Why grass clippings are bad
But why is cut grass bad for horses? It doesn’t seem to make sense, since they eat mostly the same grass on the other side of the fence and the hay we feed is just cut and dried grasses. But even though the grass may technically be the same variety, it’s not the same as a fresh mouthful in your pasture or hay that’s been properly cured. The issues:
- Grass from your lawn may contain fertilizers or anti-weed (herbicide) or anti-insect (pesticide) chemicals that should not be consumed by horses.
- Recently cut grass doesn’t dry uniformly, leaving wet clumps that can ferment and grow mold and mildew. Microbes introduced this way can cause colic in horses. Unlike lawn clippings, hay grass is tetted and sometimes re-tetted (spread out evenly in a thin layer) and dried/cured in the field before baling.
- A mouthful of small cuttings may be quickly consumed by a horse. The small, wet clumps can compact and stick in a horse throat. Hay or fresh grass is chewed in manageable amounts.
- The horse digestive system works best with consistent feeding. It adapts well but not quickly (as in day-to-day). Sudden shifts can lead to digestive problems and laminitis.