Alfalfa cubes for young horses - Page 2

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Health > Horse Nutrition

Alfalfa cubes for young horses

This is a discussion on Alfalfa cubes for young horses within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Is alfalfa good bits for young horses
  • Feeding alfalfa cubes to young horses

LinkBack Thread Tools
    04-12-2011, 01:11 AM
You may want to smash them up a bit until they get used to eating them... cubes are the perfect size to choke on.
Sponsored Links
    04-12-2011, 01:16 AM
That's what I was wondering about- also colic- they look like they would "pack up" easily- will soaking them help that?
    04-12-2011, 11:08 AM
[QUOTE=mlkarel2010;994479]The two year old can definitely handle roughages now. However, the younger one still can't utilize forage very well yet since he hasn't quite adapted the right microbes for proper hindgut fermentation. His diet will still be mostly grain (about 60-70% actually). Also, because of this you don't have to worry so much about over feeding grain with him because he doesn't have the hindgut fermentation to cause problems yet.

That's terrible advice. A youngsters hindgut can digest long stem fibers. They can have trouble with over mature, high fiber hay (that's where the hay bellys on immature horse comes from) but they do digest it. They don't have trouble with immature fine stem forage. 60-70% grain would be the equivalent of 10-12# daily and 5-6# hay. If you feed them that way you will definitely have OCD and other dietary related growth issues.
    04-12-2011, 11:17 AM
Originally Posted by KatieQ    
Thanks, I will look into the alfalfa pellets too- how much flax meal do you give her, and what form does it come in?
We use OmegaHorseshine as our source of flax meal - it also has other stuff in it (like psyllium to help push sand through and out of her system), along with other goodies - plus it's been stabilized so it will keep for up to a year if kept cool and dry - not that a bag lasts that long!

She gets about 1/3 cup twice daily. It's probably more than she needs, but who knows?
    04-12-2011, 12:08 PM
I have both my horses 8 & 2 on cubes, hay, flax and pelleted feed(gelding is on a maintenance and filly is on a feed designed for growing horses)

I came from CA where I was used to feeding alfalfa and we got huge bales. We are in SC now and it took me almost a year getting my gelding on a diet where he didn't drop weight and he's not a hard keeper. Once I started using the alfalfa cubes and flax he has been doing fantastic and even seems more relaxed. So I put my filly on the same and she's maturing nicely :) I soak them and they have no trouble eating them.
    04-12-2011, 01:26 PM
Can't stress enough--- SOAK THEM!!!! When I've fed them in the past (when alfalfa prices skyrocket from time to time) I measure it out into one of those big plastic tubs with rope handles (from Target or something like that) and then hose it down until they are pretty much covered. About 20 minutes is good enough, then just use your feed scoop to make sure it's all broken up and soft. My kids call the slurry "alfalfa-sauce".

Before we started soaking, we had two horses (both HOGS at feeding time) choke within a few days of each other. Miserable and expensive lesson to learn.
    04-12-2011, 01:53 PM
Super Moderator
If you do alfalfa cubes, I would suggest soaking them, however you could just do a hay additive or a hay extender. (pellets)
    04-12-2011, 02:17 PM
Originally Posted by mlkarel2010    
It sounded weird to me too when I learned about it in my Equine Nutrition class. But because the microbes in the horses cecum aren't fully functioning they can't digest hays and other roughage like adult horses can. So because of that they have more of a simple stomach digestive system like we do.

Because of it they get most of their energy from grain which they can digest easily instead of forage which they still can only partly utilize. This is also why you don't have to worry so much about colic and laminitis because that's caused by disruptions in normal hindgut fermentation patterns.

Of course as the young horse gets more microbes in the cecum it can digest forage and hay better and will slowly switch from a mostly grain diet to a mostly roughage diet.

Hope that clears things up! I know it sounds weird
Not weird - it's not right.

We supplement the hay with grains. Our young stock is basically on free choice hay. If we had to give up one or the other, the grain would go. Even our feed representative says that.

Ideally the youngsters would have a BETTER quality hay that is easier to digest. A lot of pot bellies on weanlings are due to undigested roughage due to quality.
    04-12-2011, 06:51 PM
Green Broke
Thanks mls!

@Left Hand Percherons - I didn't say they were incapable of digesting it, but they can't do it efficiently yet.

And about the young horses in the wild. They get enough nutrients to survive, a lot of the times these young horses are pretty scrawny though. For them to get enough nutrients for sufficient growth their diets need to be supplemented with a high percentage of concentrates.

It seems like it would go against nature but it doesn't. This is what research has found. If you would like to look into it yourselves there are a lot of equine nutrition research papers you can search at Google Scholar
    04-12-2011, 07:16 PM
For them to get enough nutrients for sufficient growth their diets need to be supplemented with a high percentage of concentrates.
That is very unhealthy. There are feeds/supplements designed to give a young horse all it needs in a very small dose, so they can live mainly off forage, which is what they need. Too much concentrate is bad for ANY horse, let alone a baby.

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Some Questions about Alfalfa Cubes??? Buckcherry Horse Nutrition 4 03-03-2011 10:14 PM
Whats better alfalfa pellets or cubes? Rachel1786 Horse Health 14 01-31-2011 02:55 AM
how many alfalfa cubes?? lilkitty90 Horse Health 11 08-10-2010 11:31 PM
Alfalfa versus Cubes or Pellets hotreddun Horse Health 13 08-17-2009 06:08 PM
Feeding Alfalfa cubes laceyf53 Horse Health 5 09-30-2008 11:08 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 12:57 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0