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Discussion on Switching from alfalfa flake to alfalfa cubes

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Carolyn Santucci
Member
Username: Santucci

Post Number: 112
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Thursday, Oct 26, 2006 - 4:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My daughter is moving her horse to Southern California in January. The mare has EPSM/PPSM and does best on strictly alfalfa hay. The new barn where she will be living feeds alfalfa cubes because of concerns with sand colic. Also I guess the wind blows steadily and hay flakes would wind up in the Mohave Desert before the horse could finish eating!

Any thoughts on potential problems with making this switch? Especially with her EPSM?
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Holly Wood
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Username: Hwood

Post Number: 1557
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Thursday, Oct 26, 2006 - 6:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Carolyn, the only problem I could envision would be choke. I feed alfalfa cubes once a day to all of my horses (in adddition to pelleted feed: Senior for the older ones and a 12% pellet for the younger ones) because the prairie grass hay that is available to us is very low in protein. Every night, I measure out a large, double handful for each horse into a large tub and I cover them all with water so that in the morning, I just scoop out the softened cubes. I HAVE found baling twine compressed into pellets sometimes, so I do look at the cubes (the baling twine has always been orange plastic.) Feed them by weight and there should be no issue with the change. They make great treats, too, as long as they are broken apart before feeding. Some of them are really large and very hard, so the soaking seems to help the horses handle them better.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 16956
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 27, 2006 - 6:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Carolyn,
though I would not expect usual digestive problems when changing the type of forage there still may be a adjustment period as the horse adapts to the feel and drier moisture content. There may be a bit of a lag in picking up eating them will. Just to be sure the horse is adapted I would go ahead and begin feeding a few cubes and build up the amount slowly with a concomitant decrease in hay. As Holly suggests this should be done by weight. Once you get them up to 1/2 and 1/2 that should be fine till the move.
DrO
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Alden Chamberlain
Member
Username: Alden

Post Number: 355
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, Oct 30, 2006 - 8:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Carolyn,

Friends of mine fed Oat/Alfalfa cubes from Shafter for over 20 years (400lbs per day! at one point) and never had a choke. They had retired horses and horses in for training that were not used to cubes and all did fine.

I fed the same cubes for nearly six years and never had a problem. I think like any feed quality is more important than form, and the cubes from Shafter Cube Co. are some of the best.

If the cubes are not from Shafter I'd highly recommend considering switching to them.

Good day,
Alden
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Carolyn Santucci
Member
Username: Santucci

Post Number: 113
Registered: 3-2000
Posted on Monday, Oct 30, 2006 - 8:49 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, everyone, for the responses. I've no idea what brand of cubes the new place feeds....but some of the school horses they have are in their late 20s, and have been there for at least 15 years. So I expect the feed quality and the care are going to be up to our high standards!

I'll be sure to ask what brand they feed, just out of curiosity.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 679
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 - 5:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I just bought a bag of alfalfa cubes to try for my older guy, with teeth beyond floating.
How do you feed them. They are huge cubes, there are no instructions on the bag. Do you soak them and let them get mushy? The old guy has had several episodes of choke, so I soak his senior feed, just thought i would try something new. Is it important to soak them?
suz
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2836
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 - 10:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

If his teeth aren't good, then I'd soak them until they are soft. It won't take long. With horses with no tooth problems, I feed them hard.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 680
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2007 - 11:35 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey Sara, thanks. I gave Levi and Clyde chunks as treats, as they were very happy campers. But I was worried about my old guy. It is really funny when he is out eating grass, he makes squeaky sounds when he chews. He still can eat regular hay, especially likes the leafy alfalfa, but he is a hard keeper, so I thought this might help.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 2837
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2007 - 10:11 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Susan! I know I must sound like I work for Purena, but I really like their Equine Senior for older horses. It's a complete feed, although I feed some hay along with it. It has all the vitamins, minerals, probiotics, etc. in it. I've got one of my old girls and my border's 28 yr old retiree on it and they are doing wondefully. They both look really good and act a lot younger than their years. The feed is small pellets and easy to chew. I know quite a few people on HA have been happy with Safe Choice, also. I tried it but my horses didn't really like it. However, they are known to be a spoiled, pickey bunch!
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Susanne Ryder
Member
Username: sryder11

Post Number: 11
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2007 - 10:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Carolyn, I live in So Cal and have fed both alfalfa hay and cubes around here. Most horses seem to do fine on cubes and some keep weight on better on cubes than hay. As far as sand colic they can get this just from being out and foraging or being fed on the ground in sandy paddocks or turnouts. If the horse is going to be out at all you can consider giving psyllium, there are several recommended protocols. The alfalfa in the cubes is also sometimes of a lesser quality as well.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 908
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, Feb 16, 2009 - 7:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Everyone
Have been having a pretty good year, so have not posted lately. I have a question about the alfalfa cubes.
Levi, Cody and Dusty all get a good flake of high quality alfalfa twice a day, so I don't think I should have any problems, but just need re'assured.
I just came from the barn, and I must have left the gate open, so Levi was knee deep in broken up bales of alfalfa, don't know how much he and Cody had gotten into. Then I saw a barrel, that I was sure was closed, that had maybe 15lbs of old alfalfa cubes, and a small bag of omega supplement molasses "treats". I have not been feeding any treats lately, so I don't really know how many were in the bag, but there are none left. I doubt that there were very many, maybe 10-15 quarter size treats.
I had not noticed the missing alfalfa cubes, and gave him his evening grain (safechoice/ and purina light mix)
Because they are use to eating alfalfa do you think they will be OK? He was still looking for more food, this horse will and does eat constantly!!!!!!!!! Which I think is probably good, since it is not a big shock to his system to eat too much.
Anything I should watch for?
suz & Levi
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 22366
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 - 7:01 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Susan,
Since we do not know how many "treat" cubes or their composition, I don't see how we can pass judgement on the potential for danger. I would also note that a huge differences in the amount of alfalfa intake can cause problems. I do get the impression of a low risk but I cannot be sure. Though neither is a grain the problem is similar to grain overload that you can read about at Diseases of Horses » Colic, Diarrhea, GI Tract » Colic in Horses » Grain Overload in Horses.
DrO
PS, Don't forget Susan you need to post new problems in new discussions to get the quickest and most complete answers.
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Susan M. Herrick
Member
Username: quatro

Post Number: 909
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, Feb 17, 2009 - 5:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I knew that, I just forgetted :-)
Levi went for his trimming today, and he seems to be doing good. Had a question, but will post somewheres else
thanks
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