Types of Grass Hay

You may be aware that there are many types of animals that need grass hay as a primary staple in their diet, but what you may not know is that there is more than one type of grass hay. Not only are there different kinds of hay, but they are also categorized as either being a warm season grass or a cool season grass, depending on the time of year the seed was planted.

Timothy Hay

Timothy hay is a slow-growing bunchgrass and is considered to be a cool season grass. It grows in spring and early summer when days are warm and nights are cool. It will then grow again in late summer and early fall. When buying timothy hay, most sellers will refer to it as either a first or second cutting depending on what part of the year it was cut, dried and baled. Timothy hay is generally considered a good grass source of forage for horses with digestive system issues or for horses that need to put on weight. It is also given to rabbits and guinea pigs as a forage source.

Orchard Hay

Orchard grass hay is a cool season clumping grass that is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia, but is quite popular in the United States and has been grown as a grassy hay in many parts of the country for more than 200 years. A fast-growing grass, orchard grass is typically cut three times a year during its growing season, with cuttings on an average of about every 50 days. It is very similar in appearance to timothy hay, but often has a higher protein and fat count. It can be substituted for timothy hay or mixed with it to provide a wider range of vitamins and minerals.

Bermuda Grass Hay

Bermuda grass hay is a warm season bunchgrass that grows during the summer when hot days are followed with warm nights. It is a popular hay to grow for horses in the southern part of the United States because of its ability to withstand drought, and it can thrive in almost any type of soil conditions. It is not recommended for horses that are prone to colic since this type of grass sometimes has a tendency to form a clump or ball when it is digested. It can also be a problem for horses with founder, as this type of grass is considered to be rather high in carbohydrates.

Keywords: types of hay, grass hay, alternative hays

About this Author

Kate Hornsby has been a professional pet sitter for a number of years and a small business owner for over twenty. She is the current Atlanta Pets Examiner and has written several articles on pet care and operating a small business. Hornsby attended the Academy of Art online, studying Interior Architecture and Design while pursuing commercial flight training at Aviation Atlanta in Georgia.