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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
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    04-12-2011, 06:26 PM
  #21
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by wild_spot    
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.
"The recommended ratio for weanlings is 70% concentrate and 30% hay, while the recommended ratio for yearlings is 60% concentrate and 40% hay."

This is from page 3 of the NUTRITIONAL ASSESSMENT OF WEANLINGS
AND YEARLINGS paper done by Kentucky Equine Research.

http://www.ker.com/library/advances/325.pdf

I find that this argument has gone beyond the scope of the OP, but felt that this information is still relevant. However, this will be my last post on the matter of concentrate/hay ratio.

I just thought I'd share what all the equine research facilities have been proving. It's up to you whether you want to believe them or not.
     
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    04-12-2011, 07:45 PM
  #22
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by mls    
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.
That would be MY ideal solution- better quality hay, which is unfortunately not easy to come by around here. Hence the question about alfalfa cubes. I had already noticed he was starting to get a bit of a pot belly, even though I thought he was skinny when I got him. He has been dewormed, so it's not that either. It's also hard to judge at this point because he has an EXTREMELY long, shaggy winter coat. My first trial of the cubes today was a sloppy mess! I think I added too much water and they were not impressed at the thought of "wet" food. Banjo, the 2-year old who is a bit of a pig started scarfing it down immediately and ended up with it all over his nose and chin. He kept taking big mouthfuls and then swinging his head around and doing the lip thing, while spraying green slime all over the place. The little guy was not sure what to do with it so I started feeding it to him by hand and ended up with it all over my clothes, in my hair and everything! I think they enjoyed the taste, but I will have to experiment a bit to figure out just the right amount of water to add. Another bonus, I decided, is that it's a better way to get their powdered supplement into them (or any medication, if necessary). I've been giving it with their grain but a lot of it ends up just falling to the bottom of the bucket and being wasted.
     
    04-13-2011, 11:50 AM
  #23
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieQ    
Another bonus, I decided, is that it's a better way to get their powdered supplement into them (or any medication, if necessary). I've been giving it with their grain but a lot of it ends up just falling to the bottom of the bucket and being wasted.
that's exactly why I always add a little water to my grain when I have supplements in powdered form. Then everything gets into the horse where it needs to be - not in the bottom of his feed pan. :)
     
    04-19-2011, 11:24 PM
  #24
Weanling
I too have a problem getting Alfalfa hay.I live in the deep south and aparently Alfalfa hay does not grow down here it's just to darned hot. I tried getting the alfalfa cubes and my horse wouldn't eat them. Shell eat the pelets IF I mix them with sweet feed but once they are processed that much I feel like they may have lost a lot of the "forage" qualities. Just make sure to not to feed them "dry" the alfalfa cubes. I saw a some HORRIBLE pics of horses choking on you guessed it, Alfalfa cubes in my Vet book. It looks awful and it's painful for the horse and usually requires a vet visit to fix.
     
    04-19-2011, 11:25 PM
  #25
Weanling
PS I can't imagine my horse eating the cubes once they have been watered down. She's kind of picky. So I just gave 2 huge bags away TO MY NEIGHBOR.
     
    04-20-2011, 12:00 AM
  #26
Foal
I just want to make th egeneral remark that horses and donkeys are designed to process bulks of low quality (read low nutrition) food. In nature, they survive in area's where cows don't, because cows need better food.

As a consequence, I think there are more problems caused by too heavy food than by too low nutritional food.

I give my horses hay all year round, but this is hay that comes from natural land, and its not as heavy as the high nutricional hay that is produced for cattle. It also has a high diversity in grass and plants; it's not a monoculture.

A horse is in fact not a grass eater like a cow, in nature it eats anything from grass to trees. It's a dustbin!

Beside this hay, I give them a handful of grain to keep them friendly, and to create some diversity again.


Another remark is that this rule applies more for natural breeds than for the more domesticated breeds: a Fjord will suffer more from high nutritional food than a Thouroughbred.



So general rule: HIGH amounts of LOW nutritional value.
     
    04-20-2011, 10:05 AM
  #27
Weanling
These horses were accustomed to eating straight alfalfa before I got them (2 mos ago). I tried them on local hay and they turned their noses up. But I finally found some they will eat. I don't know why- it doesn't look or smell any different from the hay I already tried, but a friend was selling it cheap because she wanted to make room in her barn for this year's hay. I have a limited supply so I am supplementing it with the cubes to stretch it out until the grass comes in. They seem to be fine and the 2 yr old is thriving- it's the little guy (9 mos) I'm more worried about as I'm not used to feeding a baby and really don't want to do anything wrong.
     
    04-23-2011, 11:18 AM
  #28
Foal
In the wild they still nurse on their mother. I bought 2 Belgians, Katie (mom) and daughter (Penney). Kate 6 yr old and Penney a yearling. I new zip about horses. I just saw their beauty and I was hooked. Quick put up a fence and 3 sided shed. That's all I had. I couldn't separate them and Penney nursed for 6 yrs. I still have Penney, she's 24 now. I miss Katie, she is buried out in the pasture. She died 2 yrs. Ago.
     

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