Alfalfa cubes?? - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-16-2018, 01:07 AM Thread Starter
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Alfalfa cubes??

My OTTB is a hard keeper, so I'm thinking about giving hime soaked alfalfa cubes as a 'snack' after I ride to give him some extra calories and protein. I would start with a small amount and work up to make sure he tolerates it well. Anyway, does anyone else do this for their hard keepers? Has it helped with weight gain?
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-16-2018, 07:45 AM
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I've fed them on and off. The best gains I have seen have been adding Manna Pro Senior Weight Accelerator (with or without a ground flax product or stabilized rice bran) and if they needed more ooomph then beet pulp or alfalfa. What kind of feed do you have him on. Sometime switching to something he will digest and utilize better that has more calories is all that is needed.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-16-2018, 09:06 AM
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Hi Reno

Alfalfa is a more nutrient-dense feed than grass hay, but I doubt that a handful of Alfalfa cubes handed out as treats would make any noticeable difference. Probably Alfalfa served as a significant proportion of your guys diet; 30%, or 50%, would be required to see any real weight gain from it. My whole crew get a skinny flake of Alfalfa (2-3lb) for "Dinner", and are otherwise on free-feed mostly Timothy hay along with a ration-balancer feed/supplement.
My large senior TB was getting a bit ribby, and my vet put him on an expensive rice-bran feed called Max-e-glo, 2lb, 2X/day. This did help, but I have since switched to Purina "Senior", which seems to work just as well.

Here is a link to a decent article on feeding Alfalfa:

https://thehorse.com/110110/all-about-alfalfa/

Steve Jernigan KG0MB
Microelectronics Research
University of Colorado
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-16-2018, 10:09 AM
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I give my hard keeper Alf cubes, about 4lbs a day. He only eats so much before he leaves. He also gets other stuff.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-16-2018, 10:57 AM
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When horses struggle with maintaining weight always look first at the possibility that they might have ulcers or a high parasite burden that you're not dealing with effectively. People are relying a lot on fecal counts now and the worst worms for weight loss are tapeworms and encysted strongyles. Neither show up on a fecal count and neither will be eliminated by Ivermectin


If you have those things covered then look at whether you're maybe not providing enough good hay or grazing


If the horse still needs something extra then rather than use alfalfa pellets as a snack you need to incorporate them into a well balanced additional feed along with something like soaked sugar beet, rice bran, cooked oats (they digest better that way).
Feeding too much high calcium food like alfalfa can cause a magnesium/ calcium imbalance so you might need to use a magnesium supplement.
Sometimes feeding a good quality complete senior feed is the best way to go

Just winging it is not a plan
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-17-2018, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input! also by 'snack' i mean around 3-4 lbs, not a handful. I just mean snack as in something between meal times
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-18-2018, 09:41 AM
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If you can't store/feed bales of alfalfa, go ahead and try alfalfa pellets/cubes. If that doesn't work, add something else, but increasing forage first is always my go-to before adding concentrates.


You may need some trial & error to see what temperature, consistency & amount your horse prefers - my senior mare will only eat warm, just barely softened pellets and refuses to eat cubes at all. She'll also only eat 2lbs of soaked pellets at a time, and absolutely won't eat the leftovers later. My gelding will eat as much of whatever is offered no matter what, lol.

~Reserved Cash, 2011 AQHA gelding~
~Lark, 20-something Arabian mare~
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post #8 of 8 Old 04-18-2018, 03:16 PM
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My new favorite product for weight gain is Purina Enrich Plus. It has no starches or sugars. After about 60 days of feeding it, our 24 year old Belgian gained weight and his topline looks better too. No bloated belly, no hot attitude. If the richness from alfalfa gives your horse diarrhea, it might be worth trying a bag!
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