Barley Straw/Hay?

Discussion in 'Feeding Horses' started by painter, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. painter

    painter Well-known Member

    Does anyone feed Barley straw or Hay as a low nutrient fibre/filler? I need an alternative to oaten hay for our piggy pony...he needs bulk so he dosn't feel left out and get cranky at the big horses, but without the nutrition that oaten hay has. I'm reluctant to feed meadow hay unless I can get it tested for ARGT.

    I've been doing some research and it appears that it is not uncommon to feed horses barley straw overseas (or here in Australia in times of drought) and that it has about 8% protein. There may be a minimal risk of nitrate poisoning *if* the barley was still growing as a crop cereal when cut for hay/straw.

    How can I tell if the barley was still growing or not, or is there a specific term for the difference? What is the difference between straw and hay when it comes to Barley?

    Last question (more out of curiosity than need to know;) I've seen 'frosted barley' advertised (I am guessing that this has been damaged/stunted by frost? If it is damaged, what can it be used for?

    Just adding this link re: feeding barley straw for overweight/laminitic horses
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  2. jacko88

    jacko88 Well-known Member

    If it is barley hay then it would've been a living crop when cut and left to cure before being baled.
    If it is barley straw then the crop would've been left to ripen and die before being harvested, once harvested the stalks that are left are cut and baled.

    A crop that has been frosted normally has grain that hasn't formed properly due to weather conditions. Last season I baled frosted wheat into hay and it was really good. Horses loved it and did really well from it. Have never done any barley though.
  3. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Barley straw as Jacko says should not be at risk of nitrate poisoning. It is softer and more digestible than oat or wheat straw, but low in sugar and protein. I used to feed it to our Shetland - I don't think he ate much but it kept him occupied sifting through it when in the Jenny Craig yard. You could expect him to develop a real good hay belly on it though as it is low quality high fibre stuff.
    We had mountains of frosted barley being made into hay after the big September frost in 2008. It makes very good hay but is HIGHER in sugar than oaten hay, so Painter you want the STRAW not hay. Barley hay will look lie oaten, greener and with visible seed heads in it. We have about 1,000 bales of barley straw free to a good home if you want to come and get some!! (It was baled to build our house but we have now been delayed for so long that the bales have lost their structure and are no use for building. Nothing wrong with the straw itself though).
  4. painter

    painter Well-known Member

    Thanks that is so good to know! LOL its barley straw I have located (big round bales that are actually for my vegie patch, LOL as much as piggy pony is such a pain in the butt, I do feel sorry for him at night as he stands in his yard so dejected looking while the others continue eating. (And I can't let him out of his double stranded electric yard coz he stresses the others out trying to get into their yards!)

    $20 bucks a roll is cheaper than oaten hay as well;)

    Wish you wern't so far away Anna, hubby would probably take all your straw for building his contour chanels next winter! Although the big barley field across the road is being harvested right now, it would be really cool if they bale that up because it would be easier to cart over here on a tractor than the other rolls that will have to go on my float.
  5. painter

    painter Well-known Member

    Just an update for anyone interested, I got Barley Straw (neighbours barley field across the road was harvested last week), and piggy pony absolutely loves the stuff, and after the first feed of it he is actually knickering and whuffling when he sees me coming with his feed bin (LOL I'm sure he thought I was just a stingy tight ar$e not giving him much food before;)
  6. marinochkawe

    marinochkawe Guest

    Thank you for*your posts!*Very interesting!
  7. realalvin

    realalvin New Member

    I'd like to use hay bag more often.It is more convenient.I am extremely picky.I only use several brands,Harrison Howard hay bag,Weatherbeeta hay bag or Horseware hay bag.Because they are all designed well.

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