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The Standlee Barn Bulletin is your source for insightful articles about premium western forage and beyond.

The Scoop on Hay Cubes for Horses

The Scoop on Hay Cubes for Horses

Are you curious about hay cubes? Whether you’re a beginner horse owner or veteran lifelong owner of horses the post below will give you the scoop on Standlee cubes, made with premium western quality forage.

How Standlee Makes Cubes

Hay cubes consist of dried forage, such as alfalfa, that is formed into 1.25” wide x 2.5” long rectangular pieces. To make a cube, Standlee Premium Products first grows the forage plant to the proper stage of maturity, and then cuts, dries and bales the forage into conventional bales for storage. Throughout the year, this baled forage is then coarsely chopped to a fiber length of approximately 2 – 2.5”, mixed with water and bentonite (a natural clay binder). Bentonite is an approved horse feed ingredient that is used to prevent the crumbling of cubes prior to feeding (NRC, 2007). The moistened forage is then pushed through a dye with pressure to form the cube. Once made, the forage cubes are dried to a moisture level that allows for proper storage. Standlee currently manufactures certified alfalfa cubes, premium alfalfa cubes and alfalfa/timothy grass cubes.

Benefits of Feeding Cubes to Horses

Hay cubes can be used effectively as the sole source of roughage for all classes of horses. They are a great solution when soaked for horses who struggle to chew, need additional hydration, or mixing in medication or vitamins into their diet. They make travel easy and mess-free, and make great treats.

Frequently Asked Questions About Forage Cubes

Are Cubes Better Than Hay for Horses?

The use of hay cubes can help in monitoring and control overall feed intake. Limited forage or hay is a time when hay cubes may be preferred over hay pellets. As stated, it takes more time to chew cubes (versus pellets), which promotes increased saliva production and makes horses take longer to eat.

Can You Give a Horse too Many Hay Cubes?

It is imporant to know how much hay your horse needs in whatever form that you feed it in. The easiest way to measure the amount of forage that you offer to your horse is through weighing it. If you are feeding hay cubes instead of loose hay, all you need to do is measure the dry weight of your cubes, and have that match the weight of hay flakes that you would be feeding.

If you want to know how much you should be feeding your horse, we recommend that you use our Standlee Feed Calculator.

Types of Horses that Benefit from Forage Cubes

Horse cubes in pan

High-quality forage cubes can be beneficial for many different types of horses.

Poor Dentition

First, any horse that is having difficulty chewing due to poor or missing teeth can benefit from soaked forage cubes. The soaked forage cube provides fiber that is shorter in length and easy to swallow for horses with dental issues.

Underweight Horses

Horses that are underweight are also good candidates for forage cubes. The high-quality forage utilized to make Standlee Premium Western Forage Cubes will provide an elevated calorie intake compared to most local hay sources.

Performance Horses

For horses with a higher activity level, alfalfa cubes are a good choice since they provide the protein needed for muscle and bone development and repair.

Horses with Gastric Ulcers

The calcium in alfalfa cubes buffers stomach acid, potentially reducing the occurrence of gastric ulcers in performance horses.

Certified Noxious Weed Free

Federal and State authorities require certified noxious weed free forage to be fed in protected national lands. Certified Standlee products are ideal for horses used for trail riding or guided pack trips.

Finally, forage cubes can be fed to all types of horses when baled hay is in short supply or when the quality of local hay is marginal. Replacing all or part of baled hay with forage cubes will provide high-quality nutrient-rich forage for you horses. Simply replacing 1 pound of baled hay with 1 pound of forage cubes will boost forage quality and nutrient intake.

If you have questions, please contact the nutritionists at Standlee Premium Western Forage, or consult with your veterinarian.

By Dr. Stephen Duren
Standlee Nutritional Expert - Performance Horse Nutrition

Department of Animal and Food Sciences

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