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Chopped Forage for Almost Ancient Pony

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  • Chopped Forage for Almost Ancient Pony

    It's going to be getting very cold on Monday and the very old, almost ancient pony is having a tough time this winter regulating his body temperature. I've had to up him to a heavy blanket if the temp is in the 30's for turnout with wind.

    He's prone to choke, has little to no chewing surface left on what teeth he still has. He get TC Senior, well soaked and very well soaked alfalfa/timothy cubes, which take him about 1 hour to eat. I'd like to leave him something overnight other than the flake of alfalfa I leave for him to play with.

    What do you think of the TC chopped forage? Is it OK for a horse prone to choke? I won't leave him with it alone the first couple of times I feed it, but I'd love to have something to tide him over from night check to morning feed.

  • #2
    GREAT stuff for the type of horse you describe. You can mix it with a little bit of hot water to soften everything up. I would think it would be quite good for a horse prone to choke, especially if you add some water.
    "Winter's a good time to stay in and cuddle,
    but put me in summer and I'll be a... happy snowman!!!"

    Trolls be trollin'! -DH

    Comment


    • #3
      we have a pony that has been vetted to be "somewhere between 30 and 40" that was about eight years ago... teeth pretty much not there

      We have been feeding him a product called Thrive... it is a grass based product .... his weight is very good now

      http://thrivefeed.com/Amazing_Thrive_Feed.html

      We have since moved several of the older horses to the product and basically stopped feeding grains

      Comment


      • #4
        I use Thrive too. It's good stuff.

        Two other products that I am interested in that would be great for your horse: Chaffhaye and Square Meal biscuits. Chaffhaye is super soft, pre-moistened, and, according to the mfg, partially pre-digested. Square Meal cubes has a formula for senior horses, though I can't read the label to see what makes it a senior formula.
        I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

        Comment


        • #5
          If he does OK on the soaked cubes, he should be OK on the TC chopped forage, I think.

          My old guy was like yours - dental issues and prone to choke, so I understand what you're going through!
          My guy didn't like the TC brand - he strongly preferred Lucerne Farms or TNT Chopped Forage (from Tractor Supply). In the alfalfa formulation, I thought the TC was a bit coarser and stickier than the other brands - not sure if that was why he didn't like it. A friend has her older guy on the TC and he's fine with it (though her guy probably doesn't have the dental issues that my guy did.)

          Best of luck with your almost ancient!

          Comment


          • #6
            I chop my own hay. I have a 5hp Craftsman Chipper/Shredder and about once every 2 weeks (or at least a day above 40 degrees and NOT windy) I pull it out and shred a few hundred pounds of timothy. It takes me about an hour, and saves me tons of money.
            Cindy

            Comment


            • #7
              I really like the TC chopped alfalfa for my older mare who has dental issues. She could not eat the lucerne farms chopped alfalfa--it was too coarse.

              You could certainly soak it too.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mlb722 View Post
                I really like the TC chopped alfalfa for my older mare who has dental issues. She could not eat the lucerne farms chopped alfalfa--it was too coarse.

                You could certainly soak it too.
                The feed store I buy my TC grain from said TC quit making the chopped alfalfa. I'm boarding a 30yr. old horse that is the same description as the OP's. I started feeding him the bagged, shredded Purina alfalfa after trying TC chopped timothy/orchard grass mix (wet and dry), alfalfa cubes chopped up and soaked, and reg. alfalfa. He wastes far less of this Purina alfalfa than any of the others. Of course now I have to go to 2 different feed stores
                "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

                Comment


                • #9
                  Cindy, where did you buy your chipper? I'd love to get something like this...but I live in a condo, and I doubt the farm will find a place for it for me to keep. Great idea though.

                  I have had great luck with TNT Chops as opposed to dengie or Lucerne products. It has both timothy and alfalfa, which helps tummies. I find it's easier for older horses with tooth issues to eat - because it is chopped much more finely, shorter stems and pieces than the TC or Lucerne products.

                  My horse doesn't like it soaked and does fine with it. If your horse likes soaked, go for it.

                  Another thing I am pleasantly surprised with, if you can find it, is a new Purina product called Hydration Hay. AMAZING for winter - you simply drop a small block of compressed hay into a bucket of warm water and it expands into a lovely fluffy mass of soaked hay chops. I was skeptical because I'm not a huge Purina product fan...but this one's a winner. SO convenient to use.
                  "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Iride - lucky for me, it was an "extra" that my grandmother was no longer using. She won't sell it to me, but she said I can use it as long as I need to. Since it's a Craftsman model, it had to have come from Sears. I just toss handfuls of hay down the leaf shredding chute. I would think most chipper/shredders that handle leaves could do the job. Check Craigslist for used ones...5hp is PLENTY powerful enough, so you definately don't need anything larger. It doesn't take up much space (less than 4'x4'x4' area), but it depends on the size of the machine.
                    Cindy

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Cindy, thanks. How is the chop length with your machine? My horse can't really get down anything too long...with the TNT Chops, they're about an inch in length which is perfect for him.
                      "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Toadie's mom View Post
                        The feed store I buy my TC grain from said TC quit making the chopped alfalfa. I'm boarding a 30yr. old horse that is the same description as the OP's. I started feeding him the bagged, shredded Purina alfalfa after trying TC chopped timothy/orchard grass mix (wet and dry), alfalfa cubes chopped up and soaked, and reg. alfalfa. He wastes far less of this Purina alfalfa than any of the others. Of course now I have to go to 2 different feed stores
                        Weird, I haven't heard anything about the alfalfa and just picked some up not long ago. It's still on the website too.

                        I have not heard of purina shredded alfalfa...is this a new product?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Geesh, just lost my reply. Here goes again.

                          I briefly used TC chopped forage but wasn't having choke issues. Quit using for different reasons.

                          I am currently using Ontario Dehydrated Timothy Balanced cubes for my 30 yr old that is just starting to have tooth issues. The cubes are smaller than any other alfalfa or other product I've used. The fiber is shorter in length. This time of year, I mix those and alfalfa or alfalfa/timothy pellets and wet them all down. These smaller cubes break down much quicker than the bigger/harder cubes. Twice a day in the winter I give her enough 'hay' to last her until the next feeding. Typically she has either just recently finished or is finishing when it is time for the next feeding. I also sometimes mix in Standlee hay cubes which are the typical large/hard cubes. I just make sure to give them enough water and soak time to break down before I dump them.

                          Any reason that's not jumping out from your post that you can't wet down alfalfa or timothy/alfalfa pellets to leave with him for the night? Or soak a bigger amount of the hay cubes you are using to leave with him? Back in early 2000's I still had my ancient 37 yr. old childhood pony (who was prone to choke) and soaked alfalfa pellets for him and left him with them.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Tip for those who find that alfalfa cubes take a long time to soak down: After soaking in HOT water for up to a half hour, add ANOTHER pass of hot water to the bucket. I find that a second soaking with hot water does the trick. I always go through the bucket anyway to look for and break up any cubes that didn't break down...and there's often a few that won't for some reason...I either give those to a horse with teeth or I put them in the dumpster!

                            I like the Standlee brand of Alfalfa cubes the best - because of the quality of the alfalfa they use. They are always fresh and green...and my horse won't even touch any other brand which to me says a lot! Unfortunately, Standlee compresses the cubes pretty firmly meaning they are harder, and take longer to break down....but my double hot water soaking method has finally been the trick.
                            "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by EquineJunky View Post
                              Geesh, just lost my reply. Here goes again.

                              I briefly used TC chopped forage but wasn't having choke issues. Quit using for different reasons.

                              I am currently using Ontario Dehydrated Timothy Balanced cubes for my 30 yr old that is just starting to have tooth issues. The cubes are smaller than any other alfalfa or other product I've used. The fiber is shorter in length. This time of year, I mix those and alfalfa or alfalfa/timothy pellets and wet them all down. These smaller cubes break down much quicker than the bigger/harder cubes. Twice a day in the winter I give her enough 'hay' to last her until the next feeding. Typically she has either just recently finished or is finishing when it is time for the next feeding. I also sometimes mix in Standlee hay cubes which are the typical large/hard cubes. I just make sure to give them enough water and soak time to break down before I dump them.

                              Any reason that's not jumping out from your post that you can't wet down alfalfa or timothy/alfalfa pellets to leave with him for the night? Or soak a bigger amount of the hay cubes you are using to leave with him? Back in early 2000's I still had my ancient 37 yr. old childhood pony (who was prone to choke) and soaked alfalfa pellets for him and left him with them.
                              I can leave him with soaked cubes, but it's been so cold it's freezing in the feed pan.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                They make little electric chippers that take up less room than your average upright vacuum cleaner. Might have to run the chops through twice but that wouldn't be bad for one old pony.

                                Originally posted by Iride View Post
                                Cindy, where did you buy your chipper? I'd love to get something like this...but I live in a condo, and I doubt the farm will find a place for it for me to keep. Great idea though.

                                I have had great luck with TNT Chops as opposed to dengie or Lucerne products. It has both timothy and alfalfa, which helps tummies. I find it's easier for older horses with tooth issues to eat - because it is chopped much more finely, shorter stems and pieces than the TC or Lucerne products.

                                My horse doesn't like it soaked and does fine with it. If your horse likes soaked, go for it.

                                Another thing I am pleasantly surprised with, if you can find it, is a new Purina product called Hydration Hay. AMAZING for winter - you simply drop a small block of compressed hay into a bucket of warm water and it expands into a lovely fluffy mass of soaked hay chops. I was skeptical because I'm not a huge Purina product fan...but this one's a winner. SO convenient to use.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Lowes has one listed for $119. Probably useless for real branches but should work fine on hay.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by mlb722 View Post
                                    Weird, I haven't heard anything about the alfalfa and just picked some up not long ago. It's still on the website too.

                                    I have not heard of purina shredded alfalfa...is this a new product?
                                    No, it isn't new. I sold the only other horse I'd fed it to about 6 years ago. It's chopped really fine, almost "powdery".
                                    "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      OK. It's been in the mid 20's here this week but inside the barn the cube/pellet mix has not frozen (yet).

                                      I have used a chipper/shredder like has been mentioned in the past. It was one my dad owned - don't remember the model now. Pony was around 12 hands. He had a hard time with anything longer than .5-1" from what I remember. Sometimes had to run things through a few times or sift out longer stuff. Have even used scissors/shears to cut hay by hand to short lengths.

                                      I did experiment this fall with running some nice orchard grass hay through a leaf vac we have now. It didn't cut it short (most pieces still 4" or so after running through twice) but enough that she could handle it better.

                                      Could you soak some beet pulp and then drain it well? Guess that might still freeze too....

                                      Good luck with whatever you try!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        The size of the shreds varies, from very small (less than 1") up to 3 or 4". My pony has all of his front teeth, but only about 5 back teeth. He has no trouble eating the chopped hay w/o quidding. If I give him regular hay (the exact same hay, just pre-shredded), there are little quid balls everywhere!
                                        Cindy

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