Horse FAQ's

Chaffhaye Alfalfa is a high-fiber forage and excellent source of protein. As fed from the bag, it contains 9% protein. The higher digestibility of Chaffhaye makes it especially ideal for young or growing animals, gestating mares, lactating mares, senior horses, working horses, as well as show and performance animals. Properly fed, the protein levels in Chaffhaye Alfalfa are not a concern for the even the pleasure horse.Chaffhaye Alfalfa offers a better than average level of digestible and a high level of Total Digestible Nutrition (TDN). A typical maintenance horse of say 1,100 pounds requires a minimum of 656 grams of crude protein each day. At our recommended level of feeding, the horse would receive about 900 grams of crude protein. This would be enough without overloading.

Yes. Many horse owners are discovering success in free-choice feeding of Chaffhaye, demonstrating a viable option for many. Many horses have been raised on dry hay and processed feeds with little exposure to natural grazing on pasture. As a result, many horses have developed poor eating patterns such as gorging massive quantities of forage in a few single sittings. Our experience has been that most horses on a Chaffhaye free-choice feeding program will eat more than is necessary during the first few weeks of introduction. Once accustomed to Chaffhaye, their eating habits typically drop back to a more reasonable level.

In some situations, “jumpiness” is simply a characteristic of the animal breed. Outside this scenario, the most frequent cause of “jumpiness” is a high amount of starch and sugar in the diet. As discussed earlier, starchy grains pass straight from the small intestine into the fermentation vat of the hindgut, creating digestive disturbances and abnormal behaviors. In contrast, Chaffhaye’s energy is derived from its digestible fiber, fat and protein. Therefore, Chaffhaye is not likely to cause sudden spikes of energy. In addition, Chaffhaye’s fermentation “pre-digests” the forage in the bag and therefore lowers the amount of sugars and starches. This is why Chaffhaye is often used as a buffer against incidence of starch overload and for preventing horses from getting “hot” or “high.”

In feeding our own horses and livestock and from speaking with thousands of horse owners over the years, we have found that most horses will go to Chaffhaye immediately. Because it is their basic nature to be suspicious of any new feed, some horses might need assistance getting started on Chaffhaye. For finicky eaters, we suggest top dressing Chaffhaye with something like apple sauce to get them started. Any change of feed, including change to Chaffhaye, should be introduced gradually over a week to minimize the possibility of digestive upsets. Once you have successfully introduced Chaffhaye, look out! Your horse won’t want anything else.

Yes. Animals have less intestinal fill because less Chaffhaye is required to achieve nutritional needs. Within ten days of feeding, the stomach will begin to tuck in. This makes Chaffhaye the ideal feed for saddled and show animals.

Chaffhaye is the perfect feed for older horses. The two main causes of body condition losses in older horses are poor teeth and reduce digestive ability. Being soft, Chaffhaye makes it easy for horses with few or no teeth to handle. Secondly and most importantly, Chaffhaye undergoes a sort of “pre-digestion” process in the bag. This “pre-digestion” is very similar to what occurs in the hindgut of the horse. So when your senior horse eats Chaffhaye it will absorb a significantly higher amount of the nutrition. Also, the “pre-digestion” allows the horse to absorb more nutrients in the foregut with less having to spill over to the hindgut. Examining the manure is one good way to determine how well your horse is digesting its forage. The presence of noticeable amounts of undigested stem and other plant matter is one sure sign that digestion is not proceeding efficiently. With Chaffhaye, you will notice not only a reduction in manure but the manure that is generated will have very little undigested plant matter. With a little bit of examination, one can quickly prove that a higher level of nutrient absorption occurs with Chaffhaye compared to baled hay. Chaffhaye contains natural probiotics in the form of yeast, digestive enzymes and other digestive bacterial cultures. These are produced during the natural fermentation that occurs in he bag. These all enhance the horses’s ability to absorb nutrients. Also, Chaffhaye’s natural plant moisture help maintain the fluid balance in the digestive system and reduce the chance for impaction.

Horses that are prone to founder must reduce their starch and sugars. Since Chaffhaye undergoes a fermentation, the sugars and starches are partially used as a food source by the beneficial bacteria doing the fermentation. The beneficial bacteria in essence take in the sugars and starches as a food source and turn them into a high quality protein. Chaffhaye Alfalfa is lower in sugars and starches than most commercial feeds which are specifically formulated for horses prone to founder. Further, the fermentation “predigest” the feed so more of the nutrients are digested in the foregut. This means less spill over into the hindgut where founder problems generally start. So Chaffhayeis a great forage for horses with sugar and starch issues.

This one of the best benefits of Chaffhaye. Animals with access to green pasture consume forage that is naturally high in moisture and plant juice. However, most horses today have little opportunity to experience natural grazing. As a result, studies estimate that 11% of all horses suffer from colic each year. To address this issue, Chaffhaye provides a moderate level of natural plant juice as well as beneficial plant sap, resin, gums, pectin and mucilages. Freshly preserved, Chaffhaye is also prized for its high fiber digestibility as well as its rich source of indigestible fiber that keeps the peristaltic motion of the horse’s digestion moving at the proper rate. This significantly lowers the risk of impaction and gas colic.

The process of fermentation, whether it occurs in the hindgut of a horse or in the Chaffhaye bag, produces gas. These gases arise from the work of the beneficial bacteria in breaking down the fiber to make the forage digestible. If the fermentation occurs in the hindgut, the horse must deal with that gas. In Chaffhaye, a large amount of that gas has already been dealt with before the horse eats the forage. The Chaffhaye bag is specially designed to expel the gas produced during fermentation. So Chaffhaye is not only “pre-digested” it is also “pre-gassed”.

Any feed, if not properly handled, can contain dangerous molds. To make the very best haylage, one must achieve the right moisture level in the forage, shut the oxygen supply off as soon as possible and pack the forage tightly to prevent oxygen ingress into the forage until it is ready to feed. With Chaffhaye produced in individual 50 lb. bags, we can produce very high quality forage that is higher in available nutrients than any other forage. Chaffhaye is harvested and processed within 14 hours of cutting. It is then vacuum compressed into an airtight bag to remove the majority of oxygen. This initiates a beneficial fermentation process that drops the pH to below 4.5, a level very similar to the pH in the hindgut of horses. The fermentation process exhausts residual oxygen that may be in the bag. Botulism can not grow under these acidic conditions. With no oxygen, mold can not grow. In summary, pH under 4.5 – no botulism. No oxygen, means no mold. Like any fresh product, Chaffhaye needs to be used within a reasonable period of time once the bag is open and exposed to air. In hot, humid summer conditions, the product should be consumed within about 7 days after opening the bag. During the winter, the product remains fresh for up to 3 weeks after opening.

How to store an open bag

Once opened, Chaffhaye acts like any fresh product. By opening the bag, the forage becomes exposed to oxygen and begins to lose its freshness. As a guide, Chaffhaye will remain fresh for 7 to 14 days, depending on weather conditions. For this reason, an opened bag should be stored out of the sun and re-closed to prolong freshness. Follow these 3 steps to ensure your Chaffhaye stays as fresh as possible.

Step 1
Open the bag

Use a knife or box opener to cut along the top seam of the bag.

Step 2
Roll the top back down

After removing the serving, roll the top back down and press out all the air. DO NOT TRANSFER PRODUCT INTO CONTAINER- this will reintroduce oxygen and shorten the shelf life. 

Step 3
Tape the top down

Or place a heavy object keep rolled down. Set in cool place. If storing for longer than one week, you may remove product to place in individual freezer bags and freeze to keep fresh.

The Best Method

The Chaffhaye bag is specifically engineered to extend the forage’s shelf-life. For that reason, we recommend always storing your Chaffhaye  inside the original bag. For best results, do not place inside containers as this can heat the product.

Where To Buy Chaffhaye Near You