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  1. #1
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    Jun. 9, 2001
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    Unhappy My poor boy has colonic ulcers :( Logistical question re feeding soaked hay cubes...

    So my poor boy is off hay for at least 6 months. For all of you who feed hay cubes - how do you do it? I'm trying to devise a system that I can use all winter.

    I have been boiling water and putting that in a bucket with a lid on top and find that softens them really quickly but I'm going to have to start doing such large volumes of cubes that I need a better plan. Was hoping to throw some in the wheelbarrow at night with some cold water, and then in the morning add a little hot water to "finish" off the soaking. Can I soak the cubes overnight or will they start to go bad?

    Any ideas for soaking large volumes? Thanks!



  2. #2
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    Nov. 20, 2008
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    I don't know if this would help or not. I also pour boiling water on the cubes and place the bucket inside an insulated cooler(the kind used for shipping pharmaceuticals/vaccines). Even in cold weather it takes quite a while before it freezes.

    I'm wondering if you could do this with buckets placed inside an old chest freezer?



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2001
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    Fort Collins, CO
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    Several years ago, I knew a horse that had been on hay cubes for years. He was a chronic choker and could not have hay. Instead he got 2 5 gallon buckets of well soaked hay cubes twice a day and did very well. It was perhaps 20 lbs of cubes/day?

    In the winter, hot water was added to his cubes perhaps an hour before he was to be fed. He was boarded, so it wasn't really that big of a deal to set up his food before doing stalls in the morning or before bringing in horses in the afternoon. It would not have been possible to set up his cubes in the winter the night before--everything would freeze.

    What sort of volume are you looking to feed? If you have the TIME to wait for the cubes to soak, what we did worked very well.



  4. #4
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't actually done the math re amount of hay cubes yet (just got the diagnosis yesterday) but he is a big warmblood (14 years old) and I'm assuming he will be roughly on about a half a bag of cubes a day, maybe more in the winter? He is also on rice bran, ground flax and canola oil three times a day as a high fat diet is suggested for colonic ulcers. I will add in a ration balancer once I find a soy-free one.

    I should add that I do keep him at home, and I have a heated garage that I will set to be just above freezing that I use as a feed room.

    Do you think soaking the cubes in cold water overnight would cause them to go off by morning? I suspect that it wouldn't go off that quickly in the winter. The summer I could see the happening. I'm toying with the idea of getting another wheelbarrow (the large heavy duty plastic ones) and just filling both with cubes at night and some cold water and then have a few kettles going in the morning and adding the hot water with boards on covering the wheelbarrows to keep the steam in, and then just wheeling them out and leaving in the field to act as troughs. I have left my heavy-duty plastic one out in the field and have never had a problem. It has all rounded edges. I am not at home to feed a lunch feed (darn work - I am so trying to figure out how I can work from home) - so will be putting out as much cubes as they will eat in the am, then do a 5 pm and 10 pm feeding as well (or 7pm as well if needed)

    I have a mare that lives with the gelding and she does not need to be on the hay cube regime, but they live together and I don't want to separate them during the day so I'm thinking I can manage to do 50/50 cubes/actual hay with her by separating her from him in the evenings.

    It is a bit more complicated than simply throwing hay over the gate but I know I can make this work and am REALLY hoping my boy starts feeling better. He also has an infected tooth so the soaked/mashed food will probably be very welcomed. Bless his heart, he is such a good patient and will eat anything I put in front of him. He seemed to know when the vets were poking and proding (endoscope, up the nose scope, x-rays, tooth inspection, 24 hour fast etc.) that we are trying to help him. So proud of the way he has conducted himself through all this. He is such a beautiful soul. Ok...ok... getting off track..



  5. #5
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    Nov. 20, 2008
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    Wondering if you can do a mix of hay pellets/cubes?

    Hay pellets soak almost immediately so maybe you could do 1 bucket of hay pellets before breakfast(instead of overnight) and then let the hay cubes soak while you're doing morning chores? You could feed the soaked hay cubes before leaving for work.

    I think the overnight soaking might be kind of tough to keep things from either going bad or freezing.



  6. #6
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    Jun. 13, 2009
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    i leave cubes soaking in cold water in my barn all night as long as its below 20* and havent had any sour yet hope your boy starts feeling better soon!



  7. #7
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    Feb. 15, 2004
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    Ontario
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    sorry to hear all the trouble... so he does have an infected tooth too. Are you planning to remove it? I hope you figure out the hay cubes system... he does sound like a great patient.



  8. #8
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    Feb. 28, 2008
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    I have soaked alfalfa hay cubes over night for when someone feeds other than me, and mine have gone sour/whiffy in warm weather - over 65° - but in temps below that they are fine.

    Your horse is lucky to have someone who loves him so dearly!
    Just because you’re afraid, doesn’t mean you’re in danger. Just because you feel alone, doesn’t mean nobody loves you. Just because you think you might fail, doesn’t mean you will.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by buck22 View Post
    I have soaked alfalfa hay cubes over night for when someone feeds other than me, and mine have gone sour/whiffy in warm weather - over 65° - but in temps below that they are fine.

    Your horse is lucky to have someone who loves him so dearly!
    Same story here, I used to do this everyday in Virginia Beach, I had to do it in the am in the summer and put warm water in about 20 minutes before for 3 quarts. I always ran my hands through it to make sure they were all broken up because there always seemed to be a particularly hard corner of some of those cubes. Should not be a problem for only one horse, we were feeding I think 8 at the time. The only trick was to find the optimal level of water to make sure they all soaked, they absorbed a rather large amount of water.
    "I have brought on the hatred of Wall Street and I relish it".
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt



  10. #10
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    Dec. 2, 2004
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    I leave hay cubes soaking in the barn all day or all night, as long as it is above freezing. In the winter, I bring the bucket into the house. It doesn't seem to matter how hot it is, they don't seem to go sour in a 12 hour stretch. I don't mix hot water into them. I do break them up using a paring knife before I add water. If I don't do this, the water doesn't seem to get to the core of the denser cubes, even after 12 hours.

    I do mix in a fat and fibre pellet product, flax product and oil right before I feed.



  11. #11
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    Jun. 9, 2001
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    Thanks guys. I'm going to try without soaking at night and see how that goes. I figure I can just set the alarm for half an hour earlier and have a few kettles going then back to bed for a bit Will have the hubby cut some plywood to make makeshift "lids" for the wheelbarrows.

    FalseImpression: yes, we will probably have to extract the tooth. The surgeon was called in to look at his x-rays and he said to bring him back in 6-8 weeks for more x-rays unless he starts chewing funny or having more nasal discharge and then bring him sooner. There was another tooth they were suspicious of. I feel terrible because I'm sure this is due to the crappy dentist that over floated him last winter.

    My biggest worry right now is that I'm off to Maui next month to get married and will be gone 2.5 weeks but have a very experienced horse sitter staying at our house. Kind of nerve wracking leaving him but at least I will hopefully have the feeding schedule figured out by then.



  12. #12
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    Mar. 23, 2010
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    Can you feed pellets instead? They soak up really, really fast.



  13. #13
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    Yes! Im actually trying to find some alfalfa pellets to feed first thing in the morning while the cubes are still soaking. Then I'll walk the dog and hopefully when I'm back the cubes will be done. Ive only find insanely huge alfalfa pellets tho - like beet pulp size and they didn't soak very well so am looking for smaller ones.



  14. #14
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    Dec. 2, 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by bucksnort View Post
    Ive only find insanely huge alfalfa pellets tho - like beet pulp size and they didn't soak very well so am looking for smaller ones.
    Like I said, break them up first, although if you're feeding a half a wheelbarrow load, that might get tedious.

    Pellets don't contain the long fibre roughage which helps to keep a horse warm in the winter, so hay cubes are better in that respect.

    You're feeding nearly a bag a day, and at the Ontario prices, that's $14 per day in feed, or over $400 per month! Try to get high-density calories into him. Oil, flax product, etc. and reduce the roughage somewhat.

    Consult with your feed representative to work out a solution which meets his nutritional needs, but is as economical as possible.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 15, 2007
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    For reference.......1# of dry cubes is = to one flake of hay.

    I have a pony that had right dorsal colitis/colonic ulcers/Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Took 7 YEARS to figure it out after consulting several vets, I figured it out on my own!

    #1 - soy is a BIG trigger for hind gut ulcers.

    #2 - stemmy hay is also a trigger.

    Right now, your guy has inflammation back there. IMO (but I am not a vet) it should not take 6 months without hay. My guy improved within 24 hours of removing soy from his diet.

    What are the symptoms he has right now in the acute stage? My little guy would be very bloated, gassy with runny, gassy squirts. His manure was also very wet and heavy.

    His diet right now is approx. 2 double handfuls of Tim/Alf cubes, 2 cups beet pulp, 2 cups alfalfa pellets and his assorted supplements 2x a day. (cup = big coffee mug) I soak that in a 5 gallon bucket. I use cold water when it is warm out and they soak up in 15-20 minutes. I mix the soup once about 10 minutes after adding the water to see if I need more water and to help break up the cubes. In the winter I use hot water. At night turnout, he gets another 2 double handfuls of soaked cubes in his paddock. He cannot have coastal bermuda hay because of hs lack of teeth. He can have orchard/alfalfa and I also feed him some peanut hay (a.k.a. Florida's Alfalfa). I never stopped giving him hay, just gave him very soft hay and nothing stemmy.

    So - since your guy is big warmblood, I also used to feed this type diet to my (now deceased) OTTB. His only addition was rice bran to keep weight on him, but he got the same amount of cubes as the pony.

    I honestly don't think you will go through 1/2 bag a day. I'd say more in the ballpark of 6-8 double handfuls of cubes. Remember - 1 lb. of dry cubes is = one flake of hay.

    You are just going to have to fiddle with it a bit to find what works.

    One tip.....because the cubes make a sloppy mess, make sure the area under his feed bucket is clean so he can slop up what he drops.

    Another tip......This is what I call the "first course." Put his rice bran (and alf. pellets if you decide to feed them) and supps in his bucket and soak those alone first. Then add a few big spoonfuls of cubes to that and serve up on the moist side (not watery). I have found that the horse is more likely to get all the supps in without slobbering them all over the wall, floor etc. When he is done with that, Give him his "second course" and add the rest of the soaked cubes to his bucket as his "hay" meal.

    If you have a hard time finding a balancer without soy, you can always just add a vit/min supp to his first course. That is what I do. I use High Point for alfalfa based diets from HorseTech.



  16. #16
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    Aug. 30, 2007
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    Illinois, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm2 View Post
    For reference.......1# of dry cubes is = to one flake of hay. I have a pony that had right dorsal colitis/colonic ulcers/Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Took 7 YEARS to figure it out after consulting several vets, I figured it out on my own!

    #1 - soy is a BIG trigger for hind gut ulcers.

    #2 - stemmy hay is also a trigger.

    Right now, your guy has inflammation back there. IMO (but I am not a vet) it should not take 6 months without hay. My guy improved within 24 hours of removing soy from his diet.

    What are the symptoms he has right now in the acute stage? My little guy would be very bloated, gassy with runny, gassy squirts. His manure was also very wet and heavy.

    His diet right now is approx. 2 double handfuls of Tim/Alf cubes, 2 cups beet pulp, 2 cups alfalfa pellets and his assorted supplements 2x a day. (cup = big coffee mug) I soak that in a 5 gallon bucket. I use cold water when it is warm out and they soak up in 15-20 minutes. I mix the soup once about 10 minutes after adding the water to see if I need more water and to help break up the cubes. In the winter I use hot water. At night turnout, he gets another 2 double handfuls of soaked cubes in his paddock. He cannot have coastal bermuda hay because of hs lack of teeth. He can have orchard/alfalfa and I also feed him some peanut hay (a.k.a. Florida's Alfalfa). I never stopped giving him hay, just gave him very soft hay and nothing stemmy.

    So - since your guy is big warmblood, I also used to feed this type diet to my (now deceased) OTTB. His only addition was rice bran to keep weight on him, but he got the same amount of cubes as the pony.

    I honestly don't think you will go through 1/2 bag a day. I'd say more in the ballpark of 6-8 double handfuls of cubes. Remember - 1 lb. of dry cubes is = one flake of hay.

    You are just going to have to fiddle with it a bit to find what works.

    One tip.....because the cubes make a sloppy mess, make sure the area under his feed bucket is clean so he can slop up what he drops.

    Another tip......This is what I call the "first course." Put his rice bran (and alf. pellets if you decide to feed them) and supps in his bucket and soak those alone first. Then add a few big spoonfuls of cubes to that and serve up on the moist side (not watery). I have found that the horse is more likely to get all the supps in without slobbering them all over the wall, floor etc. When he is done with that, Give him his "second course" and add the rest of the soaked cubes to his bucket as his "hay" meal.

    If you have a hard time finding a balancer without soy, you can always just add a vit/min supp to his first course. That is what I do. I use High Point for alfalfa based diets from HorseTech.
    Hay cubes can replace hay, pound for pound. So unless your flakes weigh 1 lb (that would be a very lightweight flake, but possible), you can't just make the blanket statement that 1 lb of cubes is 1 flake of hay.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!



  17. #17
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    Mar. 6, 2002
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm2 View Post
    For reference.......1# of dry cubes is = to one flake of hay.
    How does this make sense? One flake from a 140lb, 3-string bale does not weigh the same as one flake from a 50lb 2-string bale. I don't see how 1lb (a measurement by weight) can always be equal to one flake (not a measurement by weight), when flake size can vary *within* a bale, not to mention the variation based on the size of the bale itself?

    As far as the OP's question, I've soaked cubes overnight many times and never had anything spoil. I'm having a hard time imagining how many kettles you'd have to have boiling to soak an entire wheelbarrow load? Maybe one of those industrial-sized coffee pots would be more efficient? Or install an on demand/instant hot water faucet?
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  18. #18
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    Nov. 15, 2007
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    That is what an equine nutritionist told me. I have fed soaked hay cubes to all my horses for almost 4 years now and going by what the nutritionist told me - it has worked for me. Now I have a bunch of easy keepers and cubes are not their sole ration. If cubes are to be fed as a sole ration, then you will need to feed anywhere from 1.25%-2% of their weight. Since OP is also feeding rice bran, which is packed with calories, and possibly alfalfa pellets, I doubt she will need to feed 1/2 bag of cubes a day. That's 25 pounds of cubes. That amount would be fed to a 2000 lb. horse as it's sole ration.

    To the OP - different brands of cubes soak better than others. You may have to try a few brands to see what works best. Seminole cubes are like rocks. No matter how long I soak them, they never seem to break down. Purina cubes are not the best quality. Best ones I have found are made by Summit. www.huron.com It's a canadian company, so you should be able to find those.



  19. #19
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    R.I.P. my sweet boy Tristan
    36 years old, but I was hoping you'd live forever
    5/5/75-7/5/11



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jm2 View Post
    For reference.......1# of dry cubes is = to one flake of hay.

    What are the symptoms he has right now in the acute stage? My little guy would be very bloated, gassy with runny, gassy squirts. His manure was also very wet and heavy.
    His symptoms were that he has been bloated and uncomfortable, with intermittent mild colics all summer. He has had completely normal manure. He was VERY girthy - to the point where he broke away from the trailer and went humping around the yard grunting. This is why I started treating for gastric ulcers but have since read that girthyness is more of a signal of colonic ulcers since the colonic.. dorsal..something??? lies in the girth area (I can't remember the specific name but read it in a paper with diagram yesterday). He also lost a bunch of weight over the winter and had a very dull coat.

    The vet suspects colonic ulcers or possible right dorsal colitis because his protein count was way down on his CBC. We were lucky enough to have internal specialist vet from the University look at him. He was wonderful! So I have complete faith in him. His tummy was scoped and he has no signs of gastric ulcers.

    The vet also has him on a liquid viatmin supplement right now (Equimax or something?) as well as Sucralfate, psyllium, Equisure and he gave me a specific yeast strain to get but I can't recall off the top of my head. I have him on Yea-Sac right now and will finish that first. I also give him L-Glutemine and the vet said I could keep giving him that.

    Thanks for all the replies and info everyone. The reason I said half a bag of cubes is because I will also be feeding my mare on them during the day as I don't want to separate them while I'm at work. Will separate them in the evening for a few hours so she can have some hay. It also gets extremely cold here in the winters (-40 below) and he will need extra cubes on those cold days. Slightly worried about the cubes freezing then but will figure it out somehow...

    Thanks again for all your suggestions - I will look into them all



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