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Soaking and feeding hay/cubes

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  • Soaking and feeding hay/cubes

    My 28 year old won't eat grass hay, and is now having a bit of trouble with alfalfa cubes and pellets. I'm thinking soaking may be the way to help her.

    In order to get enough soaked and available for free choice feeding, I'm thinking that I might use a muck bucket for soaking and feeding. Would need two--one to soak and one to feed.

    Has anyone used muck buckets for this? If not, what do you use?
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2
    Some of the horses at my barn get soaked cubes, but only a scoop or two so that get soaked in two gallon buckets. I don't see why muck buckets wouldn't work. There used to be a horse who got his hay soaked in a muck bucket.


    • #3
      I have 2 horses to feed cubes to. After a few weeks of lugging heavy buckets around I decided to get a second large plastic heavy duty wheelbarrow and I just use that as a trough. I fill it with cubes, add water, let soak, then drain and just roll into the paddock and leave it there for them to eat out of. The other wheelbarrow comes out for the next feeding


      • #4
        I think the wheelbarrow is an excellent idea. Or maybe something like this?

        When I used to work at the barn, we had a horse who could only eat soaked cubes. He got 2 5 gallon buckets twice a day, and that was enough to hold his weight--he was an easy keeper. We were able to set up the buckets in front of his stall, so we didn't have to haul any sort of distance, but it was still a bit of a weight to lug.


        • #5
          I have! Back when I was confused about what to do with my gelding, I went everyday at lunch and after work and would soak pellets in big tubs and used those tub carts to pull it around.


          • #6
            I suggest using this hay product:

            This is perfect for the chewing impaired horse. Very short fibers, shorter than alfalfa cubes and designed to swell and expand easily with water. It is a timothy, orchard grass, alfalfa blend and soaks up water really well.

            I found that cubes and pellets are best soaked with hot water.



            • #7
              Not to be dense but why drain the cubes?

              Mine are easy keepers but I feed them an alfalfa "soup" at night to get more water into them over the winter months. I make it by putting about 1 lb of dry cubes (barely cover the bottom of the 5 gallon bucket) and then filling it to the top with hot water. I ride and when done they get the still warm concoction as an evening snack.

              If they were harder keepers and I was feeding this for calories as opposed to water intake, I would simply fill the bucket with as many pounds of alfalfa cubes as required and then top off with water. Let it stand for a 30 min or so and then feed it. No draining required.


              • #8
                I agree, definitely soak with hot water, and don't drain. They are much more palatable, easier to eat, and add much needed water to the system this way.
                A Fine Romance. April 1991 - June 2016. Loved forever.


                • #9
                  The BM where my old gelding lived hung 2 buckets in my boy's stall - one for water, one with dry hay cubes. She would water the cubes down at the same time she was filling buckets with the hose prior to bringing everyone in.

                  By the time she brought everyone in (my gelding was usually the last one in) and my gelding ate his pelleted feed mash (which took him a little while), the cubes were soaked and he was able to eat them. And no lugging heavy buckets.


                  • #10
                    I soak with hot water in the winter. In the summer, I soak overnight with cold water.


                    • #11
                      I use an old water trough so there's plenty of room for the horse to eat and keep the sloppy mess contained. It seems to me the worse the teeth are, the sloppier the whole process! I feed it outside because otherwise it makes the stall cleanup a mess and a fly problem in the summer.

                      I use alfalfa cubes and add hot water and let it soak at least 20 minutes. I've found filling the water to slightly above the cube line adds the correct moisture consistency so they will eat the soaked cubes. If too wet, sometimes they won't eat them. You can also add hay pellets to the mix after the cubes have soaked. In the summer, I add cold water and in the winter I add warm water. The horses seem to like a warm mash in the cold weather.

                      ETA: Since I feed the mash outside, I drilled small holes in the bottom of the trough to allow excess water to drain and also to allow to trough not to fill with water when it rains. It also makes it easier to rinse out to keep clean.

                      I have photographic directions on the pitchfork chronicles website below in the step by step section. You have to scroll down a bit to find it. I apologize but I wasn't able to cut and paste it to make finding it a bit easier.
                      Last edited by mkevent; Feb. 2, 2013, 06:09 PM.


                      • #12
                        I fill a 5 gallon bucket a little over halfway with cubes/pellets and add water (have been adding hot in winter and tap in summer). I usually fill water to an inch or so above. When ready, I dump into a 40 gallon 'trough'. That amount lasts her around 10-12 hrs. Yes, it is kinda heavy....I figure I'm getting my weight lifting exercise in at the same time.

                        I did try a muck bucket with her initially but it was so upright she turned it over a lot. This 40 gallon trough (from Tractor Supply) is wider and shorter. She can move it around but hasn't flipped it over. (yet)


                        • #13
                          how to keep from freezing?

                          I have been trying to find ways to feed soaked cubes/pelets..

                          Not to hijack but for people in colder areas. how do you keep the soaked pellets/cubes/whatever from freezing?

                          I'd love to free-choice soaked stuff to my old guy (pride and joy) but I haven't figured out a way to keep it from freezing.

                          Thanks in advance..


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Loves to ride View Post
                            I have been trying to find ways to feed soaked cubes/pelets..

                            Not to hijack but for people in colder areas. how do you keep the soaked pellets/cubes/whatever from freezing?

                            I'd love to free-choice soaked stuff to my old guy (pride and joy) but I haven't figured out a way to keep it from freezing.

                            Thanks in advance..
                            "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                            Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                            • #15

                              Thanks. I was afraid that may be the only solution. Unless I run an electric cord through the pasture, I'm out of outlets.


                              • #16
                                Loves to ride - I also have to deal with freezing cube issues which is why I drain my cubes. I find that even in extremely cold temps (we were below -30 last week) the horses can eat the cubes most of the day if they are drained (I feed out two 5 gallon buckets in the wheelbarrow in the mornings). Otherwise they would he licking away at a hay soup ice cube all day while I'm at work....

                                The other reasons I drain (for those wondering) is that I find they "cook" faster with extra hot water and I also have a gelding very sensitive to fructans in hay so I figure this helps a bit, plus im sure some hay that is used is dusty and less than stellar quality, plus there is lime used as a binder (1% max) and I like to try for rinse it away.