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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 :eek:

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 :frown_color:

to be cont:
 

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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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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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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 .
 

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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 .
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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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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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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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 :frown_color:

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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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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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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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.
Pellets and cubes are about the same price, but maybe they do soak faster, good idea.

I'm mostly worried because I have a trip planned and have someone feeding for me. I'm trying to make it simple for her, thus why I bought the chopped hay.
 

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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.
First, no, it was alfalfa cubes, pellets and one of the feedings was Elk Grove Stable Mix which are made with almond hulls and also contain other vitamins to make it a 'complete feed'.

I don't think it's good to soak the cubes over night. I've seen them grow mold when soaked over night.

I think that feeding the senior feed in the morning and the cubes at night is fine, and it's what I would do for my horses and not be worried about it.

You could also look into beet pulp, and rice bran as other options to add to mash.
 

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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.
You can soak the cubes over night so ready to feed in morning. Yes you could do senior in morning cubes at night. I used an old water tank think it was a 75 gallon one. In summer I brought in the cubes to soak where it was cooler.
I did two feedings with cubes senior mixed together. Last feeding just cubes. Always weighed cubes dry same for senior then soaked

I'm a stay at home mom so had the time.

Took soaked cubes and spread then across the bottom of tank. It slowed my guy down and kept him from taking huge mouth fulls.

Had a choke episode with my old guy and scared the poo out of me. Did same for senior feed. I'd still give him some hay even though he's wadding it up. Just don't feed a lot of hay. It's chew time.
 

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Wow, he looks so much like my old Paint that passed away a few years ago. Even the one white/ one dark ear!



What pattern would you call him? I spent a lot of time pondering the pattern of my guy, and decided he was probably tobiano+sabino.
 

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Can Herbie be put up at night? If yes, what I would do with time constraints would be to measure out 1.5 lbs of dry cubes and soak them. I used to soak cubes and it really only took 15 minutes until they were breaking apart and not hard anymore. Give him cubes at night in a stall or where ever he can be put up so he has all night to eat in peace. Give him his senior feed in the morning and then let him out with the others. I would pick the poop out of his stall while he is eating the senior feed or just do it at night. I wouldn't start feeding the others hard feed if they are fine without it. Honestly, if they are getting hay in the morning, I don't think that they will think that they are missing out on anything.
 
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If you soak in really hot water in a wide container (lots of surface area) they should break down pretty quickly. In the winter I do about 1-2 lbs of “mini” Timothy/alfalfa cubes (Mini as in size of cubes, not for mini horses) to keep my 25 year old from getting too thin. I take a large rubber pan, turn the water on my kitchen faucet as hot as it will go, cover the cubes with water halfway up the pan, and then go let the chickens out of their coop. By the time the chickens are out, the cubes have absorbed the water. Key is getting it really hot.

Also, look into Speedibeet. It’s a textured beet pulp flake- Another good forage source that also soaks up incredibly fast, definitely faster than pellets. Maybe you could play around with proportions to come up with a mix of the two.

I think I missed how old he was. He looks so young and healthy in his pictures, wonder what happened to his teeth??
 

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When we had to soak we would do cool water in a tub with a larger surface area to spread them out and let sit over night in the house during warm weather or outside during cold. If it was really cold it was back to soaking inside. The cool keeps them from fermenting and they shouldn't mold at that temp I that amount of time. If horse was t happy with cooler feed I'd pour a little hot tap water to warm it but not so much it was soupy. I have also just added enough cool to fluff the cubes and stored in large ziplocs in fridge if I was having someone else feed. Those would do fine for several days.
 

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I know some of this is already covered so apologies for the repeat

Chopped forage has to be chewed so if the teeth are really awful he’s going to struggle with it.
I’ve found Greenmeadow chopped forage to be the best quality and if you damp it before feeding (as you should with any chopped forage) your horse might be able to cope with it.
It’s preferable to hay cubes.

You can soak grass and alfalfa pellets, they take a much shorter time to absorb the water than cubes. Just don’t add so much water you end up with a soup.

Most horses with poor teeth will cope with soaked sugar beet, i only use Speedi Beet, I’m not biased because it’s British, it’s simply a superior quality!

Boiled oats are great for weight gain, use crimped oats and cook in a slow cooker like a casserole.

What you must do is make sure the horse always has something in front of him to eat or you’ll have an ulcer problem really quickly.

Since chewing stimulates saliva production and saliva production is part of the acid damage control process you might need to use a daily supplement to help reduce acid damage.
 
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