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What can I add to soaked alfalfa cubes to make them more enticing?

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  • What can I add to soaked alfalfa cubes to make them more enticing?

    I want to start my older horse on soaked alfalfa cubes since he can't chew hay. I have a couple of questions:

    1. Other than mixing with his Triple Crown senior feed (he prefers that plain), what can I add to the soaked cubes so they are more palatable? I've tried feeding them plain (and with his grain) in the past but he turned his nose up to them. Would Calf Manna be a good addition (yummy licorice taste and I know he likes it)? Or should I just go right to Molasses? Any other ideas?

    2. There are lots of brands of alfalfa cubes on the market. I want to make sure I get a high quality alfalfa cube - I'm aware that some manufacturers use their low quality hay for cubing. Any suggestions?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

  • #2
    I use Triple Crown Alfalfa cubes for the midnight feed with a scoop of TC Senior on top. Surprisingly my picky eater jumped right on them. Especially as she aged and ate less hay than normal.

    As far as the alfalfa brands, we have stayed with TC. In a pinch we purchased cubes from Tractor Supply that looked and smell good and the horses ate.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim


    • #3
      I think the Standlee alfalfa cubes look and smell great.

      Do you need more calories? You could add ground flax. Or start with a cup or so of oats, hot water, add the cubes.

      ETA: For long-term convenience sake, I'd try the Standlee cubes first to see if they are acceptable on their own. They really smell like freshly cut hay. Then if that doesn't work, tinker away with the flavorings.
      Last edited by stryder; Jun. 27, 2011, 06:26 PM.


      • #4
        Applesauce is something my old guy loved when I needed to make something tempting. Also pancake syrup!
        I loff my Quarter horse clique

        I kill threads dead!


        • #5
          My finicky old mare was crazy for Calf Manna. I always used a bit of that (maybe 2-3 handfuls) mixed in her feed to get her to eat when she was going through one of her picky phases. If you know your horse likes it, I'd go with that.
          ~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard


          • #6
            My first thought would be get a big 'ol jar of applesauce and mix that into the cubes. It is much less messy than the molasses!

            I, too, have always used TC cubes.


            • #7

              Stryder is 110% right on the Standlee. They have the BEST of hay products.

              I feed timothy pellets. The co-op or feed store type are greyish and very very dusty.

              The Standlee timothy pellets are very bright green smell great very little if any dust to them.

              I have found their alfalfa/timothy (or was it mixed with orchard??) pellets are also very nice too, same great quality. The alfafa pellets or cubes from them are also very very nice.

              Sometimes hay pellets or cubes soaked can smell or taste odd for the horse.
              I have one horse who likes them wetted and served right away. But soaked, they do not like them. Another horse likes anything served in a bucket soaked or not, mixed with stuff or not. You will have to find the best. You can put cut up carrots or apples. My picky eater loves dried apricots, go figure, and she is the one who likes it watered and served right away, no sitting around of stuff. She loves bp from dry to sloppy though. She will not eat apple sauce but eats apples. ??


              • #8
                All sorts of "flavorings" you can try. The molasses and calf manna as you mentioned is a start. Applesauce might be worth a try...tho you would need a lot of it. Brown sugar/cinnamon applesauce seems to be a hit around here.

                If you want to go cheap and easy experiment with Jello. See what flavors he loves. Had a horse long ago that loved his cherry Jello and that make it easy.

                There is always livestock flavorings...things such as....


                I have never used such flavorings as molasses generally works here.


                • #9
                  If this is going to be a long term feed additive - think about your convenience as well. Horse likes Calf Manna and it's easy to buy and easy to add. Don't make yourself crazy looking for other options. My senior horse lived on soaked hay cubes for SEVEN years - but if they weren't mixed with either senior feed or Ultium, he wouldn't touch them. In his picky phases, I just increased the hay cube:grain ratio until he'd eat again and then gradually decrease it.


                  • #10
                    Ditto the Standlee hay products. LOVE them.

                    Does he need weight? If so Legends Omega Plus is a fab. product. It smells like nilla wafers and is a combo of flax, rice bran and healthy fats. It's 1800 cals. per pound - my horse loves it and you would probably only need a little to taste up his cubes.

                    You could also soak some beet pulp with molasses WITH his cubes...extra fiber and a dab of molasses already in....and it can soak together.


                    • Original Poster

                      These are all great suggestions. Thanks so much and keep them coming as I'm always open to new ideas to try.

                      Question about molasses...one poster suggested mixing it in another bottle with 1 part water to 1 part molasses to make pouring easier. Question however, is: can I use the regular ol' syrup-y molasses? I recall many years ago one barn I boarded at would use a granulated or powdered molasses as an additive - I think it was purplish in color or something like that. But am I looking for just regular liquid molasses in a bottle?
                      "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain


                      • #12
                        I have a horse who wouldn't eat the alfalfa cubes soaked in water, so I soaked them in apple juice. Of course, the plain kind, no sugar added.
                        worked like a charm.
                        If I ran out, and soaked in water, she would not eat it. She knew the difference, silly mare.
                        save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by fivehorses View Post
                          I have a horse who wouldn't eat the alfalfa cubes soaked in water, so I soaked them in apple juice. Of course, the plain kind, no sugar added.
                          worked like a charm.
                          If I ran out, and soaked in water, she would not eat it. She knew the difference, silly mare.
                          That is a great idea. Kind of how I make better tasting rice... I cook it in chicken stock instead of water
                          "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain


                          • #14
                            You might want to experiment with Chaffehaye. It's an alfalfa haylage product that I've been trying the last few weeks and the horses love it. Zero waste. Very easy to digest and chew so it is particularly good for the old guys. I've been using it as a hay substitute because after spending the evenings grazing on my lovely pastures my TBs aren't very interested in dry hay during the day even though they need the calories. The Chaffehaye has been a huge hit.


                            • Original Poster

                              Thanks Subk, I had read a bit about Chaffhaye and it sounds interesting but for one thing, I'd have to drive almost 2 hours to get some, and, I also wonder if anyone knows whether a horse that quids hay would also quid Chaffhaye... I assume yes? Because it's not the softness or coarseness of hay that quidders have a problem with (my horse quids verrry soft grass hay too) but the fact that they can't make contact with their molars to grind anything.
                              "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain