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Old 02-21-2006, 08:12 AM  
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Feeding hay cubes

Hi, I have never used hay cubes beofre as I free feed hay to my horses, I have a herd of 38 and am so short of hay I bought many many bags of alfalfa/timothy hay cubes, I am wondering if anyone can tell me the best way to feed this, ( should I water them down, how much to give per horse, and how to regulate how much each horse eats.) We do not have stalls for all the horses as they are all outside year round, so I am not sure how to feed them this. Will hay cubes fill them up like hay does?? We have pretty cold weather here and I always liked to just have them eating all the time to keep them warm, but you cannot get any hay around here at all any more, ( I have been trying for months to find some, had a load shipped in and 40 large bales cost me over $4000) and that only feeds them for 1 month. so any advice and help in feeding a 50lb bag of cubes will be really appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:20 AM  
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I have been feeding Alfalfa hay cubes to my horses this year. The Alfalfa hay we've been getting is so loaded with clay I was having to put it into a hay net to rinse (soak) it off

This is what I do, I have 2 horses and 1 is heavy in foal...

I take a feed bucket, fill half way with cubes, about 5 pounds, cover with water and let soak for about 15 minutes. My TB has a problem swallowing, that's why I soak it...
You can feed them dry, they are a little chewy though...

I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, that 5 pounds of cubes equals 1 good size flake of hay....

For a large herd like yours, I would just scatter, in piles, the cubes, dry, around the pasture so that everyone gets some...
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:51 AM  
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An outfitter I rode with up in the Canadian Rockies feeds alfalfa cubes, they pour them out along the edges of the corral and the horses line up side by side and chow down...all stock looked well fed and healthy.
I feed them soaked to my old tootheless mare and they really help keep weight on.
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Old 02-21-2006, 10:48 AM  
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I've heard "stories" about horses choking on alfalfa cubes, but in 10 years, mine have never had any problems eating them dry. I do break them into smaller pieces though just in case. I think most people do soak them.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:47 AM  
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I had a horse choke on them and will never feed them to any horse again!
Had to have the Vet out to clear the blockage then my mare was ok. He said they were notorious for causing choke.
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:49 AM  
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Thanks for the info - sounds like I'd better start softening them up myself - not worth the risk...
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Old 02-21-2006, 11:55 AM  
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You need to make sure that your horses have good access to water and are drinking well if you feed dry cubes. Soaking is a good idea in my opinion, or even just wetting them with warm water a little bit before feeding, but in a group setting it may not be practical.

We feed one mare at our place cubes, and we use a black rubber tub for feeding. I don't soak them now, as she eats really slowly, and the cubes would freeze before she got them all, but I feed her the cubes right near her heated water.

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Old 02-21-2006, 12:33 PM  
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I have been known to feed them on occasion. I have only soaked them for 2 horses. The other 25+ horses I fed them to ate it dry. But I do tend to break them up into smaller pieces than are in the package. They are usually about 1.5''x1.5'' and I've seen them up to 5'' long! I don't like them more than 1'' long. It does tend to increase their water consumption, so make sure water is readily available.
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Old 02-21-2006, 01:28 PM  
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Faceman there are 2 'blends' of alfalfa cubes. One utilizes bentonite[a clay binder] to keep the cubes from crumbling. They are hard as a rock and I call these cow cubes..personally
The cubes made with only water vapor to hold them together crumble readily and are the only type I feed to my horses.
Everyone has their own approach to feeding and that is as it should be. Some horses that bolt their feed are better served with big rocks or salt blocks in their feedpan.
Horses can and do choke on all types of feed and it is something to be aware of.
Once your horse chokes-he is a prime candidate to choke again..regardless of the food he is eating. They bear watching.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:21 PM  
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I use Purina cubes. They don't exactly crumble, but break quite easily, and the bottom of the bag usually has several inches of loose alfalfa, so I suspect they are the water-bound variety. I did purchase a different kind once when my feed store ran out of the Purina, and they were pretty hard - maybe those had the clay binder. My horses certainly didn't like them as well...
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:25 PM  
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We used to feed them dry but my old man is prone to choke. We soak them now and make sure they're mushy and soft.
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Old 02-21-2006, 07:51 PM  
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Faceman if you have the crumbled bits at the bottom then i bet they are too.
They now have to put the binder info on the bags. If bentonite is in there it is listed as an ingrediant.
I wish I had a good source around here for the nice alfalfa/timothy cubes.
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:15 PM  
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Do you completly sumerge the cubes and rinse?
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Old 02-21-2006, 08:21 PM  
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I use the Rocky Mountain brand, it also sells under Colorado brand Alfalfa cubes.
Says on the bag Horse Cubes too..

They crumble easily. I still soak them until "mushy" and the horses love it. Added plus, they get more water too...
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Old 02-22-2006, 09:21 AM  
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wow..lots to think about

wow thanx for all the info guys, guess i have to figure out what will work best for the group setting I have, I like the idea of lining them all up in a row, but htink my little and young guys might not get much. I hope that I can get them to eat enough too so they are not hungry and bored, they are used to having 24hours of feed in front of them, and I don't want them pushing at fences to get to more feed. ( My stallion is just on the other side of a rail fence....LOL) Most of my crew are young to middle aged with no teeth problems, hoping they can eat them dry cause I think soaking them ( for 38 horses) will be a porblem and I will have more frozen gfood than mushy stuff..LOL
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Old 02-25-2006, 10:21 AM  
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I have been feeding cubes to my horses for the last two winters. I have never soaked them and have not had anyone choke on them (knock on wood). I find cubes cost more than feeding hay....but there is no waste, no mess, easy storage, guaranteed quality, and chores take 1/2 the time to do. The one down side to feeding cubes is it doesn't take long for the horses to eat them (like it does hay) and then they get bored.
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