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Alfalfa Cube Question

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  • Alfalfa Cube Question

    I won a 50 lb bag of Alfalfa cubes from Tractor Supply this week! I am excited because I never win anything! I fed them when I was a kid and just dropped two or three in my horses bucket at dinner time. I now know they can be a choke risk so most people soak them. How many do you feed at a time and what is the water/cube ratio?

  • #2
    While I personally soak them, many people do feed the cubes dry without incident. I went out with an outfitter into the Canadian Rockies for 6 days and all they feed is dry cubes and dry oats, because they are easy to transport on the pack mules. We had about 20 horses and mules on that trip and no incidences of choke at all.

    I think if you have a horse that tends to wolf down anything you give them then choke is more likely.

    I put a plastic feed scoop full of cubes in a 2 gallon bucket then add about a gallon of warm water, in about 10 minutes they've softened and fluffed up. Some cubes are processed differently and are a bit more compressed and hard so take a little more water/time.

    If not for soaked alfalfa cubes (and beet pulp) my toothless old pony would have starved to death long ago.
    Last edited by dawglover; Nov. 24, 2010, 07:19 AM. Reason: spelling
    Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.

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    • #3
      I use alfalfa cubes as treats. I just break them down to a small size. No problems with chokes over the last 10 years (knock on wood).
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      • #4
        I feed Alfalfa cubes to my picky pony. I mix cubes and beet bulp together and soak for about 10 minutes.

        I also use them as treats. I choose the smaller ones to feed this way.

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        • #5
          Those alfalfa cubes at TSC are so hard that I don't think a horse could actually eat them without soaking. They take forever to soften but they will eventually. You will need the hot water to make them soft though.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by high hat View Post
            Those alfalfa cubes at TSC are so hard that I don't think a horse could actually eat them without soaking. They take forever to soften but they will eventually. You will need the hot water to make them soft though.
            If we're talking about the same brand, Standlee Hay, I used to feed my mare 5lbs of those cubes dry, daily. Never had any problems.
            Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

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            • #7
              I use Standless Hay's alfalfa pellets. Dry, they are hard, and fairly large, for pellets. Don't use the cubes at all. ALWAYS soak them - but it's easy. I just put a couple of cups of pellets in a bucket and run cold tap water on them until they are just barely covered. Then I let it all sit for a few hours, until the next feeding. By that time, 6 hours or so, they are not only perfectly soft, but they're pretty dry, too - no cold water shock. I feed one old gelding three times a day, with soaked beat pulp as well, same deal, just pour room temp water over a cup or so of shredded beat pulp. (One set up takes care of one day's feeding). You just set it up after you've fed - by the next feeding it's all ready. My boys LOVE it.

              The other two (fat) boys get soaked alfalfa too, but not as much, and only twice a day. Two cups of TC senior feed (in each meal) thrown in with that keeps my guys in great shape.

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              • #8
                My horse gets his Standlee alfalfa cubes in one of those Amazing Graze toys. Makes him work for his food, wander around his stall, gives him something to do and slows down the consumption of the cubes. They are dry going in and dry coming out.

                It took him watching me one time to figure out how to use it. For awhile he would roll it get the cube out, eat it, rinse and repeat. Now he amuses himself by rolling it until nearly all the cubes are out - then munches from the pile he has made on the floor. Sometimes the pile is all over his stall, so he has to sift through the bedding for the little bits and pieces. When he wants a refill he kicks it out into the aisle. They have gates and stall doors, doors are open until bed time at last check which is around 9PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Seal Harbor View Post
                  When he wants a refill he kicks it out into the aisle.
                  Patience pays.

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                  • #10
                    I feed oat/alfalfa cubes and OMG I DON'T soak them! That's my horse's usual forage so they get the same amount in weight that I would feed in hay. I've feed them now for 10 years. Not one incident of choking. Friends I have so also feed cubes (longer than I have) never had any incident of choking. Could it happen? Sure, just like with any food. Everything I read and vets I've talked to say it usually happens with horses that bolt their food.

                    So while soaking is fine (if it makes you happy), it's not necessary.

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                    • #11
                      I put a little over one full scoop in the bucket, fill with warm water until the water just covers the cubes and let it soak for around 20 minutes. If I also feed 1/2 scoop of beet pulp with it I just fill the bucket to the top with water and soak for a little longer. Before you know it Beep and alfalfa are practically overflowing the bucket. My old mare sure appreciates it since she can no longer adequately chew hay.
                      "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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                      • #12
                        I feed alfalfa cubes daily since my barn doesn't provide enough hay for my liking in the wintertime. I can't remember now what the dry weight is, but I feed a full scoop (plastic feeding type) in a small 1.7L bucket, and fill it to the top with water. I usually soak overnight.

                        Since it's not typical for him to eat these, you might want to treat it as a wintertime treat! Feed a few handfuls soaked in a lot of hot water. By the time it cools enough for your horse to eat, he'll have a delicious alfalfa-flavored hot mash!! The more water and time to soak, the better.
                        The best is yet to come

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                        • #13
                          Our TSC changed vendors to a cheaper place than Standlee and the cubes
                          are less compressed. We put about 2 qts in a bucket and run the sink sprayer on top till you can just barely see water, then let it set for 15-20 minutes and divide it up. I also feed small cubes dry as treats. We started soaking for the old guy but he actually prefers it dry. The pony licks his bucket clean regardless.
                          Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
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                          • #14
                            Our barn usually soaks a 5 gallon bucket's worth for each meal. We have a bunch of senior lesson horses with less than ideal teeth, who can't make good use of hay. My mare gets a quart mixed in with a quart of high fat pellets, not because of her teeth, but for the calcium content to help reduce stomach acid. Mare is OCD alpha TB, thus prone to ulcers. Will also bring along some for all day shows to give her a mid-day treat, and to again help maintain stomach acid.

                            Often give her dry cubes as treats. She really likes them.
                            “You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” - Wayne Gretsky

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kewpalace View Post
                              I feed oat/alfalfa cubes and OMG I DON'T soak them! That's my horse's usual forage so they get the same amount in weight that I would feed in hay. I've feed them now for 10 years. Not one incident of choking. Friends I have so also feed cubes (longer than I have) never had any incident of choking. Could it happen? Sure, just like with any food. Everything I read and vets I've talked to say it usually happens with horses that bolt their food.

                              So while soaking is fine (if it makes you happy), it's not necessary.
                              That's how many of the horses at my barn and other local barns are- they get cubes as their main forage and eat them dry. The only horses at my barn that get soaked cubes are those that have a medical condition that require it. My horse gets hay, but I do occasionally feed cubes as a treat. Dry.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by crazy gray horse View Post
                                I feed Alfalfa cubes to my picky pony. I mix cubes and beet bulp together and soak for about 10 minutes.

                                I also use them as treats. I choose the smaller ones to feed this way.
                                That's what I do also, everyone gets some of the mixture and they all scarf it down.

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                                • #17
                                  If you break them into "bite sized" pieces they work very well for treats. Beyond that I don't really care for this way feeding alfalfa.

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

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                                  • #18
                                    I use them in the horses' Nose-it balls as part of their forage every day. A couple of pounds each to supplement hay. They roll the balls until the cube drops out, munch it down and roll the ball again. It slows them down and gives them a puzzle to work out.

                                    No choke problems among the five of them.
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                                    • #19
                                      I'd soak them just for the extra water getting into my horses.
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                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=kookicat;5244434]I'd soak them just for the extra water getting into my horses. [/QUOTE

                                        Yep - that's what I do too. My TB isn't a good drinker, so by giving him soaked cubes at night, I can easily get a gallon or two of water in him. I usually put about 3 lbs of cubes in a bucket, then enough water to fully cover them (plus a little extra). Let them soak for an hour or so, and voila.
                                        Cindy

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