Oat hay can make a good forage for horses. Oat hay is high in fiber and the oats are already included in the feeding.
Horses love it because there is a surprise in almost every bite, it’s also a great hay if you can find it. An oats/lucerne mix is much richer and higher in protein, but great for growing horses and brood mares. It also works well as bedding, just as straw does.
The nutritional value will be depended on the stage of maturity the crop was at harvest.
When compared to lucerne cut at the same level of maturity as oat hay, oat hay is lower in crude protein and lower in digestible energy. That being said, the horse needs to eat more pounds of dry matter per day to meet it’s requirements.
For those horses that are confined, chewing on oat hay might provide enough chew time to reduce other behaviors that owners would prefer them not to have.
Oat hay is a good choice when available. Typically less expensive than lucerne, oat hay is often better suited for sedentary horses because of a lower protein content.