Alfalfa cubes are just what the name implies — alfalfa hay that has been made into cubes.
This is accomplished by chopping the alfalfa hay into smaller particles and then compressing it into cube form. Because the particles of hay still have a fairly large size the cubes are still considered long stem forage.
This longer particle size is what allows them to be used as a hay replacement, because the horse’s digestive system still utilizes them in the same manner as hay.
One question that is often brought up when a horse owner decides to feed alfalfa cubes is
”Do the cubes need to be soaked prior to feeding?”
The short answer is that it depends on the horse.
Whether or not your horse requires soaked cubes, you want to be sure your feeding a quality cube. We did a little experiment to take a closer look at the quality of the Alfalfa Cubes we carry and here’s what we found.
We currently have three different brands of cubes in the stores:
“Pride of the Plains”
and “Top of the Rockies”
We soaked a few cubes in a bucket of cold water for 15 minutes. (we opted for cold rather than warm because we think that’s what the majority of our customers & horse owners have access to in their barns) And we found that after that amount of time “Pride of the Plains” and “Ontario” had soaked up enough water to be consumed easily by most horses. Again, every horse is different and may require the cubes to soak longer.
The “Top of the Rockies” took a little longer to soak through, being that it is a longer cube that’s understandable.
We found that they were all of good quality with little stems and lots of foliage. That is what we want to see. We did feel that the “Top of the Rockies” pulled ahead slightly, having more foliage and even fewer stems than the other two.
In short, we were pleased with the quality of all the cubes we offer to our customers. And we found it to be a fun way to take a closer look at an often over looked product. All the brands listed above are in 50lb bags & cost around $15.00 a bag.
So, to soak? Or not to soak? That is the question.
We encourage you to take an active role in your horses feeding program, especially if you are the care giver to older horses. It can be easy sometimes to just “dump & run” at feeding time. (hey, the rest of the chores won’t do themselves, right?) But take the time to note if your horse is able to eat his entire portion easily, or if he seems to struggle or choke. A simple call to your vet can help to determine if he simply needs some dental work, or if you need to start soaking his feed.
You can find more about soaking Alfalfa Cubes and horse nutrition by clicking the link below.
The site “Understanding Horse Nutrition” has some helpful advice for doing just that, understanding horse nutrition! And as always, feel free to call, text, or stop by your favorite feed store, Woodard Mercantile!