I am moving my mare to a new state and the barn she is going to only feeds alfalfa cubes (no hay). She's an easy keeper and has never had alfalfa before (only timothy hay). Should I be concerned about tummy issues/colic/etc. Any advice would be appreciated.
A lot depends on how good her teeth are, and whether she has a history of choke. Soaking the cubes may be necessary or at least beneficial. Find out ahead of time the answer to the 'What if' question of 'What if maresie needs something more, will you feed it if I provide it?'
If the mare does have any trouble maintaining weight just on the forage, then you might have to get some type of commercial feed to supplement her diet. I agree with the suggestion to keep looking for a less rigid/more varied feeding plan barn.
Last edited by sdlbredfan; Mar. 6, 2013 at 08:29 PM.
Reason: add content
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I'm currently caretaking an older mare who cannot eat hay and she's doing fine on alfalfa cubes plus a senior feed (beet pulp based). Make sure they will thoroughly soak the cubes in lots of water as they can be rock hard and some horses choke on them if not made soupy.
There are also timothy or timothy/alfalfa cubes available, maybe they would get some for your horse. Ideally horses do better if they have long stem hay whereas cubes are short, chopped stems but they can do ok on them.
I can't believe a barn wouldn't provide hay for paying customers, Are you sure you want your horse at this place??
I'd definitely start on alfalfa cubes now to help her adjust. Also see about getting her offered many small feedings per day if possible to help alleviate boredom. You can also slow-feed alfafa cubes by putting an Amazing Graze or Nose-It toy in a shallow water trough.
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