Both Alfalfa cubes and pellets have less dust than hay and are an excellent alternative forage source for horses with respiratory issues. Additionally, the twice-a-day feeding routine you follow is quite unnatural and requires internal adjustments that stress the digestive and metabolic systems. Alfalfa is most beneficial for horses with high energy needs due to their moderate to high level of exertion. I have raised some winning horses and had some that didn't make it as racehorses, so we trained them in other disciplines. And pellets are concentrated alfalfa hay, which also increases the risk of colic. (HYPP is a potentially fatal inherited disorder related to elevated potassium levels.) Alfalfa pellets, cubes, and hay provide the same essential nutrients per pound. Pellets are too processed and are such a small size that they aren’t big enough to stimulate the digestive tract and move food or promote tract health. Two primary causes of colic in horses is overeating, and diets that include grains or concentrated foods. Tasty but hard, best fed broken and soaked in water. Pellets are small and easy for older horses to consume once they have been softened. Pellets are an excellent way to get calories and protein in a senior horse with missing or broken down teeth. should eat approximately 16 pounds of alfalfa cubes per day. Feed complete feed with highly digestible fiber. Demographic – reflects an age-group population within the whole horse population. Complete feeds are designed for these senior horses that need to get all of their fiber and other nutrients from an easier to chew source. Some people, though, just don’t want to feed alfalfa — they believe it causes laminitis. Choose forage sources such as Timothy instead of Alfalfa to reduce the calorie content of the diet. Worn molars cannot chew hay and the horses have a difficult time swallowing and digesting the hay. All rights reserved. The small intestine loses some function - Older horses find it harder to digest protein in the small intestine. In addition, dietary fat helps with weight loss. early bloom alfalfa hay, the difference is much smaller than for lower quality hays such as late-maturity grass hays. No longer do you need to soak your hay or pellets. 21 in wide, by 16 inches high, by 3 to 4 feet long. Generally, horses eat between 1 1/2-2 lbs. When is a horse considered “aged” or a “senior” with respect to nutrition? In hay storage areas, there is always a lot of hay left on the ground that needs to be picked up and discarded. Remember, pellets are not a substitute for all your horse’s forage needs, it can replace alfalfa hay if your animal has other hay or grass, but a horse must consume long-stem forage for proper digestion. It is a good source of energy, proteins, minerals, and vitamins and is readily available across the United States. Phone: (515) 294-5260, Digestive Anatomy and Physiology of the Horse. One significant advantage of alfalfa pellets and cubes is the consistency of their nutritional value. Diarrhea in Senior Horses December 21, 2014 December 1, 2014 by Mary Walby The second senior horse I took in was a 27 year­-old palomino gelding named Thunder. Cortisol plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats and helps to balance the effects of insulin in the breakdown of sugar for energy. Food comes into their stomach and passes through relatively quickly to their hindgut. But, there is a lot to choosing the right application for your horse, and storage is just one consideration. Physiologic – the decline in physiologic functions as the threshold for old age. Grazing horses keep their minds occupied, picking through and eating hay and grass; horses that eat cubes and pellets often eat fast and have idle time, which leads to boredom and cribbing. To make alfalfa pellets, alfalfa hay is cut into small sections, pulverized and loaded into a die where steam is added to moisturize the alfalfa and to make it pliable to concentrate. Chaffhaye For Horses. Fact: Grass hays can be high in potassium too. Again, improving the amino acid balance (not just feeding MORE protein) can help reverse the loss of or maintain muscle mass. Eating hay benefits horses in ways not obtainable by eating pellets or cubes. The prices from Amazon are high, but I provide you a link so you can read the reviews of what customers have to say about their products. Gradually switching your horse’s diet should prevent digestive problems. For horses that are fast eaters, you can mix the pellets with their feed or soak them in water before offering them to your animal. However, when quality alfalfa hay isn’t a viable option, cubes can be substituted. I feed him 4-5x a day. Also, note that one pound of alfalfa pellets has the same nutritional value as one pound of hay. Lucky for us, a friend of ours sells new and used tires, and we need to replace our horse trailer tires. The biggest concern is that some horses gobble them down too fast and choke. As fed from the bag, it contains 9% protein. Some physical signs of aging are: The total diet, hay and grain combined (dry matter basis), should contain 12-14% high quality protein, 03. Tasty and easy to consume. Standlee is a significant producer and seller of commercial alfalfa pellets and cubes and provides an analysis of their product on the bags of pellets and cubes they sell. Because pellets aren’t long-stem forage, they don’t move food through the digestive tract, which can lead to colic. The Very Best Grazing Muzzles, and Why Your Horse Needs One. Cubes and pellets take less storage space and there is no waste. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site. The basic ingredients of a feeding program for senior horses should include high quality forage, a commercial Most of the senior feeds on the market have some type of forage included, whether it is alfalfa meal, soy hulls, beet pulp, or a combination of these ingredients. So I decided to research the benefits of hay over cubes and pellets. Alternative forges like hay cubes and pellets can be fed to horses with poor teeth. “Soaking a feed, such as alfalfa cubes, does make feed consumption easier on the horse. Prices vary from 15-40 dollars per 40 lb bag. 3. I don’t think we will substitute cubes for hay full-time, but it is a viable alternative. Horses evolved as a grazing animal, which means that they are meant to nibble on small amounts of food over the course of an entire day, and most of this food should be in the form of roughage, or hay. If your horse tends to be wasteful with his hay, he may eat more when offered alfalfa hay cubes or pellets. If you notice your horse losing weight, feeding 1.5% of its body weight in alfalfa increase the volume of cubes you’re feeding. Alfalfa typically has a thicker stem and lots of leaves. senior horses should be to maintain an optimal body condition score of 4 to 6 on a scale of 1 to 9 (Henneke et al. Many nutritional studies conducted on older horses have arbitrarily used 20 years of age as the threshold for “aged” or “senior” The NRC 2007 suggests three ways in which “old age” can be defined, which are listed below. Forage that has been dehydrated, ground and cooked to make pellets can technically replace hay. Chopped cubed hay (usually alfalfa or timothy or a combination) is another 100-percent replacement. In order to get an accurate measure of the hays’ nutritional value, it has to be analyzed. If the horse cannot chew well, one can make a slurry of complete (and/or) extruded feed. Policies The SafeChoice Senior does contain alfalfa as a roughage source – we would suggest for a balanced overall diet, to use an increased level of the Senior in place of the missing alfalfa cubes – just make sure, as with any transition, to do so slowly over a period of … link to What Size Are Horse Trailer Tires? The only issue is controlling horses’ daily intake. Therefore they do provide some of the benefits of long-stem forage and can safely replace hay in an equine’s diet. Feeding horses Alfalfa reduces or even eliminates the need for supplements which often have a laxative effect. In hay storage areas there is always a lot of hay left on the ground that needs to be picked up and discarded. At 20? Typically, no grain is required but if desired or needed, choose one with restricted starch/sugar and contains added fat (4-7%). Copyright © 1995-var d = new Date(); var n = d.getFullYear(); document.write(n); Cubes and pellets take less storage space, and there is no waste. Chaffhaye Alfalfa is a high-fiber forage and excellent source of protein. High-quality alfalfa should be leafy and bright green. So a 1000 pound horse would typically consume 20 lb of dry forage in a day. Plus Pony Facts Every Owner Should Know. Ames, IA 50011 Alfalfa is palatable and a highly digestible food source for horses. Soaking serves two purposes; it softens the cubes and increases your horse’s water intake, which is always a good thing. Is Your Horse Too Skinny to Ride? Loss of body score (body condition or body fat) is related to all of the above issues. In these horses, forage based pellets or cubes could replace 10 to 50% of the long stem/chopped forages. The amount of protein supplied by alfalfa can go a long way toward satisfying the high protein requirements of young growing horses. Increase the amount of alfalfa cubes in your horse’s feed gradually over the course of 7 to 10 days. Fiber sources include beet pulp, dehydrated alfalfa meal and soy hull. I was looking for a forage product to supplement their soaked pellets and cubes. Both are formulated and checked to ensure each batch has the correct amount of proteins, fats, and fibers, which is listed on each container. Another fiber supplement is beet pulp, which contains about the same digestible energy as good quality hay. A solid foundation of good nutrition is required for maintaining our old friends. Hay pellets. The leaves are the location the protein and vitamins reside, and the bright green color indicates proper curing, lack of mold, and carotene content. 7 Essential Tire Facts. Gradually, increase the pellets and continue to reduce the hay you regularly feed your horse. A combination of Alfa-Beet, Pure Grass Pellets and a High Fibre Cube can be the best senior horse feed options or for those who can’t even manage to … And since there is a risk of choking, don’t leave your animal unattended when it’s eating pellets. Starch and sugar should be minimized if the horse is prone to laminitis or has PPID. He acts good, makes manure, has gut sounds. If the senior horse is maintained in a herd, they should be evaluated on a continuous basis because most will fall down the pecking order and are more easily bossed around. The pituitary tumors associated with PPID influences the adrenal glands to release cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Pellets have two problems related to colic, overeating, and being a concentrate. Alfalfa has a somewhat bad reputation among horse owners, but it is often misunderstood and utilized improperly. of their body weight. The pellets exit the die warm and quickly cool and harden. My horses love the Alfalfa Forage Blend! There is no nutritional difference between alfalfa pellets and cubes, so the choice between the two is based on which type your horses prefer and which you prefer to feed and store. You can email us at with any questions. Therefore, the key to feeding older horses is to use high quality protein from sources like alfalfa, soybean meal and canola meal without oversupplying their requirements. It’s critical to ration alfalfa cubes and pellets. Worn incisors will make it difficult for horses to graze. Alfalfa hay and good quality grass hays are preferable to stemmy and mature hays that have tougher fiber to ferment.