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Benefits and Drawbacks of Hay Pellets as Livestock Feed

When it comes to feeding livestock, hay bales are probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, hay pellets are a possible alternative. Before deciding what to use for the forage part of livestock’s diets, it is necessary to weights the benefits and drawbacks of hay pellets.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage is that hay pellets require less storage space than hay bales. This is especially useful if storage is limited. And, for that matter, the (fewer) materials needed to store these pellets are cheaper. In general, if one is particularly strapped—either in terms of money or in terms of storage resources—hay pellets are certainly worth considering. 

When hay pellets are bagged and distributed, it is required that some nutritional analysis be done on them. This is not the case with hay bales. Therefore, it is easier to make an informed purchase with hay pellets, whereas with hay bales it is oftentimes a shot in the dark.

Hay pellets have some health benefits for horses, too. For one, they attract less dust than bales. Eating dusty hay can be very damaging to livestock’s respiratory systems, so hay pellets can mitigate this issue—if not avoid it altogether. Moreover, hay pellets are easier to chew and digest. These two factors are extremely important for horses that are growing in age, when teeth health may begin to fade and when digestive system function may be a bit shaky.

That’s not to say that hay pellets are without any drawbacks. Firstly, easier chewing is not necessarily a boon. Chewing is actually hugely beneficial to livestock for the reason that it releases saliva, which contains chemicals that act as a buffer to stomach acid. It’s best for livestock—in particular, horses—to chew as much as possible because they are always releasing stomach acid, so the more protection, the better. Since livestock may spend less time eating hay pellets as a result of this easier chewing, this may also cause increased boredom, which can lead to some annoying—if not dangerous—habits that livestock will adopt during this free time.

While hay pellets are easier to chew and digest, there is also a greater risk of choking, so caution should be taken in this regard, too.

Hay pellets are certainly a reasonable option as livestock feed. Before using them, though, one should always be sure to look at the potential drawbacks and advantages of this method of feeding.

 

Posted By: The Hay Manager

Posted on: 06/25/2017
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