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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2005
    Location
    Elmwood, Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,384

    Default What is hay stretcher?

    I understand alfalfa pellets. I understand hay cubes: I know
    beet pulp. I get complete feed. But what the heck is hay
    stretcher? I have not seen Blue Seal products, don't think
    they are sold in my area. We have Purina and Nutrena and
    a few smaller brands. So what is in a hay stretcher? Or is
    it some sort of mixture?
    Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
    Elmwood, Wisconsin



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    13,994



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2001
    Location
    San Jose, CA
    Posts
    1,232

    Default

    Is it just pelleted hay?

    If so, I've found pelleted hay useful for feeding supplements. My horse won't eat the supplements only (even though they are pellets) and I don't want to feed him grain, so I use a cup of timothy hay pellets and that does the trick to get him to eat. I use Standlee brand.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 2, 2005
    Location
    Upstate NY
    Posts
    13,994

    Default

    No, it is not just pelleted hay.
    At least Blue Seal Hay Stretcher is not just pelleted hay. There are things that are pelleted hay, this is not one of them.

    Per the link I posted above, Blue Seal Hay stretcher includes:

    Oat Hulls, Soybean Hulls, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal,
    Wheat Middlings, Cane Molasses, Calcium
    Carbonate.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2007
    Location
    North-Central IL
    Posts
    5,640

    Default

    I've always assumed it was a cutesy name for hay pellets
    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    That's got to be expensive, how much oil can you press out of a chipmunk?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 2, 2004
    Location
    Whidbey Is, Wash.
    Posts
    10,534

    Default

    I always thought of it as mostly hay . The addition of soy hulls, cane molasses, etc, make it a definite NOT for "just pelleted hay." It can definitely be useful, but OP, if you are having luck feeding pelleted timothy for supps, keep doing that. No need to add extra sugar to the diet if not necessary, and some horses are sensitive to soy.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 11, 2011
    Posts
    1,395

    Default

    Robin,

    There are several ways to deal with drought, forage insecurity, or whatever folks wish to call it.

    First there are hay subst. This is fiber that does meet a 1 inch coarse fiber standard and touted as needed to maintian a healthy gut. Examples of hay subst would be hay cubes, straws, odd ball hays such as pea hay and soybean hay and more. Yes these do provide long stem fiber and chew time. But each of these has its own set of benefits and draw backs. Each it own nutritional profile. And each its own individual concerns/limits within a ration.

    2nd there are hay stretchers. Hay stretchers are are also fiber and high fiber alternative feeds. Examples would be brans, soybean hulls, cotton seed hulls, oat hulls, hay pellets and much, much more. I also put beet pulp but many label it a subst with some restrictions. You get to decide for yourself. Same as before...benefits and drawbacks to each of these ingredients.

    Hay stretcher pellets on the market can be a single ingredient or a blend and the list of the ingredients is on the label. You really need to know what is in them to feed them correctly. Just for example hay pellets and SBH pellets are considered "dummy proof".

    Finally there are fall forages that can be planted. Cereal grains and annual grasses that of been selected for rapid stem growth and to take advantage of fall rains. Other species such as brassica that cattle can eat. These can be grazed well into winter.

    Building a drought ration does not create brain drain.....just pocket book drain...

    You start with a min 1% of the horses BW in hay, pasture or appropriate hay subst. From there you add hay stretchers roughly but not exactly pound for pound to meet for horse's noraml forage intake. Then you pull from concentrates keeping in mind you want the higher fiber concentrates/lower calorie (just for example oats vs corn).

    Last winter my horses on average ate 17lbs of hay daily and 2.5lbs of custom blended high protien/high fat feed.

    This winter unless I ferret out more hay they will eat 9lbs of hay and 7-8lb of my drought blend. It is 20% crude fiber and contains many of those hay stretcher ingredients. They will end up consuming similar calories etc. Feed form and caloric/nutritional density changes tho. So I will be hopping feeding small meals (likely 4 during hard winter) to keep them happy.

    Hope to ferret up more hay is I am a big believer in the 1% of BW coarse fiber rule, but I am prepared to survive and thrive if I can not.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2012
    Posts
    1,961

    Default

    I've been using Blue Seal Hay Stretcher for 3 months now to supplement the harder keepers (all over age 25) who are on pasture alone; it compares very favorably with the far more expensive "Senior" foods and it is a million times more palatable--the picky guys who won't clean up a ration of beet-pulp based Senior foods not only love this and eat all I feed them, they go looking for even more! Their weight is better than it was on Senior, they're shiny and dappled and energetic for a bunch of old guys.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,986

    Default

    Thanks for asking the question. I think it goes along with ration balancer as being something "newfangled" to me.

    So basically it is a source of fiber intended to supplement a more traditional ration - a source of bulk and satisfaction of the chew urge but not a complete feed, not meant to replace hay or grass but to add to it, to stretch it so you needn't feed quite so much?

    I always think of hulls as being floor sweepings but I'm aware that cows can quite efficiently convert cellulose to sugars through the commensal bacteria in the rumen and horses have some ability to do the same thing in the cecum, it's not half as efficient though.

    Is hay stretcher something that can be used for weight gain? I'm thinking it's not the best choice - am I wrong or right or does it depend?

    ETA D Taylor, hay pellets are hay stretchers because they don't meet the 1 inch rule? So those tim pellets the old guy prefers would be best served as cubes - where do the Standlee mini cubes fall in - that's what they call them, like frosted mini wheats vs shredded wheat I guess, not exactly the same stuff any more.
    Last edited by ReSomething; Jul. 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM. Reason: boy do I miss back when you had fewer choices
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2007
    Location
    North-Central IL
    Posts
    5,640

    Default

    Not D Taylor, but I'm pretty sure the only time you need to be concerned about 'needing' the 1 inch fiber/cubes is if the horse isn't getting any other long stem fiber like hay/straw.

    I didn't realize there was so much to this hay stretcher product!
    Quote Originally Posted by enjoytheride View Post
    That's got to be expensive, how much oil can you press out of a chipmunk?



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

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ReSomething View Post
    Thanks for asking the question. I think it goes along with ration balancer as being something "newfangled" to me.

    So basically it is a source of fiber intended to supplement a more traditional ration - a source of bulk and satisfaction of the chew urge but not a complete feed, not meant to replace hay or grass but to add to it, to stretch it so you needn't feed quite so much?

    I always think of hulls as being floor sweepings but I'm aware that cows can quite efficiently convert cellulose to sugars through the commensal bacteria in the rumen and horses have some ability to do the same thing in the cecum, it's not half as efficient though.

    Is hay stretcher something that can be used for weight gain? I'm thinking it's not the best choice - am I wrong or right or does it depend?

    ETA D Taylor, hay pellets are hay stretchers because they don't meet the 1 inch rule? So those tim pellets the old guy prefers would be best served as cubes - where do the Standlee mini cubes fall in - that's what they call them, like frosted mini wheats vs shredded wheat I guess, not exactly the same stuff any more.
    To be honest I have never purchased the mini cubes....do not know the coarseness range they are milled to.

    As for your old guy and the coarse fiber rule. Generally yes it is a better idea to adhere to the rule. BUT, like any rule there are reasons to break it. Have owned a couple ancient ones....so ancient even soaked cubes were beyond their means to consume. They "drank" sloppy hay pellets mixed with their crockpot delite (feed slow cooked soft in the crockpot).

    Hay stretchers would be appropriate for weight gain if the individual you are feeding is lacking a diet in quality fiber. For most skinny mini's total calories is the issue. However my hard keeper is a slow eater....a bit of a picker. Hay pellets do help him with his weight. The pellet form is easier to get a little more fiber down.

    As for hulls etc being floor sweepings, I am of the mindset that good and bad ingredients do not exist. There is however appropriate use of ingredients. I know already the makers of SB hull flakes and pellets are having afew issues keeping up with demand. I am a heavy user of SBH pellets in this drought for many reasons.....they are far,far from floor sweepings and the plants that make them pretty nifty.....nothing on the floor there! I chatted yesterday with my local mill owner about "what next" if the supply gets short. He did not have a good answer...

    He knows what I know and soyhulls are quality ingredients.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    8,200

    Default

    I've used haystretcher for years, the Blue Seal brand. It is a large, cylindrical pellet that you can add water to to turn it into mush if you don't want your horse eating pellets for fear of choke. The other brands hae smaller sized pellets, and some have a lower sugar content, if that is an issue.

    I've added one to two pounds per feeding to elderly horses' feed who have difficulty chewing hay and need help keeping the weight on, two to three times a day. It works.

    It also works in combination with grain to keep the weight on without using so much grain that your grain bill goes through the roof. My draft crossbred gets it in combination with Triple Crown Senior for that reason and to keep the sugar down in his diet, particularly in the winter, where each feeding is a 1:1 ratio of that blend. Even though he has excellent access to hay and pasture, he still gets this, and loves it. I also used it this way on a horse who had had 70 percent of his small intestine removed and re-sectioned. What should have been left looking skinny was kept in great weight with this combination, 3-4 times a day.

    For toothless oldsters and those prone to choke (or to prevent it, if you choose) add water to the grain/haystretcher mixture to soften it or turn it to mush. Check out different brands to find the one you want. Nurtrena makes a small pellet; I don't know about the others.

    You can also feed it solo for a snack, or use individual pellets as treats. It is sold in a 50 pound bag.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,986

    Default

    Blue Seal hasn't got a dealer listed within 100 miles of my zip, but Southern States has a product. We are going to have an issue buying hay this year and my DH so far hasn't twigged to that, so I'm exploring alternatives. Southern States has a hay stretcher, does anyone out there use it?
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,281

    Default

    I've sometimes gotten mini cubes mixed into my bags of regular cubes. The only difference is the size. They are maybe 1/2 to 2/3 the size of the regular cubes.



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