When given a choice, mares in recent University of Kentucky research ate more timothy or alfalfa than teff.

Two studies evaluated the acceptability by horses of teff, a summer-annual grass that has been gaining popularity. Two teff varieties were compared to timothy and mid-maturity alfalfa in separate experiments.

In each trial, four mature mares were offered a combination of two hays each day. The hays were offered in side-by-side hay nets for two, one-hour periods for three consecutive days.

In the first period, 9 lbs of each hay were offered. After an hour, the hay nets were taken away for an hour, then the mares were offered new hay nets for an hour with the same hay combination, but with the right-left positions reversed. Hay nets were weighed to determine the intake of each hay.

In the first experiment, the animals consumed more alfalfa than teff, and in the second, more timothy than teff. In both trials, they ate more of one teff variety than the other, but the reason for that preference hasn't been determined, say the researchers.