Feeding hay cubes or chopped hay - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
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Feeding hay cubes or chopped hay

Back story:

As some of you may know, I purchased another horse recently. When I bought him, the owner stated he needed his teeth done. Maybe I should have asked him about this more, but as I was planning to take the horse to the vet for a comprehensive exam anyway, I didn't really ask any questions.

So then when the farrier is out to shoe the new horse, he looks in Herbie's mouth and states his teeth are really bad with sharp points. So he offers to try to float them, and I agree because our vet appointment is not until the following week.

Farrier is unable to float the teeth because Herbie has such a small mouth, his speculum keeps falling off.

So then at the vets I get the really bad news. Herbie has really bad teeth, and if the vet floats the points off, there will be not much left. The points are all he has

I asked the vet to
file down his teeth a little, so the horse would have something to chew with.

Vet replied "He is not going to be able to chew hay or even grass. He has nothing to chew with."

I was very shocked at this, and observed Herbie carefully at home. He appeared to be grazing, but I would find wads of grass. Hay was worse; he either totally ignored it, or picked at it when stalled up and spit of wads of hay

to be cont:
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post #2 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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So now I am on the hunt for things my Herbie can eat. He grinds treats with his gums, and it is easy to hear the rubbing sound.

He was mostly ok while there was grass, with generous feeding at night with Purina Senior. So then the drought occurs, and the grass disappears.

I increase his feed and begin feeding him breakfast daily. This of course means the other horses get breakfast now too.

The temperatures have dropped, and I had to add hay for the other two, but am unsure how to provide hay to Herbie, and how much to give him.

I randomly picked alfalfa/oat cubes and randomly measured out two pounds. Soaked with warm water, this fills the bucket by about two-thirds. I have time to do this on my off days, but work days it is impossible.

So I bought some chopped alfalfa. I put in about a half of a bucket, and it takes him forever to eat it. This is not working out for me.

Cont:
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post #3 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thus on to my questions!

Does any one have experience using hay cubes or chopped hay as a sole source of fiber?

I have no idea how much he should be getting daily.

I realize the senior food can be fed as a sole source of nutrition, but I would prefer to add some hay.

I just am unsure how much, and I'm a bit concerned that the chopped hay may need to be wetted too.

Any advice??? Guidelines??? The hay bags had zero feeding instructions on them.
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post #4 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 09:41 PM
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Soaked hay cubes enough to replace hay. Looks like you already feed senior that can replace hay if I recall right. But yeah lots of hay cubes soaked, so well broken down,easy to eat .

Out riding my horse.
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post #5 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo99 View Post
Soaked hay cubes enough to replace hay. Looks like you already feed senior that can replace hay if I recall right. But yeah lots of hay cubes soaked, so well broken down,easy to eat .
I was hoping you would respond, as you have experience feeding hay cubes.

But how much? I always fed hay by weight, but I have no idea what weight is appropriate to feed him.

I randomly measured out two pounds dry, which expanded in half an hour to 2/3 of a bucket after adding a lot of warm water
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post #6 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnitaAnne View Post
I was hoping you would respond, as you have experience feeding hay cubes.

But how much? I always fed hay by weight, but I have no idea what weight is appropriate to feed him.

I randomly measured out two pounds dry, which expanded in half an hour to 2/3 of a bucket after adding a lot of warm water
1.5 percent of their body weight my old guy I was feeding 2 percent. Start with the 1.5 percent see how he does. If he maintains good weight then good enough.

If he starts dropping weight bump it up. Can also add in 6 lbs of senior feed. I feed 3 times a day. If I recall I fed 10 pounds of soaked cubes ,7 lbs of senior. I also let my old guy have hay even though he waded it up an spit it out. Kept him happy gave chew time he other wise wouldn't of had.

Last winter I had my old guy I was going through a 50lb bag of cubes In 4 days. He was losing weight and by spring it was obvious his time had come. So I had to have him put down at 33 years old.

You're going to have to see what works, chopped forage could be another option. Only get one bag to try. My old guy waded that up an spit it out didn't work for him. He was a toothless wonder. Might work for Herbie.
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post #7 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 10:10 PM
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I'd weight them dry then soak them. Same as you feed hay, 1-2% of his body weight depending on the conditions. I did 3 feedings with 5lbs each.

After you weigh a few bunches in the same container you can start to get a sense for what volume and may not need to weight them any more.
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post #8 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 10:15 PM Thread Starter
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50 pounds in 4 days??? WOW that is a lot of hay, but not so much compared to regular bales of hay. Main difference is $$$.

Herbie didn't like the chopped hay as well, but maybe if I wet it too it would work better. He would take a big mouthful, forcefully, like someone trying to bob for apples, then sort of inhale it down. I was worried he would choke, so bought him a bigger bucket to spread it out more.

He weighs about 850 so 12-16 pounds a day, more or less. I would have to leave him up all night to eat that much hay

I work 14 hour days, so can't spend hours at the barn on workdays, and no way to do three feedings. I can barely manage two feedings.

Before Herbie came, I only fed once at night with 24/7 pasture. Once the pasture has died down I would add a feeding of hay in the morning, but no grain.

Tossing hay to the horses used to take 5 minutes in the morning. Now I can barely manage in 30-45 minutes having to put everyone up and grain them.
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post #9 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Filou View Post
I'd weight them dry then soak them. Same as you feed hay, 1-2% of his body weight depending on the conditions. I did 3 feedings with 5lbs each.

After you weigh a few bunches in the same container you can start to get a sense for what volume and may not need to weight them any more.
Did you add grain or a senior feed with the hay?

I just don't have the time to soak hay cubes for 30 minutes in the morning. Can they soak overnight and still be ok?

I have just been doing the hay cubes at night, senior in the morning.
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post #10 of 63 Old 11-16-2019, 10:23 PM
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I know some horses who have been able to eat alfalfa leaves and flowers but not the stems, that might be another option. They just put the flakes out then scooped up the stems the next day and fed the stem to other horses.

Are pellets cheaper? You might be able to mix both so he gets just enough long stem from the cubes. The pellets will also soak faster, maybe you can feed them in the AM and feed cubes in the PM? Just some thoughts. Not sure if that works for your situation.
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