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OK, dumb question time!! I have never used a alfalfa or any other type pellet/cube that you have to soak. could someone explain how and why? In detail!!!!

I am getting a new mare next week and that is what she is use to. I hate to ask really dumb questions to the owner.

I have always feed a sweetfeed or whole oats or a pelleted whole feed so I really need answers. I also have just used grass hay, have never used alfalfa hay, if I use that how much do I give. I had heard that it should be given in small bits.

We travel some to ride and I was told the alfalfa cubes will take the place of hay. If so that would be great that we wouldn't have to haul bales!

I strted a thread in horse nutrition, but was afraid no one would see it there because it is a "sub" thread, so I moved it here.

THANKS

Rhonda
 

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A lot of folks soak the cubes to help prevent choke.

When I want to use alfalfa as a hay stretcher, I buy the pellets and just mix them with their regular feed. I don't soak them first.

I don't even soak the cubes, but then, none of my horses are prone to choke.

I prefer the pellets over the cubes, just because they're easier to handle and scoop into the horses' feed.
 

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I also feed alphalfa cubes. I have on occasion soaked them but most of the time I give it to mine dry. I have used the pellets also but to me they were dusty...I have never had any issues feeding cubes. But if you want to soak them just put them in a bucket and add enough water to cover them and let them sit. You can prepare them the night before if you need to...They will blow up and double in size.. If I haul out for a local ride I don't even give mine hay. When I go for a weekend I take bales it gives them something to occupy thier time. I only give the cubes with thier feedings as a topper.....
 

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Yup. I divide the day's feed into two portions. After the morning rounds, I measure for the next feed and pour water over it. It soaks till evening and it is ready to go. Same thing at night. I have found that some brands of alfalfa cubes seem to be harder to soften than others. I do not use them as a replacement for hay. Perhaps the person who suggested that was talking about chaff type packages instead of dehydrated cubes & pellets?
 

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The chaff type is more costly than the cubes and wetting the cubes down they go further.I just give it to them as a dressing kinda like a filler as they are on pasture. :wink: They think it's a treat..:D
 

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I also feed alphalfa cubes. I have on occasion soaked them but most of the time I give it to mine dry. I have used the pellets also but to me they were dusty...I have never had any issues feeding cubes. But if you want to soak them just put them in a bucket and add enough water to cover them and let them sit. You can prepare them the night before if you need to...They will blow up and double in size.. If I haul out for a local ride I don't even give mine hay. When I go for a weekend I take bales it gives them something to occupy thier time. I only give the cubes with thier feedings as a topper.....
We've fed the pellets more as treats than anything else. A lot of people around her use them when they hunt because its easy to pack in & pack out. I was told to soak them because they do expand in the stomach. Plus dehydration is kind of an issue where I live so a little extra water doesn't hurt. They make pellets that are 1/2 alfalfa & 1/2 bermuda grass if you are worried about giving your horse to much alfalfa.
 

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Did the previous owners give you a reason she's on cubes and pellets?

I feed alfalfa pellets and chopped alfalfa hay (comes in a bag, compressed). I use it as their "feed" with a vitamin/mineral pellet mixed in. I have 6 horses on it, getting anywhere from 1lb to 4 lbs of alfalfa a day, depending on workload and metabolism. They all get free choice grass hay (round bales).

I don't like feeding cubes as the only source of forrage. Even soaked they eat it more quickly than hay, leaving the horse without something to nibble on for hours at a time. If the horse has dental issues or another medical reason that they can't have hay, then cubes are a great choice, but otherwise, I like to feed hay.
 

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As far as the soaking question, before you choose whether to soak or not, put 5 cubes in a tub, add water and then look at the volume 20 minutes later. That's the time it takes to get to your horse's stomach. If you feed them dry, they'll expand on the way down. Just make sure you're feeling okay about how much they expand once they're exposed to moisture.
 

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A horse only takes 15 minutes for food to pass out of the stomach. Also, stomach acids begin to break down the food before it has a chance to expand. Alfalfa cubes are only dangerous to feed dry to horses that choke or scarf their food down anyway. I have only had one horse out of 10-15 that I've fed cubes to choke on them, and he didn't have much trouble working it down on his own.

Sure, you can soak just to be on the safe side. Choke can be scary. But that doesn't mean all hay cubes or pellets must be soaked. Even beet pulp pellets or shreds can be fed dry without issues to most horses.
 
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