. This hay type can easily be used as an alternative to alfalfa hay.

Here is why…….

Peanuts hay comes with an outstanding nutritional profile. Different minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fiber are available in peanut hay.

According to NCBI, the nutritional value of peanut hay includes the following,

Check the below chart as well,

NutrientsPer 450 g
Digestive energy0.97 kcal
Crude Protein41.25 g
Lysine1.17 g
Calcium4.81 g
Phosphorus0.68 g
Magnesium0.88 g
Potassium8.01 g
Sulfur1.12 g
Sodium0.08 g
Chlorine2.84 g
Iron80.1 g
Zinc10.01 g
Copper2.8 g
Manganese12.02 g
Sugar20.87 g
Starch14.1 g
Soluble Fiber68.53 g

Get it? Now you can feed peanut hay to the horse diet without hesitation as it is packed with proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins.  

The thumb rule is that if you decide to change your horse’s diet plan, don’t do it drastically. While introducing peanut hay instead of alfalfa hay, slowly do it to avoid upsetting your horse’s pasture. Help your horse adjust to the new diet. 

Is Peanut hay good for horses

Is Peanut hay good for horses with ulcers?

Although, clinical signs are unavailable if your horse has ulcers. Typical signs are,

Whether peanut hay is suitable for horses with ulcers, you need to know the contributing factors to ulcers.

1. High sugar and starch diets

Lactic acid production may occur if the hay contains high starch. The acid acts synergistically with gastric acid, causing ulcers.  

2. Low forage consumption

Saliva is significantly vital for neutralizing gastric. Horses generate saliva when chewing. But due to lack of forage, saliva can’t be developed, increasing the chance of ulcers.

So what does it means?

According to point # 1, you shouldn’t feed your horses high-sugar and starch-contained hay. Peanut hay has a high level of sugar and starch which will cause ulcers. 

While keeping point # 2 in mind, don’t think of feeding much peanut hay if your ponies have ulcers. Instead of peanut hay, consider providing them with alfalfa hay. 

However, maintain the below points while feeding your horse with ulcers to minimize the health complication,

Is peanut hay high in protein?

Yes, peanut hay is high in protein. 

It offers 41.25 g of Crude protein in 450 g of peanut hay. Generally, mature horses need less protein than growing horses. The protein requirement for a growing horse is 12% – 18%. This % ensures proper development and growth.

For peanut hay’s high protein level, peanut hay provides the below benefits.

Develops topline of a horse

Many horse owners poorly understand the necessity of peanut hay protein content. It is necessary for body maintenance and developing the topline. Protein breaks down into amino acids that make up muscles. 

Good for bones

Since horses run a lot when traveling or outside. For this reason, proper build of the bones is of utmost essential. In such cases, peanut hay protein can help develop the strength of bones.

Related: Do you want to know how much it will cost to have your horse’s wolf teeth extracted? Learn more about the cost, procedure, and advantages of wolf tooth removal for horses.

Now….Is peanut hay better than alfalfa as horse feed?

Let’s see the difference; then you will decide which one is better.

Nutrient level

Alfalfa hay is the preferred feeding option for horses by many horse owners as it has many minerals and proteins. 

This hay has 25% – 30% of proteins.

Also, horses and other animals love alfalfa to eat. You don’t have to worry whether your horse will consume it. Your horse will run faster as it provides a high amount of energy. Moreover, alfalfa hay offers many vitamins, keeping your horse’s health in good shape. In addition, a higher calcium level ensures proper growth and strengthens teeth and bones.

On the other side, Peanut hay has a lower protein level of 20% – 23% than alfalfa. 

Also, it doesn’t have as many nutrients as alfalfa. Although it contains many nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, etc., the amount is not as high as alfalfa.

Related: Find out if blue stem hay is a good option for your horse’s diet. Learn about the nutritional value of this hay and its potential health benefits for your horse.


The start of spring is the best time to harvest alfalfa. 

However, it depends entirely on your location. One thumb rule of harvesting alfalfa is that the field must be cut several times at the beginning of the spring season. The reason is the nutrient quality is still high at this time. Thus, the stems and leaves store the nutrients.

Peanut hay mainly grows well in Florida. 

While harvesting peanuts and hay, ensure that excess soil is not available in the roots. Also, there shouldn’t be any pods left behind. Don’t put them under direct sunlight; the plant should be placed in a dry and warm location.


Price is always important when choosing between peanut hay and alfalfa hay.

You will get 50 lbs. of alfalfa hay at $20. On the other hand, peanut hay will cost you $24/ 50 lbs. At this point, if you combine both peanut and alfalfa, the cost will be affordable.

Here, we can say that peanut hay is not much better than alfalfa hay. 

In fact, you can’t distinguish them because they offer pretty similar benefits. Alfalfa is more nutritious than peanut hay, keeping your horse in good shape. In reality, alfalfa hay is always better for horses, and peanut hay is an excellent alternative to alfalfa hay.

So what are our findings?

Both contain almost similar benefits and nutritious value, but the thing is horses love grazing peanut hay compared to alfalfa (probably for its fine texture).

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Here is a table comparing peanut hay and alfalfa for horses:

What is the difference between peanut hay vs alfalfa?

PointPeanut hayAlfalfa
Nutrient contentProtein, fiber, energyProtein, calcium
Fiber contentModerate to highHigh
Energy contentModerate to highHigh
Suitability for weight maintenanceGoodGood
Suitability for performanceGoodGood
Suitability for pregnancy and lactationGoodGood


As we can see…….

Studies on the effects of peanut hay on horses are limited, but there is some evidence that it may be beneficial.

Some studies have shown that peanut hay can improve the coat and health of horses, while others suggest that it could reduce inflammation and inflammation-related diseases. More research is needed to determine the benefits of peanut hay for horses definitively, but it appears to be a potentially helpful supplement.

Zunnun Ahmed

We 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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