Again, most horses need about 2% of body weight per day in dry feed, so 20 lbs of feed for a 1000# horse (or a horse who should be 1000#). If your horse is still eating a lot of hay and the weather is warm, I would recommend beginning with 2-5 lbs per day of pellets dry, then add water as described.
- For example, your horse may need 10 pounds of a lower energy grain per day, but only 5 pounds of a higher-energy, performance grain. Forage is the base of all horses’ diets, and all horses need at least 1% of their weight per day in a high quality forage such as grass, hay or alfalfa pellets.
How much alfalfa pellets do I feed my horse?
Feeding Directions Forage is the most important component of a horse’s diet and should be fed at a rate of 1.5-2.5% of a horse’s body weight.
Can you feed a horse just hay pellets?
Horses often eat hay pellets faster than traditional hay because the smaller, ground particles are easy to chew and swallow. Hay pellets also do not provide any long-stem forage. However, for horses with poor teeth, soaking these pellets can still provide important fiber and nutrients.
How do I know how much hay to feed my horse?
Horses should consume about 2% of their bodyweight per day according to their condition and workload. The first thing you need to do is find out how much your horse weighs using either a weigh tape or weigh bridge. If your horse weighs 500kg he needs around 10kg of food every day made up of at least 70% forage.
How much are hay pellets?
Feed by weight. A general rule of thumb with hay is to feed a horse 1.5 to 2.5 percent of their body weight daily. For an average 1,000-pound horse, this is 15 to 25 pounds of hay a day, although of course this can change depending on the amount of activity the horse gets.
How many pounds of alfalfa pellets equal a flake of hay?
Banned. Rachel1786 has it. One pound of pellets equals one pound of hay.
How many pounds of pellets should a horse eat?
Again, most horses need about 2% of body weight per day in dry feed, so 20 lbs of feed for a 1000# horse (or a horse who should be 1000#). If your horse is still eating a lot of hay and the weather is warm, I would recommend beginning with 2-5 lbs per day of pellets dry, then add water as described.
Is sweet feed or pellets better for horses?
Sweet feeds are highly palatable to your horse. They allow you to see individual grains to inspect for quality. Pellets and extruded feeds are usually highly digestible because the grains have been processed (ground up) into small pellets. This tends to digest quicker in your horse’s digestive tract.
How much grain does a horse need?
Most horses can be given as much hay as they will eat. For horses that are just starting on grain, it is usually safe to start the horse with a half-pound of grain every day for every 100 pounds of body weight. Since the average horse weighs about 1,100 pounds, this would result in 5.5 pounds of daily grain.
How many pounds of alfalfa should a horse eat a day?
Horses can normally eat 1.5-2% of their body weight in hay, which equates to 18-24 lbs. of hay per day. The quality of the hay will determine how much is needed and if supplemental grain should be added. Good alfalfa can be 18-20% protein and 55% TDN or energy.
How much hay should a 1000 pound horse eat a day?
Once you figure out how much your horse’s typical ration weighs, measure that portion at feeding time using a scoop, coffee can, or whatever suits your needs. The average thousand-pound horse who relies on hay for all their forage typically eats fifteen to twenty pounds of hay per day.
How many bales of hay should a horse have a day?
A horse can eat anywhere from 15-25 pounds of hay a day, which generally equates to a half of a 45/50-pound square bale of hay per day (~15-30 bales per month).
Can horses eat too much hay?
Horses should have access to good quality hay at all times, but it is possible for a horse to eat too much hay. If your horse, donkey or mule is bored or greedy he may eat whatever is available until it is gone. Equines can founder on too much grass or hay. It also helps prevent overeating and waste of hay.
What is the difference between hay stretcher and hay pellets?
Hay Stretcher is a pellet with a nutritional profile similar to grass hay, but slightly lower in fiber and higher in energy. It may be used to replace up to half the hay in an animal’s diet on a pound-for-pound basis.
Do horses need pellets?
Forage is the base of all horses’ diets, and all horses need at least 1% of their weight per day in a high quality forage such as grass, hay or alfalfa pellets. From there, you can add concentrated grains or more forage, depending on your horse’s workload.
Are cubes better than pellets for horses?
Alfalfa cubes are a better source of forage than pellets. It’s recommended they eat at least 1% of their body weight per day as forage as either hay, grass, or chaff with some grain. Therefore, they provide some benefits of long-stem forage and can safely replace hay in an equine diet.
Baled Hay vs. Pellets: What’s Best for My Horse? – The Horse
Q:Can you tell me the difference between feeding baled hay and feeding pelleted hay? A:Hay pellets may be a practical method to give your horse’s forage part of his diet, and they have a number of advantages over other forage sources. However, there are some significant disadvantages to consider. The following list of advantages and disadvantages contains considerations I take into consideration when determining if hay pellets are a good choice for a client’s barn or horse.
- When it comes to feeding hay, what is the difference between baled hay and pelleted hay? a:Hay pellets may be an easy and quick option to provide the forage element of your horse’s diet, and they have a number of advantages over other forage sources. Some significant disadvantages should be considered as well. The following list of advantages and disadvantages contains considerations I take into consideration when determining if hay pellets are a good choice for a client’s barn or horse’s nutrition.
- Chewing has been reduced. This is the most concerning aspect of moving from hay to hay pellets for me. The fact that the hay has been cut prior to pellet creation means that it takes significantly less chewing to consume a given weight of pellets than it does to ingest the same weight of hay. Chewing is crucial because it induces the release of saliva, and saliva contains high amounts of calcium and sodium bicarbonate, both of which function as buffers against stomach acid when consumed in large quantities. Horses have evolved to feed throughout the most of the day, and as a result, they emit stomach acid at all times of the day, whether they are eating or not eating. In their natural environment, this continual stomach acid production is offset by the practically constant release of calcium and bicarbonate from saliva, which helps to keep the stomach acid levels stable. When saliva production is lowered as a result of less chewing, the horse has less buffering capacity against stomach acid and is possibly at a greater risk of getting gastric ulcers. Increased boredom risk is also associated with decreased saliva production. Because pellets take less time to consume than hay, there is a greater likelihood that your horse may become bored. When horses become bored, they may engage in conventional behaviors such as cribbing, weaving, or box walking, which are considered to be undesirable. Increased use of feed. As much as you might be startled to hear me mention this as a disadvantage, the increased digestion of hay pellets may result in more weight gain and the need to lower caloric intake for an easier keeper. If you’re simply feeding hay pellets, the only option to limit calorie intake is to lower the number of pellets you give your animals. This exacerbates the chewing and boredom issues that already exist. Choke. When horses are given pellets, some appear to be at increased danger of choking. Make sure to wet the horses’ pellets before feeding them, and feed them in a broad shallow bucket or tub to prevent them from gorging on enormous amounts of food in one swallow.
Hay pellets are also a fantastic basis for supplements, and they are a simple method to integrate a regulated amount of forage into a diet when you wish to provide less than a flake of forage per animal. Many folks find a happy medium by providing hay pellets to supplement a portion of their horse’s forage requirements (e.g., their lunch meal). In the end, deciding whether to give hay or hay pellets comes down to each individual horse and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each option against the horse’s specific circumstances.
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Feeding Guidelines For Horses
All diets must contain sufficient amounts of fodder, which can be delivered in the form of pasture or hay. Horses who are grazing or that are fed free choice high quality hay will consume around 1.5-2.5 percent of their body weight every day (based on dry matter consumption).
- For most mature horses, a daily hay intake of 1.4–1.5 percent of their body weight should be provided to ensure adequate nutrition. In order to avoid digestive problems, long-stem fodder or pasture should be utilized. To promote intestinal health, forage offers dietary fiber, which is obtained from plants. Difference between long-stem hay and processed forages– A minimum of 50% of the total forage ingested each day should be long-stem hay (bale hay). The amount of processed hay (pellets or cubes) ingested each day should not exceed 50 percent of the total forage consumed. A horse that eats long-stem hay has to drink more water because it contains more fiber than processed hay. Long-stem hay also helps the horse’s gut to contract more vigorously, which helps to maintain gut integrity. Increased water consumption helps to maintain gut integrity. Forages that have been processed Influences on Consumption– When feeding processed hays as opposed to baled hay, there is often reduced feeding loss. When hay flakes are fed in racks or on the ground, forage pellets and cubes are often supplied in tubs and troughs, which reduces the amount of hay that is lost. If processed hays are included in the daily diet, you may be able to feed fewer total forages
- But, horses will take less water if they are fed processed hay. Alfalfa Hay Feeding Limits– Alfalfa hay (in the form of bales, cubes, or pellets) should not account for more than 50% of the total forage ingested in a given day. Alfalfa is abundant in protein and calcium
- But, if it is used as the sole forage supply, the connection between these nutrients and energy will be negatively affected. The fact that a 100 percent alfalfa forage diet often has much less fiber than traditional grass forage diets such as timothy, Bermudagrass, and orchard grass hays should be taken into mind when planning your diet. When compared to traditional grass hay, alfalfa might deliver up to 25 percent less dietary crude fiber, depending on the location and cutting. Feeding Limits for Cereals, Grains, and Hay– Cereal grain hays (bale, cube, or pellet), such as oat hay, barley hay, 3-way hay, and other similar products, should not account for more than 50% of the total forage taken each day in ruminants. The seed heads of cereal grain hays contain an unknown amount of nonstructural carbohydrate, compared to other sources. Furthermore, the majority of cereal grain hays are at a stage of maturity that results in higher fiber levels that are less appealing. The result is that horses “pick-through” the hay, picking the grain-heads and ingesting less of the forage’s fiber content. What Constitutes a Dietary Alteration? – In the context of the daily diet, any increase, reduction, addition, or replacement of feed is referred to as a “change-over” or “change.” A change in the amount of forage provided and the amount of concentrates supplied may have an impact on the interaction between the two. The ratios of concentrate to roughage may be adjusted to suit individual needs, and it is one of various strategies for influencing the “energy levels and quality” of the diet. Although the recommendations may be deemed cautious, the purpose is to ensure that the microflora that lives in the stomach has an appropriate opportunity to acclimate.
- Dietary Modifications for Hay– The pace of change will be determined by the kind of hay used, such as switching from legume to grass, grass to grass, or grass to legume. Change-over rates of 1/2–1.0 lb per day are recommended when switching from legume hay to alfalfa or grass hay, for example. Change-overs from one type of grass hay to another should occur at a rate of 3/4 to 1.5 lb per day when possible. Increased Dietary Adjustments for Concentrates- The guideline is to increase the amount of concentrates fed per day by roughly 1/4 lb for changes in concentrates such as grains, grain base mixes, commodities (oats, maize, barley, wheat bran, and so on) or balanced feed mixtures. Some conditions may need modifications on an every other day basis
- However, this is not always the case.
- Water should be made available without restriction prior to the performance and should not be limited. Any water source must be monitored at least once a day. The ideal water temperature is between 50° and 65° F. Horses will drink less water if the water temperature is too cold or too hot for them to drink. horses who drink less water are more prone to suffer from digestive issues than horses who drink more water. Concentrate Feeding – Feeding particular feedstuffs or commodities, such as oats, corn, wheat bran, or other grains, is not a balanced strategy to feeding horses in most cases, according to the American Feed Industry Association. In order to satisfy energy and nutritional requirements, horse owners may consider feeding balance formulae, which are commercially available and can be used to supplement the forage part of the diet if necessary. The formulation of balanced formulae by respectable firms is carried out by highly qualified professionals who are familiar with the nutrient content of feedstuffs as well as the nutritional requirements of horses. The term “maintenance fed horse” refers to an adult horse that is not in any way active, is not pregnant, is not producing milk, and is not involved in regular daily activity. These horses may be fed dry forages or pasture to keep them healthy. Small quantities of a balanced formula or vitamin/mineral supplement may be required to augment the forage component of the diet, depending on the location and the availability of high-quality forage sources. To discourage a horse from bolting his food and consuming his pellets, grains or texture mixtures too quickly, consider adding huge “bolder-like” boulders as barriers in the feed tub, requiring him to maneuver around the impediments in order to swallow his meal. Food Bolter Feed tubs that are intended to decrease bolting are readily available on the market. Set up a number of feeding stations if the horse is in a corral to force the horse to eat more often while traveling from one feeding station to another.
Horses’ Feed Consumption Estimated by the USDA ( percent body weight)
|Stage of Production||Long-stem Forage||Balance Concentrate||Total|
|Maintenance||1.4 – 2.0||0 – 0.5||1.4 – 2.0|
|Active Maintenance||1.5 – 2.0||0 – 0.25||1.6 – 2.0|
|Breeding Stallion||1.5 – 2.0||0.25 – 0.75||1.75 – 2.25|
|Late pregnancy, mares||1.5 – 1.75||0.5 – 0.75||2.0 – 2.25|
|Early lactation, mares||1.5 – 2.0||0.5 – 0.75||2.0 – 2.75|
|Late lactation, mares||1.5 – 2.0||0.5 – 0.75||2.0 – 2.75|
|Light work||1.5 – 2.0||0.25 – 0.75||1.75 – 2.5|
|Moderate work||1.5 – 2.0||0.5 – 1.0||2.0 – 2.75|
|Intense work||1.6 – 2.0||0.75 – 1.25||2.5 – 3.0|
|Nursing foal, 3 months||0.5 – 1.0||0.5 – 1.0|
|Weanling, 6 months||0.75 – 1.0||1.0 – 1.5||2.0 – 2.5|
|Yearling, 12 months||1.0 – 1.5||1.0 – 1.25||2.0 – 2.75|
|Long yearling, 18 months||1.25 – 1.5||0.5 – 1.0||2.0 – 2.5|
|Two year old, 24 months||1.25 – 1.5||0.5 – 1.0||2.0 – 2.5|
Whether air-dried or as-fed (about 90 percent DM)
Maintain function of horse digestive systems with forage
Every year, there is an unavoidable natural calamity that threatens the most crucial component of cattle production (besides the need for water, which can also be heavily affected by disasters). Those responsible for the care of animals have had a difficult time keeping up with their basic survival needs due to flooding caused by storms, wildfires, and drought. Whatever the situation (natural catastrophe, traveling for shows, running out of hay, or simply wanting to give a constant source of quality fodder to your horses), finding a way other than traditional hay is something you should be familiar with!
Regardless of the scenario, fodder is required to ensure that the horse’s digestive system continues to work correctly. Our Standlee equine specialists recommend that horses consume hay that accounts for 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent of their body weight (BW).
It would need between 15-30 pounds of hay each day to sustain a 1,000-pound horse, depending on their life stage and degree of activity. Consider the following example of how much hay is required throughout the course of a winter season:
- 2 percent BW for a 1,000lb horse = 20lb/day
- 5 months winter (depending on region) = 150 days
- 20lbs x 150 days = 3,000lbs or 1.5 tons of hay
- 2 percent BW for a 1,000lb horse = 20lb/day
This is equivalent to around 75 – 40lb bales of local hay. What to do when storage space is limited and hay is inconsistent is a difficult question.
What Hay Alternatives are Available?
There are a variety of forage forms available for feeding as part of a regular diet or when hay supplies are low or unavailable.
- Bales of conventionally baled fodder are available, as well as compressed bales (including Grab and Go® compressed bales), forage cubes (forage pellets), and chopped forage.
How Do I Feed It?
Pellets and cubes should be soaked between 15 minutes and 2 hours at a 2:1 water to forage pellet or cube ratio, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the hot summer months, avoid soaking for extended periods of time to prevent mold development, and during the cold winter months, avoid soaking for extended periods of time to avoid your horse having to pick their way through a solidified ice block.
5 Common Questions About Feeding Alternative Hay Sources
1. Is it true that cubes and pellets will not trigger my horse’s choking? Answer – This is a popular myth that is repeated over and over again in the media. Choking has absolutely nothing to do with the forage’s structure and everything to do with the way the animal feeds. Horses are frequently fed by meal, which causes the horse to be unsure about when they will receive their next meal. Regardless of the form, they may inhale it, resulting in choking and other complications. It is critical to feed the horse at ground level, allowing him to stretch his neck in his natural grazing stance while consuming the grain.
- Answer – No, horses do not require long stem fodder in their diets in order to maintain appropriate digestive function.
- Equine behavior problems can develop in horses who do not consume enough long stem fodder, including cribbing, weaving, manure-eating, and mane-and-tail biting.
- Our goods are not “cooked” since we do not utilize excessive heat and steam during the manufacturing process, which is insufficient to induce nutritional loss or “cook” the product.
- Answer – Feeding wet pellets or cubes are great for horses with dental concerns since they are softened and need less chewing and grinding.
- While long-stem fodder is excellent for increasing saliva production, which helps to protect the stomach against ulcers, it is preferable to give pellets during the treatment of hindgut ulcers.
- Question – How do I figure out the proper amount of cubes or pellets to feed my chickens?
- These weights should be measured dry, since when you add water to a product, all you are doing is adding water weight to it.
If you go from inferior quality hay to higher quality forage, nutrient utilization will improve, and the amount of grain or supplements required in the diet will be reduced.
Watch the Webinar
Do you still have questions about hay substitutes? The following ideas are discussed in further depth by Dr. Cubitt, one of our Standlee equine nutritionists, in a webinar recording titled, “When Quality Hay Is In Short Supply, What Can I Feed My Horse”:
- What it is and how it is made: pellets and cubes
- The advantages and disadvantages of bagged forages
- When to Include in Your Diet – Having a contingency plan in place in the event of a disaster (fire, natural disaster, etc.)
- How to Confidently Introduce HayAlternatives into Your Horse’s Nutritional Plan
Do You Know Your Forage Alternatives?
Hello, everyone! You may not be aware that there are several excellent forage options. Possibly, your pastures are looking a touch parched, or you may not even have any pasture at all! There are a variety of options for providing your horse with more fiber and fodder, and in this article, we’ll discuss three of my favorites (apart from doughnuts and fresh hay): hay cubes, hay pellets, and beet pulp. Horses require “long-stem” fiber in order to keep their digestive systems running smoothly and efficiently.
- This demand is often met by hay or grass pastures, among other things.
- Other horses are frequently on the move and require a steady source of high-quality fodder.
- Using forage alternatives for all of these goals is a fantastic tool to have.
- Hay cubes are compressed cubes of chopped hay that are shaped like squares or rectangles and are used for bedding.
- Hay cubes are often made entirely of timothy grass, entirely of alfalfa, or a combination of the two.
- Additionally, drinking enough of water is usually a good idea!
- Hay cubes can be offered dry, but only to horses with healthy teeth that do not have a tendency to eat too quickly when chewing.
Hay PelletsHay pellets are typically available in two sizes: tiny (similar in size to ordinary grain pellets) and big.
Hay pellets do not include any forage with long stems, either.
The term “complete” hay pellet refers to hay pellets that include all of the vitamins and minerals required by a horse to maintain good health.
Beet pulp is a type of vegetable pulp that comes from the root of the beet plant.
Despite the fact that beet pulp is a by-product of the sugar beet industry, the pulp itself contains relatively little sugar by weight.
If you plan to give pellets, you must soak them beforehand since they expand significantly when combined with water.
(I love mine to be really wet!) Soaking beet pulp facilitates the passage of water through the digestive tract, which is usually beneficial.
In addition to helping thin horses gain weight, beet pulp also has the added benefit of helping to maintain a healthy microbiome in the hindgut.
The professionals at the Equine Science Center can even assist you in making an informed nutritional selection! Until Next Time, my friends! Lord Nelson, I am honored to be your friend.
Hay Pellets for Horses
- Always consult with your veterinarian and/or an equine nutritionist to determine whether hay pellets are acceptable for your horse’s diet, either as a supplement or as the sole source of nutrition. They are quite effective for a large number of horses.
- I’ll also mention that horses have a way of bringing us to our knees. and in this particular instance, I have been deeply humbled! I’ve had a vendetta against hay pellets for many years now. In what way could they possibly be superior to long-stem fodder that is delivered in a bale?
- Let’s just say I’ve eaten a lot of crow in this regard — I now have a horse that won’t eat anything else than hay pellets since he’s allergic to anything else. They were the only thing that kept him alive
- These small pieces of hay.
Because they are so little, they are considerably more difficult to distinguish from hay cubes. And just as delectable!
The benefits of hay pellets
- Consistent, dust-free, weed-free, bug-free hay product
- Free of smashed snakes and birds
- Free of twigs
- And free of metals.
- Every bag is subjected to a guaranteed analysis. There’s no need to send samples to a lab if you want to know what’s in your horse’s forage
- You can do it yourself.
The feeds are the same size as the others. It’s simple to store and move about the house. Furthermore, it is considerably more maneuverable than a bundle of hay!
- Even more convenient to weigh and feed, as there is no hay wasted out the back of the cart. Everything fits into a bucket
- Nothing gets blown away, peed on, or destroyed by hooves, which makes it even easier to avoid food waste.
- There are several types available around the country
- When moving your horse to a new barn, city, or even state, utilizing pellets instead of replacing hay when you arrive at your new location can make the transition more safe.
- It is simple to store, transport, and maintain a rodent-free environment. This fantastic system, which has big screw caps that no rodent has ever managed to get through, is used by me.
These food vaults are fantastic!
- Feeding is simple during trailer journeys, and there is no need to be concerned about hay fragments floating around the trailer.
- This product is excellent for geriatric horses that have chewing or digestive difficulties. The consistency is substantially more tolerable for people with delicate digestive systems.
- Because it is pound for pound comparable to hay, there is no need for insane math abilities to figure out how much you should be feeding
Hay pellets can be supplemented with vitamins and medications. Spritz with water and give it a good swirl.
Downsides to hay pellets and what you can do about it:
- Some horses will gobble them up whole. Choking can occur as a result of this. To avoid this and promote “chewability,” briefly moisten the hay pellets or soak them in a hay mash before feeding them. Hay mashes are also beneficial for horses suffering from dental problems.
- You may also get a slow feeder that is meant for feeding feeds and pellets
- These feeders are available in a variety of sizes.
This is the feeder for the Pre-Vent.
- The Pre-Vent feeder may be found here.
- If your horse is not chewing as much as he used to, you may notice that he is chewing on other things. So be prepared with ideas, toys, exercise, friends, and other distractions to keep him occupied during the day
It’s simple to store, simple to measure, and simple to move! You may not want to utilize hay pellets all of the time until it is absolutely essential, but it is nice to know that you have alternatives if the situation calls for it. Purchase the fantastic slow feeder or food vault from this store. Shopping is available! As an Amazon Associate, I receive money when people make qualifying purchases via my links. You will be charged an additional ZIPPO fee! In addition, you assist me in maintaining this website, which I much appreciate.
Durvet/Equine D-Pre-Vent Feeder- Black 20X12 Inch Thank you very much!
Q&A: Alfalfa Hay, Cubes, and Pellets for Horses
Alfalfa pellets and cubes are a popular choice for horses that don’t perform as well on alfalfa hay. For example, compared to hay cuttings, pelleted or cubed hay has a higher consistency and tends to fluctuate less between bags, which makes it a more popular choice among farmers. Pellets and cubes can be dampened to promote palatability and water intake while also increasing hydration. Although it is not relevant to your scenario, elderly horses with bad teeth frequently do well on grass pellets that have been soaked before feeding.
Pellets and cubes are made from short-length fibers.
Long-stem fiber requirements should be satisfied as long as horses receive at least 1-2 lb (0.45-0.9 kg) of conventional hay per day, in addition to 1-1.5 percent of their body weight in alternative forage forms (pellets or cubes), according to the AHCA.
This may be especially true for horses that have little or no access to turnout, as is the case for many racehorses under professional management.
Furthermore, researchers have discovered that providing a small amount of alfalfa hay or chaff (and likely pellets) about 30 minutes prior to exercise can be beneficial in buffering stomach acid and providing a fibrous mat that may protect the sensitive part of the stomach from sloshing acid during the exercise.
Feeding the Senior Horse
A horse’s nutritional status is determined by when he is termed “aged” or “senior.” At the age of 15? At the age of twenty? Many nutritional studies undertaken on older horses have arbitrarily utilized the age of 20 years as the cut-off point for being considered “aged” or “senior” horses. The National Research Council (NRC) 2007 proposes three ways in which “old age” might be defined, which are detailed below.
- Chronological – the number of years that have passed from birth
- In the case of physiologic functions, the reduction in these functions serves as the threshold for old age. In the horse population as a whole, demographic data represents the age distribution of the horses.
It is possible that a combination of chronological age and physiological markers of aging will be the most effective method of defining this group of horses. As horses grow older, they go through a number of changes that have an impact on how and what you should be feeding them. The following are some physical markers of aging:
- Chewing can become difficult and even useless when a person suffers from dental disease or loses their teeth. Horses will find it difficult to graze if their incisors are worn down. Feed grinding is made more difficult by worn or broken molars. Horses with worn molars have a difficult time chewing hay, and they have a difficult time swallowing and digesting the hay. Horses with bad teeth can be supplemented with alternative forges like as hay cubes and pellets. To improve fiber intake, sugar beet pulp and soybean hulls can also be offered to the animals. Grains should be well processed (extruded, pelleted, micronized, or steam flaked) if they are fed since the hindgut loses part of its capacity to digest fiber when grains are offered to animals. When fiber fermentation is reduced, the nutrients available to older horses are reduced, and higher quality forages are required to supplement their nutritional needs. When feeding to older horses, it is preferable to feed them alfalfa hay or high-quality grass hays rather than stemmy or mature hays, which contain tougher fiber and are more difficult to ferment. The small intestinal tract loses some function – Older horses have more difficulty digesting protein in the small intestine. Aside from that, certain elderly horses with diminished liver and renal function may have difficulty excreting waste products connected with a high protein diet. When feeding older horses, it’s important to use high quality protein sources such as alfalfa, soybean meal and canola meal while not exceeding their nutritional requirements. The loss of body condition and muscle along the topline in older horses is attributed to the less effective digestion of certain nutrients in the older horse, most notably protein. Fortunately, commercial senior diets have corrected the amino acid balance, which has assisted in reversing these abnormalities
- Older horses are more susceptible to Cushing’s Syndrome. Cushing’s horses frequently lose muscle mass at a faster rate than a typical aging horse would experience. Again, increasing the amino acid balance (rather than simply eating MORE protein) can aid in reversing or maintaining muscle mass in older horses. Loss of mobility is one of the most evident changes that can occur in an older horse. Maintaining these horses in pastures/paddocks where feed and water supplies are relatively near together would assist in reducing the amount of time the elderly ones spend traveling vast distances to get food and water. It is important to review the senior horse on a regular basis in a herd since most will slide down the pecking order and are more readily manipulated. As a result, the older horse consumes less feed
- Loss in body score (also known as body condition or body fat) is associated with all of the difficulties listed above. For many older horses, extra calories are required in the form of highly digestible fiber from sources such as beet pulp, soy hulls, and dried alfalfa powder, among others. Aside from that, dietary fat is beneficial for weight loss.
Added Vitamin C should be included in the overall diet, which includes hay and grain combined (on a dry matter basis). The complete diet should contain 12-14 percent high quality protein, 3.0-0.4 percent phosphorus, 0.6-0.8 percent calcium, and added Vitamin C.
- Good quality grass or legume mix hay should be fed to aged horses with a BCS of 5 to 7 who are in good health and require 1.5-2.0 percent of their BW DM each day. Typically, no grain is required
- However, if one is desired or necessary, pick one that is low in carbohydrate and sugar and high in fat content (4-7 percent ). The use of forage-based pellets or cubes in these horses might replace 10 to 50% of the long stem/chopped forages. Horses over the age of four that are healthy and slender and have a BCS4 should be given 1.5-2.0 percent BW DM of good to exceptional grade grass or grass/legume mix hay. An old horse should be given 0.5-1.0 percent of body weight of a grain-based concentrate prepared for the aged horse with 12-14 percent crude protein and 4 to 7 percent fat. If your horse is prone to laminitis or has PPID, you should limit the amount of starch and sugar you feed him. Pellets or cubes made from forage can be used to replace 10 to 50 percent of the long stemmed or chopped forages in a diet.
Suggestions for management
- Increase the fat content of the feed and/or heat-process it (like extruded or pelleted). The use of extrusion and heat processing improves foregut digestibility. In order to ensure proper consumption of all other vitamins and minerals, Provide a free-choice vitamin/mineral blend that is formulated for horses that consume grass hay.
- If the horse cannoteat food (leaves wads of hay at the feeder), the following conditions apply:
- Diet a full feed that has a high amount of digestible fiber. Fiber foods such as beet pulp, dried alfalfa meal, and soy husk are also good options.
- Assure that the sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals are of excellent quality. If a horse is unable to chew properly, a slurry of full (and/or extruded) feed can be prepared for him. Maintain a minimum of three feedings each day. The total amount of food consumed should be 1.5 – 2.0 percent of the horse’s body weight (15 – 20 lbs. for a 1,000 lb. horse)
It is beneficial to have an old horse since they have a literal lifetime of experience under their girth. Good veterinary, farrier, and dental care are required to ensure that they remain in our care for as long as humanly feasible. In order to keep our elderly companions healthy, we must build a strong foundation of appropriate nourishment.
Rules to Feed a Horse By
Gina Cioli captured this image. Your horse, like you, requires a well-balanced diet in order to maintain good overall health. Your horse’s nutritional requirements, on the other hand, are significantly different from yours. Here are a few guidelines for feeding a horse that will assist you in ensuring that your horse is receiving a balanced diet.
Rules to Feed a Horse By: Forage First
Horses are grazing animals that eat grass. This implies that your horse’s digestive system has been uniquely designed to continuously handle forage, which is a high-fiber, low-energy dietary source. Grass is the most prevalent fodder that horses consume. Hay is another sort of plant. Forage is consumed practically continuously throughout the day, keeping your horse’s teeth in good condition and decreasing the likelihood of stomach ulcers, colic, and even boredom. Even better, forage may provide virtually all of your horse’s nutritional requirements, owing to the billions of bacteria in your horse’s stomach that aid in the breakdown of grass and hay!
Always keep in mind that not all hay is made equal.
Depending on the unique needs of the horse, any sort of hay may be appropriate for him.
As a general rule of thumb, an average-sized adult horse (weighing around 1,000 pounds) should ingest approximately 20 pounds of hay each day on average.
If at all feasible, distribute hay flakes throughout the day rather of providing only two meals each day. Hay or pasture are excellent for keeping your horse’s teeth, digestive system, and mental condition in good health. Photograph courtesy of Osetrik/Shutterstock
The Way to Weigh a Horse
Weighing your horse is an excellent approach to ensure that you’re providing him the proper quantity of grain. But how can one go about weighing such a massive animal? A little gadget known as a weight tape is the ideal solution. A weight tape is a thin, flexible piece of material that wraps around your horse’s body at the girth point. When you’ve got it snug, take a look at the number where the ends meet to get an idea of how much your horse weighs. Weight tapes are available at the majority of feed and tack stores.
- Weight tapes should be used periodically to keep track of changes in your horse’s overall physical health.
- Image courtesy of Chelle129/Shutterstock Once you’ve “weighed” your horse, make a note of both his weight and the date you measured him.
- Weight-taping your horse on a monthly basis may be a good idea.
- If your dog’s weight drops to the point that he is looking a little scrawny, consult your veterinarian about how to get his weight back up.
Concentrates, which are grain-based feeds that are high in calories, are available. These are excellent if your horse is putting forth a lot of effort, such as a three-day eventing or on numerous lengthy trail trips. Equivalent to loading up on a massive breakfast before a major test at school or an exhausting day of exercise, feeding your horse high-energy grains will provide him the energy he needs to achieve the task at hand. The same goes for your horse. Your horse, on the other hand, may not require the same amount of grain on a consistent basis.
If you believe you may need to alter your horse’s diet in this manner, consult with your veterinarian immediately.
Horses who get a lot of activity may require grain, whilst other horses may not require grain at all.
Senior horses may have a more difficult time keeping their weight under control. A variety of factors, including oral difficulties and metabolic concerns, might contribute to this condition. As horses age, their bodies work more to retain heat and muscle, and they have less efficiency in digestion and absorption of food than they had when they were younger. Because of this, if you have an elderly horse, he may require a particular diet. Special senior feeds are available that are balanced for all of the nutrients he need while also being simpler for an older horse to consume than regular feed.
soaking your horse’s hay may be a good idea to make it softer to chew and to prevent dust in the stable.
There are several ways to supplement a senior horse’s diet in order to ensure that he is receiving the proper nutrients.
Due to the fact that senior horses can not assimilate nutrients in their food as effectively as younger horses, a change in diet may be necessary. Image courtesy of Vera Reva/Shutterstock
A Balanced Diet
Just like you don’t necessarily consume the same meals as your pals, not all horses should be fed in the same manner as they are raised. The amount and kind of grains, vitamins, and forages you feed your horse are entirely dependent on his age, breed, health, as well as how and how often you ride him, among other factors. Don’t be concerned if this appears to be a difficult task. Commercial horse grain mixtures purchased from a feed store are well-balanced, ensuring that they include everything your horse requires to remain healthy.
- Allowing your horse to eat a trace mineral salt block (of the brown variety) can supply extra minerals while also meeting his salt requirements, which he will self-regulate.
- Talk to your veterinarian if you want to learn more about what your horse needs to eat.
- Understanding your horse’s nutrition and providing him with the nutrients he need should result in good health, a beautiful coat, decent muscular tone, and enough energy for your next ride!
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Alfalfa Pellets vs. Cubes: What’s Better for Your Horses?
Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! On a recent visit to a friend’s horse farm, we noted that he’s feeding alfalfa cubes to his mares, which we thought was a nice touch. Seeing this prompted me to consider introducing cubes into our horses’ feed; however, I’m not sure if alfalfa pellets would be much better than cubes and would be less difficult to store.
Alfalfa pellets, cubes, and hay all have the same amount of vital elements per pound of weight as grain.
However, there are many factors to consider while selecting the best application for your horse, and storage is only one of them.
|Alfalfa pellets||16% protein, 1.5% crude fat, and 30% fiber||Prices vary from 15-40 dollars per 40 lb bag.||Bags easy storage: 3/16ths to 1/2 inches pellets||Tasty and easy to consume. Soaking slows eating and softens for senior horses.|
|Alfalfa cubes||16% protein, 1.5% crude fat, and 30% fiber||Prices vary from 15-40 dollars per 40 lb bag.||Bags easy storage: 1 1/2 to 2-inch cubes||Tasty but hard, best fed broken and soaked in water.|
|Alfalfa hay||Each bale is different. Must be analyzed||Prices vary by region||21 in wide, by 16 inches high, by 3 to 4 feet long.||Tasty hay, long-stem forage.|
Alfalfa pellets and cubes have the same nutritional value.
The stability of the nutritional value of alfalfa pellets and cubes is a big advantage of using these products. It is necessary to develop and test each batch to guarantee that it has the proper amounts of proteins, lipids, and fibers, which are indicated on the label of each container. A prominent producer and marketer of commercial alfalfa pellets and cubes, Standlee gives an analysis of their product on the bags of pellets and cubes that they sell, as well as on their website. I ran the pellets and cubes through the lab and discovered that they each contain a minimum of 16 percent protein, 1.5 percent crude fat, and 30 percent fiber, according to the study.
However, the protein content of alfalfa hay varies significantly depending on the age at which it is harvested, where it is cultivated, and how it is cured and stored.
It is necessary to conduct an analysis of the hay in order to obtain an accurate measurement of its nutritional content. Note: Forage is essential in the development and maintenance of horses’ huge muscular frames.
Alfalfa pellets have less dust than cubes.
Grass is chopped into small parts and crushed before being fed into a die, where steam is used to moisten the hay and make it more malleable so that it may be concentrated into pellets. Using a die vask, this concentrated alfalfa mixture is turned inside and forced through a series of perforations. The pellets depart the die while still heated, and they cool and solidify swiftly. Pellets range in size from 3/16ths of an inch to 1/2 inch in diameter. The finished product is pure alfalfa grass pellets that contain low moisture and little dust, as described above.
Cubes are processed in a similar manner, except that the alfalfa hay is not crushed but rather roughly cut into minute pieces and then steamed instead of pulverized.
Despite the fact that Alfalfa cubes contain somewhat more dust than Alfalfa pellets, both contain far less dust and waste than ordinary Alfalfa hay does.
Alfalfa pellets are more convenient to feed than cubes.
Alfalfa pellets are stored in a drum and scraped out swiftly to be fed to your horses in a pail of water. They require no pre-mixing and are acceptable for use on the majority of horses right out of the bag. The most serious worry is that some horses may swallow them up too quickly and choke on them. In addition, because there is a risk of choking, you should never leave your pet unattended while it is eating pellets. It is best to mix the pellets with their feed or soak them in water before giving them to your horse if your animal is a fast eater.
It is advised that each cube be split into smaller pieces to make it easier for your horse to consume.
For a variety of reasons, many individuals soak cubes for 30 minutes before serving.
Alfalfa cubes are a better source of forage than pellets.
Horses require long-stem fodder due to the specific digestive mechanism that they have. A minimum of 1 percent of their body weight in forage each day, such as hay or grass or chaff with some grain is advised for their nutritional needs. The majority of horses ingest 2 percent of their body weight in fodder every day if they have access to pasture grass or adequate volumes of hay to eat. As an example, a 1000-pound horse would ingest around 20 lb of dry grass each day. In order to improve digestion of their meal, horses require a diet that includes long-stem fiber, which pellets do not supply.
Pellets are not a suitable hay alternative due to the lack of long-stem fiber in the pellets.
Alfalfa cubes are cut and compacted, rather than being crushed as is the case with pellets.
If hay is short, you can feed pellets in conjunction with one of the two methods listed above to totally replace grass; however, you should not use pellets as a substitute for hay in their whole.
Forage is the second most important portion of a horse’s diet, behind water, in terms of nutritional value.
Soak alfalfa pellets when feeding to older horses.
When it comes to horses with dental difficulties, alfalfa pellets and cubes fed moist are an excellent choice. Pellets are tiny and easy to eat for elderly horses once they have been softened. Pellets and cubes are hard to a certain extent; 30 minutes of soaking before feeding transforms them into an acceptable protein source for horses that have difficulties consuming grass or hay due to dental issues. Pellets are a fantastic forage-based source of calories and protein for elderly horses that are unable to maintain a regular equine diet due to physical limitations.
Alfalfa cubes and pellets can cause colic.
Overeating and diets high in grains or concentrated meals are two of the most common causes of colic in horses, according to the ASPCA. Horses will consume far more alfalfa cubes and pellets than is necessary for their health if given the opportunity. Pellets are also abundant in alfalfa hay, increasing the likelihood of colic in the animals. A horse will most likely consume all of the alfalfa cubes that are given to them, but when offered alfalfa hay, they are fussy and will typically squander portion of it, according to the USDA.
Obesity and colic are caused by overindulging in alfalfa.
Colic is caused by the inability of pellets to transport food through the digestive tract since they do not include long-stem forage.
How much alfalfa cubes should a horse eat a day?
It was only lately that I began giving our horses alfalfa cubes, but I was confused of how much to give them at a time. As a result, I decided to do some research on alfalfa cubes in order to figure out how much to feed my horses each day. The amount of alfalfa cubes you feed a horse is determined by the size of the animal and the amount of labor it has to do. Horses consume around 1 1/2 to 2 lbs. of their body weight on a daily basis. Equine calorie requirements rise while they are training or working really hard.
should consume around 16 pounds of alfalfa cubes each day, according to the USDA.
If you observe that your horse is losing weight, you can give 1.5 percent of its bodyweight in alfalfa cubes and increase the number of cubes you’re giving him to compensate.
Are alfalfa pellets and cubes as good as alfalfa hay?
Older horsemen who still feed alfalfa hay are not convinced that alfalfa pellets and cubes are as healthy to horses as providing them with hay. As a result, I decided to investigate the advantages of hay versus cubes and pellets. Horses who consume hay get benefits that are not available to horses who eat pellets or cubes. Horses given hay, for example, spend more time grazing, which increases saliva production, boosts dental and digestive health, and minimizes boredom in the horses.
Many horse owners assume that feeding their horses hay is the best option, but there are certain advantages to giving pellets and cubes instead.
Alfalfa is high-quality hay.
Horses are grazing animals with small stomachs, and as a result, they benefit from consuming modest quantities over a long period of time to maintain their weight. Food enters their stomach and goes through to their hindgut in a relatively short period of time. In addition, the long fibers of hay provide barriers that absorb acids, so preventing stomach ulcers from forming. Horses are prone to colic and boredom as a result of the rapidity with which they consume cubes and pellets. However, colic can develop for a variety of reasons, and feeding tiny quantities of soaking cubes and pellets to regulate their intake can help to lessen the likelihood of it occurring.
- Because grazing horses eat constantly, their teeth are worn down more regularly over time, resulting in superior dental health.
- Chewing also results in the production of saliva in the horse’s mouth, which helps to keep the meal wet and lubricates the intestines.
- In addition to being pleasant, alfalfa is a highly digested feed for horses.
- Alfalfa that is of high grade should be lush and brilliant green in color.
There are some advantages of pellets and cubes over hay.
Pellets and cubes are convenient for transporting horses over long distances since they are easy to pack and feed. There is no waste when using cubes and pellets because they take up less storage space. There is usually a lot of hay left on the ground that has to be cleaned up and disposed of in hay storage places, which may be frustrating. Pellets and cubes are convenient for transporting horses over long distances since they are easy to pack and feed. There is no waste when using cubes and pellets because they take up less storage space.
When horses are fed hay, they frequently just take the leaves and leave the stems; but, when horses are fed pellets, they swallow the complete product.
Each bag is labeled by the manufacturer, allowing you to make simple adjustments to your horse’s diet.
A senior horse with missing or broken down teeth might benefit greatly from the use of pellets, which provide calories and protein in large quantities. Hay pellets that have been well-softened may be the sole healthy feeding source available to the horse.
Take your time when switching from hay to pellets.
Horses have a delicate digestive system that’s readily affected when their nutrition changes. For this reason, modifications must be introduced gradually over ten days to two weeks; if not, colic or other digestive diseases are a possibility. Introduce the pellets by adding them to the top of your horse’s hay ration while simultaneously reducing back on its feed. Gradually increase the pellets and reduce the hay you regularly feed your horse. Remember, pellets are not a substitute for all your horse’s fodder needs, they can replace alfalfa hay if your animal has other hay or grass, but a horse must ingest long-stem forage for optimum digestion.
Alfalfa cubes are superior to alfalfa pellets in terms of overall quality for our objectives. Pellets cannot be used as a substitute for alfalfa hay, although cubes can be used in its place. In addition to being handy and providing excellent nutritional content, alfalfa cubes produce little waste. The only challenge is regulating the horses’ daily caloric intake. Even while I don’t think we’ll be able to completely replace hay with cubes, it’s a feasible option. In case you’re interested in learning more about how to feed horses, you may read the following article: What Does a Horse Eat and Drink?
No, bermudagrass hay is not harmful to horses; but, it does not provide all of the protein, critical minerals, and vitamins that horses require. On the plus side, it has a large amount of fiber, which aids in the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients by horses. More information about Bermuda hay may be found in this article: Bermuda Hay – Is It Beneficial for Your Horse? Consider the following five facts.
Does feeding beet pulp to your horse cause diarrhea?
When fed to horses, beet pulp does not often produce diarrhea in the animals. As a matter of fact, many horse owners feed beet pulp to their horses suffering from diarrhea since it is high in fiber and dry content, which aids in the concentration of the stomach fluid. More information on the benefits and drawbacks of feeding your horse beet pulp can be found in this article: Feeding Beet Pulp to Horses: The Good and the Bad (and Where to Find It).
Alfalfa pellets and cubes are manufactured by Standlee, which is a world-renowned company. Although the prices on Amazon are exorbitant, I have provided you with a link to read what customers have to say about their items before making your purchase. The pellets earned a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars, while the cubes obtained a rating of 4.5 stars.
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- Alfalfa pellets customer reviews
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