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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    6,749

    Default Feeding soaked hay/alfalfa pellets? How-to??

    Here's the situation: I have a 27 year old TB (boarder) whose teeth are wearing out. He is losing weight, going into our coldest months, and I need to keep or add some weight. His teeth/shots/etc. are all up to date, he's still in decent weight and an eager eater of everything I've ever tried.

    Currently, he gets a flake of alfalfa AM/PM as he seems to eat it more easily than the orchard (2nd cut, fine and soft) that I also offer him. He gets 1.5, five gallon buckets of soaked BP with a pound of rolled oats, 5 cups of rice bran meal and vitamins in two feedings.

    I'd like to up his calories and roughage intake and thought of adding soaked hay pellets or cubes and/or soaked alfalfa pellets. But..I've never fed those before. How do you soak them--like BP? Is there a ratio of water to pellets? Time? How much should I feed per day? Is there another product(s) that might be better?

    I'll see his owner this weekend, and ask her what she'd like to do. If he has to go to a senior feed or I have to spend a lot more in feed, I suppose I'll need to raise his rather modest board bill, too.

    Thanks--I knew this day would be coming, and while he's still doing well, I like my guys "fat and happy" and it pains me to see him so angular
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    The cubes I used to use took about 45min in warm water to soak thru the center. I did not measure water as I was trying to get as much water in this old gent as possible. Basically the hubby always got up in the morning about 30 minute b4 I did. So I had the bucket of everything measured out and he flooded the cubes with warm tap water. When I woke up I added more water if needs be. 30 minutes later I was out the door serving the old man a warm meal.

    Cubes meet the course fiber rule requirement so if he is having issues getting enough hay down then it is advisable to use cubes vs pellets. But I have had ancient horse or 2 that had issues even getting soaked cubed down....so I used pellets. They were 30ish tho and in the last year.

    Had to start my retiree on some Senior and very fine alfalfa this year too. I hate watching old friends age. He still eats the grass hay ok....but I see changes and I do not like it. By next winter I figure there will be more changes.

    FYI...add a bit of oil to the soaked cubes and it helps get the soaked cubes down even better. I put a cup in each his AM and PM bucket.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 16, 2006
    Posts
    610

    Default

    I did pretty much what D Taylor said.

    I was giving 2 quarts (dry measure) cubes, and poured 5 L of hot-but-not-quite-boiling water from the kettle over them and stirred them to break them down. Waited ten minutes, then another 5 L or so to get to the cubes that were still firm. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then added some cold water to cool it down and stirred again.

    45 minutes to get to the barn, it had cooled down pretty well. I added 2 cups of canola oil, multi vit/min supplement (cherry flavour to help entice him to eat), some rice-bran based feed, and a high fat weight supplement, Equine Power 2000.

    My guy was fussy enough that the cubes had to have some other things in there he wouldn't eat the mush. The oil and Equine Power 2000 (cheap but very effective) helped add weight and shine to his coat. Worked great, except for when it was too soupy and my guy would dump it out or eat it really slowly (in sub-zero temps while I stood outside with him!)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by OTV View Post
    I did pretty much what D Taylor said.

    I was giving 2 quarts (dry measure) cubes, and poured 5 L of hot-but-not-quite-boiling water from the kettle over them and stirred them to break them down. Waited ten minutes, then another 5 L or so to get to the cubes that were still firm. Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, then added some cold water to cool it down and stirred again.

    45 minutes to get to the barn, it had cooled down pretty well. I added 2 cups of canola oil, multi vit/min supplement (cherry flavour to help entice him to eat), some rice-bran based feed, and a high fat weight supplement, Equine Power 2000.

    My guy was fussy enough that the cubes had to have some other things in there he wouldn't eat the mush. The oil and Equine Power 2000 (cheap but very effective) helped add weight and shine to his coat. Worked great, except for when it was too soupy and my guy would dump it out or eat it really slowly (in sub-zero temps while I stood outside with him!)
    Argh...I hate the dumpers too. A friend broke the lid off big cooler and used it in the winter to help keep things from freezing up. Since I fed my old guy in the barn I really did not have freezing issues much. I asked her if her horse flipped it over and she said not once. Some people have all the luck and the rest of us get the slobs!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2011
    Location
    Upatoi, GA
    Posts
    622

    Default

    I have been soaking alfalfa cubes with the beetpulp pellets and it works just fine! I like to cubes because it is more of a chopped texture than pellets, which are basically ground. Horses don't really seem to have a preference I soak between feedings with cold water, and the cubes soften up really well as long as there is enough water in the bucket. I fill a 5 gal bucket halfway with water for 1.5 qt beet pulp pellets + 1.5qt alfalfa cubes.
    Founder & President, Dapplebay, Inc.
    Creative Director, Equestrian Culture Magazine
    Take us to print!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    6,749

    Default

    Thanks guys! I soaked a quart of alf and quart of hay pellets last night, and he scarfed it all up, in addition to his massive tub of BP! He's quite the happy eater, and has never turned his nose up at anything--heck, I can toss ground up bute in there and he'll happily munch it up.

    I am going to get cubes next time (our uber-expensive local feed store doesn't carry them...grrr...of course they also told me crimped oats are the same as rolled...so they aren't the best for advice/knowledge, either).

    I hate feeding oil, so I'll stick with rice bran for now, but will switch if that proves more calorically necessary.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Posts
    447

    Default

    Having kept a pony to 46, a trick my vet gave to me was mixing the alfalfa cubes with old fashioned calf manna and purina athlete for oil and then making it into a soup. Gave the pony enough calories along with enough fiber. kept her going with no teeth for almost 4 years.



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