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Alfafa Experts Needed!

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  • Alfafa Experts Needed!

    I have been feeding my gelding Alfalfa pellets before riding and trailering for optimum gut health. But he recently seems less interested in the pellets, whereas when I first fed them he ate them very enthusiastically.

    I thought that feeding him actual hay might interest him more. A local feed company has a 130lb bale of alfalfa, but that may be difficult for me to transport and store. We're at a big boarding barn, and I have a feeling people will help themselves to the hay, as there is no separate area to keep it, other than the grain room.

    My other option would be to buy the 50lb Standlee compressed Alfalfa bales from Tractor Supply. Are they a waste of money? Lots of dust/not a lot of full leaf forage?

    Advice appreciated!

  • #2
    I have fed the Standlee chopped alfalfa forage but stopped - the bags were basically full of dust. Their compressed bales I've seen that my BO has bought weren't as bad but I still wasn't impressed. Not sure about their cubes though (but being cubes most likely means soaking them to prevent choke).

    Do you have this available near you?

    No dust but they do use cane molasses - not sure if that matters for your horse.
    "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


    • #3
      I dislike the 50lb compressed bales. The compression is so tight that much of the hay "shatters" and gets dusty. My horses don't really care for it. I've had better luck feeding cubes, if I needed a bagged product. Standlee cubes are good, they are small and take only about 15 minutes to soak. I stay away from the big cubes (2"+) as they take at least 30 minutes to soften and I am impatient (so are the horses!). A couple horses took up to a week to "warm up" to eating the cubes, but after that I had no problems with picky horses. I fed about 3qts (before soaking) per horse 2x a day when grass hay quality was poor.
      A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.
      ? Albert Einstein



      • #4
        I love the compressed alfalfa bales. I do not like Standlee because although leafy, the're too powdery. There is another manufacturer I'll purchase , I can't remember the company but Gro-Smart in Hillsborough, NC sells them (You can call them for the manufacturer, which I think is in OH). They are sometimes "stemmy", in which case I'll get whole alfalfa bales from a local feed store and put them on a sheet in the backseat of my Nissan Sentra. Yes, I have to vacuum often. But at the farm, we call alfalfa my horse's "crack cocaine".

        My previous horse was on good NM alfalfa (we lived in NM), and I put her on pellets when we moved to PA. She ate them for about a year and then suddenly didn't. Pellets tend to comprise more of stems and lower quality alfalfa, and bales are better.

        Could you purchase a plastic tub that you can drill holes in the handles for a small padlock if you think people might take it?
        Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


        • #5
          I have also found that my horse loses interest in various alfalfa products from time to time! Things I have found:

          He prefers Standlee to the Dumor. The Dumor he literally would not bothering eating until he finished his hay. The standlee he is obsessed with.

          He likes the straight alfalfa more than the alfafa timothy or orchard grass blend varieties

          Change it up! I'll change to the pellets sometimes, or change to a bag of alfalfa timothy. It keeps him more interested

          What about the Alfalfa cubes? I keep a bag of these in my tack trunk and give him a soaked scoop every day. The cubes have long-stemmed fiber which is better than the pellets as far as gut-health is concerned. That way it's not just hay laying out in the open. He also feels it is a treat


          • #6
            All of our horses eat alfalfa pellets, with varying enthusiasm.

            One thing I have noticed is, the pellets are very dry and usually make them thirsty regardless of brand. If I don't soak the alfalfa pellets first, all of our horses immediately drink after eating.. and they drink a lot. In the past when I fed the pellets dry, I had some that would sift around unsoaked alfalfa because the pellets are too hard and dry for their taste.

            Just adding the tiniest bit of water solves this issue as I think it breaks up the pellet enough it is more palatable and not so dusty.

            What I do is dump the alfalfa, then go to the water trough with the grain bucket, fill it about 1/2 with water (2.5 quarts?) and distribute between the boys and their buckets.

            It has made a difference.

            You could also just soak the alfalfa pellets outright, but I find this is messy and unnecessary for my horses that have good teeth.. but I do not like to feed alfalfa pellets completely dry due to choking risks.

            Of course, check your horse's dentition -- but all things being okay, it's just been my experience that alfalfa pellets are not as tasty or as exciting to horses as, say, grain.
            AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


            • #7
              My horse's favorite is the bagged, chopped Triple Crown alfalfa forage. It's not the cheapest, but it doesn't need soaking and has no dust since it's coated with a light oil or something (doesn't feel oily).


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mango20 View Post
                My horse's favorite is the bagged, chopped Triple Crown alfalfa forage. It's not the cheapest, but it doesn't need soaking and has no dust since it's coated with a light oil or something (doesn't feel oily).
                My mare loves the stuff too - only problem is that it's hard to find and I have to call and have it special ordered. But that's my preferred alfalfa!
                "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England


                • #9
                  The compressed bales are way overpriced for what you get. Try the 130 pound bale of alfalfa and just keep it at home and bring what you need to feed that day if you are worried about people helping themselves.