A number of animal species eat alfalfa hay, including different species of rabbits, cattle and horses. Alfalfa is also combined with grass, clover and other pasture when feeding swine.
Alfalfa is a perennial forage legume valued for its high roughage, high digestibility, and high protein and calcium content. It is an excellent source of fiber and energy and is the preferred forage for growing and active animals.
Alfalfa hay is a great feed for young and rapidly developing rabbits less than 6 months old. It contains high fiber, vitamins and minerals in a form that the digestive tract of young rabbits can handle. Its high concentration of protein and calcium in its tasty leafy part, however, is not advisable as main feed for adult rabbits as it may be too fattening and cause developmental diseases. It can be used to fatten up underweight rabbits, or as a calcium and protein supplement for rabbits when necessary.
Alfalfa hay is widely used as a pasture for high-producing dairy cows and recreational and active horses. Its higher level of calcium, protein and higher quality of fiber allow cows to produce more milk, and makes an excellent feed for horses that need bulk into their diets. Alfalfa is usually reserved as a lactation diet and as a supplement for protein and calcium to lactating dairy cows.