I bought a 50 lb bag of Alfalfa cubes from tractor supply today but there was no one in the store who could help tell me about what I needed to know. What will feeding the cubes do for my horse? How much of it to feed? Do I need to wet it down? I feed a small amount of sweet feed with more oats twice per day and he gets fed off the round bale twice a day. He is a 9 yr old 16H gelding.
There are so many variables that will go into the answers to the questions you posed - What is your goal/reason for adding them to your feed program? What is your horse's current condition? What sort of work is he currently in? What type of hay is in the round bale you are feeding him from?
Wetting is a matter of personal preference. I prefer to soak them, especially in winter, as unsoaked they are rather large and hard and it's a good way to get extra water into them.
If he is in good weight and can eat hay then why did you buy the alf cubes in the first place?
I prefer to use the pellets over the cubes. A lot of horse choke on the cubes. Alf pellets/cubes are usually used as a long stem fiber source (hay) for a horse who has limited or no teeth and cannot eat hay, or to add calories to a thin horse who needs to gain weight or needs more calories than the feed can provide to maintain weight.
Alfalfa is also used to buffer stomach acid in a horse with ulcers.
Personally, I would drop the sweet feed, get a quality RB (to provide min/vit), and feed him at least 2% of his body weight in hay split into multiple feedings a day.
Sweet feed (corn, oats, barley, etc) and other high NSC diets have been proven to have neg effects on horses such as laminitis, ulcers, hindgut acidosis, IR, founder and many more.
IMO, theres really no need for the alf cubes you bought. You're horse looks good. Alf is nice in the aspect that you can feed as much of it a day as nec to keep weight on a horse. I have fed anywhere from 1lb to 8lbs of alfalfa a day for one horse. It just depends on the individual horse and it's needs.
I did not see ribs. When i boarded horses, the fed dry cubes. If you feeding for just addtl calories for winter, and he has the other hay, and its icy or super cold in your area, i would agreed to soak them for the added H20. as a supplement you can feed 1 lbs up to how 10 lbs ( full ration 10lbs) .
thanks to all that replied. Yeah overall he looks good I just have seen some horses that has a little more consistent belly, not really fat, and just wanted to work on that for my horse. I will talk to my uncle and guy up the street just to get a measure of how much they feed and what they use as well. Overall I'm pretty satisfied with how I'm feeding but just have heard some say they feed alfalfa I believe as a supplement but I really didn't get much info on it. I bought the cubes over the pellets because the pellets were 13.99 for a 40 lb bag where the cubes were 2 bucks more for a 50 lb bag so I always like to get the bargain...................
Oops lol just proved myself wrong when I did the math. It seems the pellets are $2.85 per pound where as the cubes are $3.12 so I will just take the cubes back and maybe get the pellets.
All I can add is that I feed timothy/alfalfa cubes to my 25 yr old that is now a hard keeper.
I soak them down into mush because I do not want to tempt choking issues.
I feed straight alfalfa pellets to my coming 27 Arab (also a hard keeper) because one day he decided he wasn't eating the mushy stuff anymore:? I wet them right before I put them in his feed pan.
Both these horses also have ulcers, and the amino acids in the alfalfa helps tremendously with their top lines and in preserving what muscle mass they still have:-|
I would be pulling my 17 & 18 year olds out of the tree tops if I fed them even one alfalfa cube:shock:
A dry pound of cubes or pellets is equal to a pound of hay.
Between the sweet feed (which everyone on this forum knows how I feel about that:( and the protein in the alfalfa, you might make your horse a little on the "ya-hooey" side:-P
I agree with ditching the sweet feed for a healthier option:D
As far as feeding alfalfa, you will just have to watch and see if it amps him up; I agree with others that he sure doesn't look like he needs it:D
Nothing wrong with feeding alfalfa cubes. They are just dehydrated alfalfa hay. You must wet them down to prevent choke.
In a perfect world, with great hay growing seasons, we can afford to be very picky about what hay we feed. 2012 was an awful hay year. I was BLESSED to find a new hay supplier who sold me heavy, straight alfalfa square bales. I bought 400 bales, and expect that ~ 80 will be left when my horses are again, on pasture this spring. MY preference is to feed year old or older straight alfalfa bc it's very rich. BUT, my horses are young, so I'm not worrying about it. Last year the grass growing with the alfalfa died out bc of the drought. Alfalfa puts down 3 ft. roots, so it's very hardy.
If you don't have the ability to store a season's worth of hay--I am able to store 500 square bales in my barn's loft--you need to have a supplemental feed that you can count on. At $15.00/50 pounds, alfalfa cubes are a little bit $high for me to exclusively feed, but I've been packing one bag to pack when we go on trail riding vacations for many decades now, JUST in case. One time I had a bag on my way home and we were stuck overnight due to a bad alternator. I had NOTHING else to feed but that, but my horses didn't go hungry.
How much, weight wise, are you giving him off the round bale every day?
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