Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Forage Cubes - Just Add Water

Recently, we've had several horses arrive for rehab that are fed alfalfa cubes as their sole diet.  There’s a lot of controversy over the "perfect way to feed" our horses - and we certainly aren’t claiming to know what “perfect” is!  After all, each horse has his own special and unique needs. 

But, if you are going to feed alfalfa cubes, we HIGHLY recommend they be soaked in water before feeding for three main reasons: 1) choke, 2) tooth wear, and 3) dehydration.

Choke is a common enemy to all horses that bolt down their grain.  But alfalfa and Timothy cubes are the perfect size to cause an obstruction.  So, it’s critical these cubes break up quickly and easily for your horse. 

Quickly and easily is not how anyone who’s tried it would describe breaking these cubes up!  They’re hard as bricks!  Think about how hard (and long) your horse will have to chew to break them up in small enough pieces to safely swallow!  Now think of all the wear and tear on your horse’s teeth - teeth that were designed to bite off tender grass shoots, not chew threw the equivalent of plaster chunks.

And these cubes aren’t just difficult to chew – they are very dry.  Look at the pictures and you’ll see that close to 3/4 of a whole bucket of water was added to the cubes. 

After just 4 hours they crumble nicely in your hand.  But, if you don't ADD water to the cubes, the cubes will TAKE IT from the stomach and intestines for digestion.  This increases the risk of colic and dehydration.

In a nutshell, if you're going to feed cubed alfalfa, Timothy or any other forage, please remember to soak first!  Whenever possible, start with smaller sized cubes - alfalfa comes in both regular cattle size as well as minis.  This ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!

No comments:

Post a Comment