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Old 07-09-2005, 02:59 PM  
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Opinions on Hay Cubes versus Hay Bales..

The first barn I boarded at fed the hay cubes, they were straight alfalfa and not very good. You could tell just by looking at it that they were a low quality hay. However, all the horses still did well on them.

I went and picked up a bag from a mom and pop kind of feed store last night, they are Timothy/alfalfa and look like a good quality hay. I am headed out today to get a large square bale to set in the pasture for them to munch on and will still feed the equivalent of a flake and a half of the cubes morning and night.

Anyhow.. I have been warned about possible choke with feeding the cubes, and have been watching the horses very carefully, and they pick their way through and are not prone to bolting their feed anyhow, and I think with the other free choice hay that bolting shouldnt be an issue.

Is there anything else I should be worried about or watch out for?

The yearling gets a yearling growth grain once a day, and they both get beet pulp and metamucil once a day for a week each month, but they are on no other feeds. They also have a salt/mineral block, although since Ive moved them home, neither one have touched it.
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Old 07-09-2005, 05:17 PM  
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I supplement with horse cubes-I have to to blance the phospherous levels of their ration as I feed rice bran pellets Alfalfa around here is virtually impossible to find
There is one thing to worry about with the cubes-check the bag label-some producers have an item they add to the cubes to prevent the cubes"mooshing" it is called Bentonite. It is clay.
most providers of cubes now process the cubes by using water vapor as a binder[have to stick it together somehow]
If you can take a cube and mush it to powder-with your fingers then it no doubt has no bentonite-but do ask the feed dealer
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:01 PM  
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Don't be fooled by the color. Even nice dark green ones aren't necessary the best of quality. Only way to tell is to either look to the label for the protein percentage if you buy it by the bag or if you buy them in bulk you should be able to get an analysis sheet on them for the supplier. They need to be fed by weight according to the horse's weight just like hay is. The possibility of choke is higher than with hay because they are drier and harder to chew. I like them best when used in conjunction with regular hay. Cubes really just aren't as satisfying as munching on good hay. It doesn't take as long to eat a full ration of cubes as it does the same amount of hay. In the winter time digestion is a source of internal heat so you want your horse eating over a longer period of time.
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Old 07-09-2005, 06:47 PM  
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Hi, just wondering..... why would bentonite be bad? We eat it in our chocolate, when you leave a candy bar in the sun and it turns white that's the bentonite. It's also in dipers, cat litter, lipstick, and others that I can't remember now.

Steph
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Old 07-09-2005, 07:03 PM  
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Well basically because it is not neccesary to the cubes-just keeps them purtier and squared up
The big thing for me is that horse's digestion is delicate and I do not want to put bentonite in his gut
Good point JC-the fibers of the hay is chopped so it does not give the same amount of "long fiber" they need for good digestion I did notice these were a supplement to-and not the only source of fiber/roughage in this case
That is why I prefer the cubes over the pellets[also the pellets are extruded so are hard and take up a lot of fluids in the belly to digest.
All my own opinion though-just the way I feed

I know folks that feed only the "soft" cubes as the only feed-and the horses do fine.
We all have to look at our own horses and make the decision for what we think is the best feeding program for them.
We all have ideas as to what that is...personal choice
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Old 07-09-2005, 07:33 PM  
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as of right now they are happily munching on a 1 ton Bluegrass bale.. most wonderfull grass hay ive seen in ages around here.. supposed to be 3/4 ton bales, but he weighed it and by golly its just short of a ton! Quite a steal for $45 and a 10 minute drive! WOO!

Along with that they will get a ration of the cubes, and they are quite easy to break apart, I can do it with my fingers for the most part.

Ill check the bag for an analysis.. thanks for the heads up!
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Old 07-09-2005, 09:52 PM  
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The only horse I've ever had problems giving cubes to was Duke, but I think that might have been COPD related. That...and he doesn't take time to chew!
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Old 07-09-2005, 11:11 PM  
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Actually, I found cubes to be a Godsend for my one horse with COPD...no dust, no mold. I fed them in a shallow cherry picking bucket with small 1/2" diameter holes in the bottom so any chafe fell out and couldn't be inhaled while eating. Of course, I hand picked the cubes so that the only thing in the bucket to start with was cubes. The cubes were bought in 1-ton lots and kept in a great big covered bin. And there are great for taking to shows instead hauling hay along.
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Old 07-10-2005, 09:33 AM  
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Well, Duke does everything opposite from what a COPD horse should do. Sometimes I wonder if he really has it, or he's just faking me out!
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Old 07-10-2005, 12:03 PM  
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To end the confusion to 'which sized square/cubes....'

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyRebelJet
as of right now they are happily munching on a 1 ton Bluegrass bale.. most wonderfull grass hay ive seen in ages around here.. supposed to be 3/4 ton bales, but he weighed it and by golly its just short of a ton! Quite a steal for $45 and a 10 minute drive! WOO!
That was about the BIG squares, like the big round bales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyRebelJet
Along with that they will get a ration of the cubes, and they are quite easy to break apart, I can do it with my fingers for the most part.
That was about the small palm sized cubes you can buy in 50 pound bags, etc...

Personally, I feed regular 70lb bales of hay (Coastal and Orchard/Alfalfa.) I know others that solely feed the palm sized Alfalfa cubes as the only forage, with grains/corn/etc.. as feed.

Those palm sized cubes can be soaked in water to help soften them, and to reduce dust. Might help some folks find them more useful.

Anyway, this would be like comparing sweet vs. pellets, it is really what works best in the individual situation.
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Old 07-10-2005, 12:09 PM  
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I feed grass hay but around here there IS no alfalfa[well shipped in from CA and such at 12.50]
I use the cubes because they are available year round even when the hay dealers may be out

I don't think anyone is fussing over which is better-she just asked for info on the cubes
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Old 07-13-2005, 08:57 AM  
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Ok really stupid question here - what is COPD????????
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:04 AM  
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Pretty severe lung disease.
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:56 AM  
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Yes, COPD is devastating. There's no cure and it's progressive, much like emphysema is in people. However, COPD, seems to be a blanket term used to cover a wide range of respiratory problems. Heaves, Summer Heaves, allergies and such seem to get lumped together under this catagory. Much can be done to help an affected horse thru environmental control and that cuts down on the expense and reliance on drugs to control/eleviate the symptoms and keep the horse comfortable and even useful.
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