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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    1,962

    Default Toothless horse: any suggestions how to separate leaves from stemmy alfalfa?

    Our older horse has lost weight due to bad dental situation (ok, he's not 'toothless' per se but his molars are flat), and he can no longer chew hay or grass... we are finding lots of ways to get food (Senior, chopped hay) into him and I recently bought a bale of that Standlee compressed premium alfalfa because it has A LOT of leafy, powdery matter which this horse can (and LOVES to) eat.

    But the hay ALSO has tons of stems, so I'm looking for ways to shake out the soft leafy material, in an efficient manner.

    1. I tried putting it in a haynet and shaking - too many stems still shake out.

    2. Tried putting it in a big plastic bag with a small hole at the bottom, and shaking it. Better, but still not perfect (I'd stick with this if I don't find a better solution).

    Ideas?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2011
    Location
    British Columbia, Canada
    Posts
    734

    Default

    ... soaked cubes



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    He gets some.

    I'm looking for ideas on how to shake out soft matter from alfalfa.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
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    Default

    I'm facing a similar dilemma. So I've been searching for methods on the internet, and came up with a study on using alfalfa stems for fuel. In the article, the scientific method included the following:

    "METHODOLOGY
    Samples from eleven randomly-selected harvest lots of alfalfa hay from each of first, second, and third cuttings were subjected to a leaf-stem separation process. Hay bales from each lot were sampled with a coring tool (50.8 mm diam) designed to sample baled wool. For each harvest lot, a hay sample was divided into two equal fractions with a riffle-splitter. One fraction was leaf-screened once with a Number 32 sieve (12.7 mm diam) and then twice again with a Number 12 (3.2 mm diam) to separate leaves from stems. "

    So now I'm trying to figure out if screening would be cost/time effective.

    Checkout out this contraption for ideas (not that I'd buy it, but its along the line I was thinking -- some way to shake out the leaves by screening into a wheelbarrow or tub: http://brockwoodfarm.com/).



  5. #5
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    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    Twelvegates, exactly what I want - something with 'just' the right size screen (openings) so that it would work. Since the haynet didn't work great, I've been wondering if there's another kind of netting out there with MUCH smaller holes... thought I'd go to Home Depot to look around, or maybe mosquito netting? No, those holes would be TOO small, right? I feel like there's something obvious out there that I'm not thinking of!!
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
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  7. #7
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    May. 23, 2002
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twelvegates View Post
    Oooh, the 2nd link, 2nd pic with the pvc chicken netting ! Got to check out pvc chicken netting......looks like a good hole size? (the other one was way too small)
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2009
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
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    Default

    Yeah -- I agree.

    I'll get the "engineer/loves to build contraptions" spouse to take a look at it and see what he can devise!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2007
    Location
    Iowa
    Posts
    837

    Default

    We fed our toothless old guy soaked beet pulp and alfalfa pellets for 7 years after he choked on hay. Choke is no fun for anybody. I wouldn't even attempt to feed him hay. Ours lived quite well on his mush with a small amount of additional grain. He was 37 when we had to put him down due to an unrelated accident. He would quid some grass but appeared quite happy with his feed situation.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
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    2,561

    Default

    Try hardware cloth....it is metal screening used for things like rabbit cages. A square of it on a frame over a wheel barrow and just rub the alfalfa on the cloth...might do it. Lots of work though and doesn't give the fiber that the stems have that he actually needs for hindgut function. I'd go with soaked cubes...longest length stem sections are about 1-1.5 inches and it is easy enough to use. Friends older pony lived very well on soaked cubes and some senior feed for about 6-7 years and was completely toothless.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by twelvegates View Post
    Yeah -- I agree.

    I'll get the "engineer/loves to build contraptions" spouse to take a look at it and see what he can devise!
    You're lucky you have one of those
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  12. #12
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    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by coloredcowhorse View Post
    Try hardware cloth....it is metal screening used for things like rabbit cages. A square of it on a frame over a wheel barrow and just rub the alfalfa on the cloth...might do it. Lots of work though and doesn't give the fiber that the stems have that he actually needs for hindgut function. I'd go with soaked cubes...longest length stem sections are about 1-1.5 inches and it is easy enough to use. Friends older pony lived very well on soaked cubes and some senior feed for about 6-7 years and was completely toothless.
    Yeah, I realize this and he does get some cubes - though he doesn't really like them, and I have to resort to soaking them with apple juice or molasses for him to even look at it. He really doesn't like any sort of wet food unless it's bran mash. Tried beet pulp and he literally ran to the back of his stall and glared at us like we were evil.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  13. #13
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    Nov. 1, 2010
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    I use a leaf shreader/blower to chop up hay and even to chop "chopped" hay again for my older guy. I put it in a big dish and he noses through it and picks out what he wants.

    He also gets soaked alfalfa cubes and soaked hay stretcher pellets. He had lost some weight earlier this year when he started having trouble (he had two molars pulled) Now he needs to go on a diet!



  14. #14
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    May. 23, 2002
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    Default

    I've considered leaf shredders, even went and tried one that was on Craigslist but it only chops to 4 inches in length. Would have to run through again, and was kinda messy. Decided I would stick with the TNT chops or Lucerne dengie, even though at 1 1/2 inches in fiber length, I wish I could get it even smaller.

    Hmm.... I wonder if I could put soaked cubes or dry dengie in a blender?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 4, 2007
    Location
    Western Washington
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    3,093

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Iride View Post
    Hmm.... I wonder if I could put soaked cubes or dry dengie in a blender?
    Your life would end as you know it. Blending is all you'd get done for the day. If you decide to go that route, you might try the paint mixer attachment for a power drill. At least then you could prepare a reasonable amount of food at a time.

    My BO has talked about sifting alfalfa leaves for his mare. He used a large-mesh screen, mounted on a frame. He said it took him a couple hours a day. Whether that's an exaggeration or not, I don't know.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
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    Default

    Home made stainer might do the trick. I am thinking a screen, plastic, perhaps from the lawn & garden section that is open 1/4" by 1/4", it comes in a roll, I think in black. Get some 1" x 2" boards and frame the screen. Place your framed stainer over a muck tub and let the loose hay fall through.... leaving the stems in the stainer.

    Let me know if you do this and it works....



  17. #17
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    May. 23, 2002
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    Default

    Thanks HealingHeart, I am looking into this
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



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