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Another alfalfa cube question

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  • Another alfalfa cube question

    I got some alfalfa cubes for my TB horse who is having trouble (partial facial paralysis) chewing (biting off really) regular hay. He can crunch short pieces, but not the long hay sprigs. He is a VERY picky eater...as in...will refuse to eat a whole ration of beet pulp/oats/alfalfa pellets/sweet feed if you add a "pinch" of salt!! He seems to like the smell of the cubes, but just can't eat them dry - which I wouldn't think was a good idea for him, but when I soaked a handful in hot water yesterday they came out like boiled spinach and he didn't eat them at all!!! These cubes are soooo hard - like granite - that you can't break them up with a pair of plyers. I plan to try a hatchet next. Anyway...any tricks to making them easy to eat for a "failing" old horse?? Thanks.
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

  • #2
    Soak them in cold water overnight.

    Comment


    • #3
      Soak and then pour as much water off as possible to "fluff" them up?

      I've also found that soaking in BOILING water creates a fluffier end product.

      Or run his regular hay through a chipper or shredder to turn it into tiny pieces for him?

      Comment


      • #4
        My horses were never a fan of cubes either - especially when soaked. Do you have access to Triple Crown feeds? If so you should try their Timothy Balance Cubes - they are much smaller than regular cubes and are softer. I still soak them and my mare will only eat so many but it's more than with the regular cubes. I only feed them to add extra water to her feed in the winter though.

        http://www.triplecrownfeed.com/forag...quinenutrition

        "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

        Comment


        • #5
          alfalfa pellets have basically the same analysis. At least the Standlee brand does. Might be easier to eat

          Comment


          • #6
            If you can get Standlee's Compressed Hay- some feed stores and Tractor Supply stores carry them. The hay is cut in very short pieces and they usually carry several kinds:. Straight Alfalfa, T&A, Orchard/Alfalfa. It's very soft and leafy alfalfa and my horses luff it and scarf it up.
            "There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery." - Charles Darwin

            Comment


            • #7
              Try Chaffhaye. They'll send you a free 1-lb sample. I don't know if your horse will like the taste (mine LOVE it!), but it's got to be easy to eat. It's soft and moist.
              I have a Fjord! Life With Oden

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                [QUOTE=Simkie;6836736]Soak and then pour as much water off as possible to "fluff" them up?

                I've also found that soaking in BOILING water creates a fluffier end product.

                Or run his regular hay through a chipper or shredder to turn it into tiny pieces for him?[/QUOTE
                ***********

                I tried THIS today. I think I had too much water on them last night - this is new to me - today I used less, but really hot water. The cubes were still slightly "shaped", but smooshy. He went right to the tub tonight.
                This is my totally "heart horse" losing his battle with squamous cell cancer around one eye... facial nerve paralysis due to rubbing the irritated eye...lame in LF due to acting the fool and hitting a gate post on his blind side. In other words a walking disaster, but still with heart, a good appetite and so far the will to keep living!! I know his time is winding down, but as long as he is still happy, we're doing our best to keep his weight up. Although 14 inches below our average rainfall...a mild winter has the grass sprouting like crazy here in NE Ok, so he has some good grazing...it's just at night that I'm trying to find a way for him to keep filling his face!! A nibble net works pretty well as he can jerk off small bites instead of getting big mouthfuls he can't chew and swallow. I think when I find the right amount of water to soak or pour off the excess water he will enjoy them. We are in such a rural area...the first three feed stores I called, didn't even know what a "hay cube" was!!! A friend got these for me 40 miles from here!! Love the wild and wooly west...NOT!! Thanks for all the advice. I can always count on COTH for answers!!
                www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been thinking about this and other threads dealing with soaking hay cubes. It really is trial and error getting the right consistancy because it seems that many horses do not like the cubes to be a gruel like consistancy.

                  Being the nerd that I am, I decided to measure the cubes:water ratio.

                  Like Simkie, I use boiling water because it does a great job of fluffing up the cubes and breaks down the hard cubes easily.

                  I have a hotpot that I boil the water in. Filled to the top, it holds 56 oz of water. This is the ideal amount for a quart of alfalfa cubes (I use a Chinese take-out soup container). Be sure to let it sit to allow it time to fluff up. I also leave it out to allow it to cool off.

                  I have one horse here who gets 1 qt of alfalfa cubes with 1 qt of hay pellets at night. I have to do this in a two step process to allow the cubes enough time to soften. I put the cubes in first, add boiling water and let it sit (inside styrofoam container) until it fluffs. I then add a qt of hay pellets and add warm water (does not need to be boiling because they break down very easily) and fill to the top. The ratio of water to hay pellets does not need to be as exact because the hay pellets are very absorbant.
                  http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Good news...he ate all the soaked cubes I gave him last night and was hustling for more this morning!! Guess he figured out that they weren't poisonous!! I plan to keep upping the amount as he eats up. Thanks for the tips.
                    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You didn't say anything about weight, but I can add oil to my mare's hay cubes, stir a few times and then add hot water. The cubes absorb the oil and keep the meal from getting greasy.
                      Glad he's eating them now!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        He's VERY picky...doesn't "Do" oil!!! My purpose in feeding the cubes is to increase his fiber/bulk. Nutritionally he is fine. Just can't chew the whole hay unless he can break it off short before it gets in his mouth. Poor boy has many issues, but is still bright and still has a sense of humor!!
                        www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Tonight he hustled right to the tub of soaked cubes. I think he really likes them now!!! That's the way he is...all or nothing and you will NOT put a trick over on him!! At night he has the free range of the 24' end of the stable aisle and 4 stalls to move a will in. He will not lay down in a box stall - hasn't in 17 years - but he will in the hay bedded aisle. He has water buckets, two full hay nets and the tub holding the cubes to choose from. How large a measure of dry cubes should he get for "grazing" 12 hours?? He is out on pasture in the day time with free choice hay available and gets beet pulp/rolled oats/sweet feed/alfalfa pellets twice a day.
                          www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                          Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
                            Tonight he hustled right to the tub of soaked cubes. I think he really likes them now!!! That's the way he is...all or nothing and you will NOT put a trick over on him!! At night he has the free range of the 24' end of the stable aisle and 4 stalls to move a will in. He will not lay down in a box stall - hasn't in 17 years - but he will in the hay bedded aisle. He has water buckets, two full hay nets and the tub holding the cubes to choose from. How large a measure of dry cubes should he get for "grazing" 12 hours?? He is out on pasture in the day time with free choice hay available and gets beet pulp/rolled oats/sweet feed/alfalfa pellets twice a day.
                            Sounds like your horse is in awesome hands...he is lucky to have such a loving, caring owner.
                            Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                            Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thank you so much. He has been the light of my life and a total soul mate for 17 years...not easy, but totally in tune with me and I with him!! We have been fighting the squamous cell carcinoma for 5 years. Froze it 5 years ago and it stayed away for 3 years. Then it came back with a vengance. It was frozen 3 times in 18 months, injected with chemo every two weeks for two months. The freeze caused a horrific corneal ulcer that was treated 4 times a day for months. The vet "donated" a very expensive drug for corneal ulcer repair (can't remember the name) that required a sterile saline flush followed by ONE drop of a nasty, gummy medicine every 8 hours ( DH and I were out in our PJ's at midnight for that treatment) Ulcer healed, and some sight was restored, but the cancer forged on. In the course of the treatments (even wearing a full cup blinker) he would gently rub that side of his face on the corner of his stall resulting in damage to the facial nerve resulting in full paralysis/degeneration of the muscle on the left side of his head - ear to nostril), which is why he can't chew right! A second highly rspected vet looked at him back in Nov. Recommended ennucleation, resection of all affected facial tissue and bone scraping of the adjacent skull area. The vet did say that the nerve damage prevented discomfort from the whole mess in his head!! On the grounds that he is 21 this year...had a terrible reaction to anesthesia for the first freeze procedure...and that I love him too much to put him through all that for my desire to "save him", I declined. Expert vet agreed with the descision and said I would KNOW when he was "ready"!! So now I pamper, love and feed him!! On top of all that...on New Years Day he walked out of the barn, had a good roll, got up bucking and raced to the pasture. An hour later he was standing on three legs leaning against the shed wall in acute pain. Diagnosis points to a cracked bone in his hoof where he apparently hit his hoof (blind side) as he ran through the gate!! He is on pain meds for THAT and is getting better!! Seems like he is pushing my nursing skills to the limit!! But as long he is bright, happy and eating...we'll hang on. Arrangements have been made and he will not suffer. I really want him to see another Spring, though!! Sorry for the book long story!!
                              www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I soak my cubes in a wheelbarrow with extra super hot water and I put a lid on it. After an hour (minimum) of soaking I drain most of the water out. My guys don't like it too wet and it doesn't freeze as quickly this way as well.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  How much per horse???
                                  www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I don't know if this will translate to pellets or hay cubes, but I've found a 1200# horse averages a lb of hay per hour over a 24 hr period when using small mesh hay nets. It does actually correlate with the 2% body weight suggestion. This is in the dead of winter when grass doesn't factor in very much.

                                    I'm not sure if a lb of hay cubes equals a lb of hay but perhaps this can give you a starting point.
                                    http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for that ratio. I'm seeing that he eats as much as he feels like...then goes to the regular hay net. I just didn't want to overload on alfalfa.
                                      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                                      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Cindyg View Post
                                        Try Chaffhaye. They'll send you a free 1-lb sample. I don't know if your horse will like the taste (mine LOVE it!), but it's got to be easy to eat. It's soft and moist.
                                        Not to hijack the OP, but I am very intrigued by the Chaffhaye product - just read through the website. Cindyg - Do you feed this as a total hay replacement or as a stretcher?
                                        Fox Wood Farm

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