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Hay Cubes

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  • Hay Cubes

    A trainer friend moved to a barn that only feeds alfalfa hay cubes. They do not soak them. A few people buy their own hay instead, but it is mostly because their horses can't have alfalfa. The horses and a few ponies seem to be doing fine on the cubes, but feeding them un-soaked worries me. I may have the opportunity of getting a horse to board there, but I am concerned about the cubes.

    Does anyone feed their horses un-soaked hay cubes? Any insight would be appreciated. The trainer is not the barn owner/manager so she has no say on the feeding of cubes.

  • #2
    You can feed dry hay cubes for years. Witness ONE episode of choke from it and you'll never feed them dry again. Take from that what you may...

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    • #3
      ^ Agree. You're borrowing trouble to feed cubes dry.
      Caitlin
      *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
      http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

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      • #4
        I'd go somewhere else...
        Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Sansena View Post
          You can feed dry hay cubes for years. Witness ONE episode of choke from it and you'll never feed them dry again. Take from that what you may...
          Yep. I know folks that have fed them dry for years, swear no horse will ever choke, colic, injest pieces of junk from them. And never let on when one of their horses does have a problem. (I did hear thru the horse community grapevine that one of these guys lost his longtime companion to colic. He lived down the road from and I never saw the horse after that night.) Around here, the alfalfa cubes I've seen over the past thirty years vary greatly in quality as well as hardness, so I would just routinely soak cubes if I was going to feed them.
          "And I will be an embarrassment to all
          Who have not found the peace in being free
          to have a horse as a best friend."

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          • #6
            Yeah, I dont' get it. If you set the cubes of for the next meal, they've expanded to the point where they're safe. Heck, wet the cubes as you're dishing out the rest of the barn's grain. If you have more than 4 horses, by the time you're done haying and graining & topping off water of everyone else, the damned cubes have soaked enough to at least soften them.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Antaeus View Post
              Yep. I know folks that have fed them dry for years, swear no horse will ever choke, colic, injest pieces of junk from them. And never let on when one of their horses does have a problem. (I did hear thru the horse community grapevine that one of these guys lost his longtime companion to colic. He lived down the road from and I never saw the horse after that night.) Around here, the alfalfa cubes I've seen over the past thirty years vary greatly in quality as well as hardness, so I would just routinely soak cubes if I was going to feed them.
              While I agree 100% that hay cubes should always be soaked.....horses colic all.the.time. To say that someone who fed hay cubes dry for years and in all that time had one horse colic and die and that it's the hay cubes fault is just faulty logic, IMHO.

              On the upside hay cubes are convenient to store, transport and feed which I would guess is their attractiveness to a busy barn. I have been feeding alfalfa cubes to my seniors for years. However, I would never dream of feeding them dry to any horse. These suckers are hard and sometimes pretty big. Just soaking for 20 or 30 minutes can soften them up enough to be easier to eat. I also find myself picking through them for trash and debris.
              "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PRS View Post
                While I agree 100% that hay cubes should always be soaked.....horses colic all.the.time. To say that someone who fed hay cubes dry for years and in all that time had one horse colic and die and that it's the hay cubes fault is just faulty logic, IMHO.

                On the upside hay cubes are convenient to store, transport and feed which I would guess is their attractiveness to a busy barn. I have been feeding alfalfa cubes to my seniors for years. However, I would never dream of feeding them dry to any horse. These suckers are hard and sometimes pretty big. Just soaking for 20 or 30 minutes can soften them up enough to be easier to eat. I also find myself picking through them for trash and debris.
                I've had horses for over 35 years, and believe it or not, I know that horses.colic.all.the.time. Even.mine.
                I realize that the hay cubes may not have been the cause of the colic that caused the horse's death. However, the man in question that lost his horse had been a friend of my DH in prior years ,was an arrogant b when it came to horse care, and I do know that his horses had prior issues related to the cubes, so I suspect they may have contributed to his horse's colic and subsequent death, altho the owner would never admit that to outsiders.
                "And I will be an embarrassment to all
                Who have not found the peace in being free
                to have a horse as a best friend."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Most of the folks I know here in Hawaii feed cubes. Few bother to soak them. I was the only one at my previous barn who soaked.

                  The feed ladies at our barn don't soak anyone's feed. They have over 50 horses to feed who are spread out over about 100 acres. They also portion out the food hours in advance. As in they finish feeding breakfast and load the pickup truck up with dinner, and vis versa. In the heat soaked feed would quickly go bad. None of the horses has choked that I have heard of.

                  I don't know what the rate of choke is when feeding cubes vs hay or pellets, but based on my experiences in Hawaii I would not have a problem feeding a horse unsoaked cubes.
                  For the horse color genetics junky

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                  • #10
                    I do not soak cubes and have never had a problem. BUT I always feed at ground level which I found to be the biggest help in not having horses choke.
                    I worked for my vet at her farm for 5 years and most of the horses on the farm (about 50) got alfalfa cubes- they were not soaked and there was never a choke.
                    "Can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding"

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                    • #11
                      If I read the OP correctly, these horses are fed alfalfa cubes instead of hay? Do they get pasture? If no, is this a common practice in your area? Other than for senior horses with teeth issues, I have never heard of a barn that doesn't feed hay (assuming there isn't pasture year-round - I have never lived in an area with year-round growing grass!). I would think the lack of long stemmed fiber would be as much of a problem for colic as unsoaked cubes. I would also think that the amount of cubes you would need to feed to maintain the horses without supplemental hay or pasture would further increase the risks of choke?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Alfalfa cubes are long stemmed fiber.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I boarded at a 50 -75 horse facility that only fed cubes – dry. Moved there from the HUGE barn down the street (150+ plus horses) that fed only dry pellets. We had one choke in our barn at the pellet place, never had any choke problems with my barn (20+ horses) at the hay cube place.

                          That said, I wouldn’t feed like this again. My own horse never choked, but I just do not like feeding like this. And I think these barns have now changed their ways and offer hay.

                          These were not some back yard barns either, but big facilities that are the homes of some big name trainers
                          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by leheath View Post
                            If I read the OP correctly, these horses are fed alfalfa cubes instead of hay? Do they get pasture? If no, is this a common practice in your area? Other than for senior horses with teeth issues, I have never heard of a barn that doesn't feed hay (assuming there isn't pasture year-round - I have never lived in an area with year-round growing grass!). I would think the lack of long stemmed fiber would be as much of a problem for colic as unsoaked cubes. I would also think that the amount of cubes you would need to feed to maintain the horses without supplemental hay or pasture would further increase the risks of choke?
                            This is Southern California, so no pasture. The cubes are fed in-lieu of hay as they are cheaper to buy and store.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Cubes are also more consistent in quality than hay with less waste. My horses were recently switched to cubes from hay as the barn no longer offered hay for the above reasons. It's been 3 years now and no problems feeding them dry to well over 50 horses. Knock wood.
                              Last edited by atlatl; Jan. 3, 2013, 09:52 AM. Reason: spelling

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                              • #16
                                My mare won't eat them dry...it's like she hasn't figured out they are edible...probably because they are as hard as damn rocks!!!

                                If I soak, she eats them, and avoids any that haven't broken apart.

                                If you have ever tried to pick apart a hay cube adn see how hard they are, you would probably lean towards soaking them as well.
                                "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I've started feeding them, now that it's winter and there's no pasture available, because I want to make sure my hard keeper gets enough roughage, and I'm not always there to weigh and throw the hay. However, I generally bust them apart (you should see the blisters on my fingers) AND soak them in warm water for awhile. My horse seems to think they're the best things ever.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I always soak hay cubes and would never feed them dry. It's a good way to increase water intake as well. Timothy cubes are available if you'd rather feed grass in place of alfalfa.

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                                    • #19
                                      I have used them but find them so darned hard to scoop. Our feed dealer says they can be fed dry. Myself, not sure.
                                      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I feed soaked ones to an older mare--as a supplement to her hay and feed--but always soak first.

                                        Just as a curiosity--if being used as the sole source of fiber/hay how many pounds of hay cubes would you feed a day-- is the fact it has been super dehydrated factored into the "poundage" when compared to hay? Or is it a one-to-one comparison. (I go through a 50 pound bag pretty fast for one old mare as a supplement- I can't imagine having to feed a barn full of horses.)

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