If I feed my horse 15 lb of hay per day, would he eat the same amount of hay pellets or hay cubes? If I were to switch my horse from baled hay to cubes or pellets, can I do this overnight, or does it need to be a gradual transition?
One of the most prevalent causes of colic and/or digestive upset is a sudden change in diet. Dietary change should be made slowly over a two-week period. It takes at least this long for the digestive system to adjust to the new feed. A satisfactory method for switching horses from baled hay to cubes involves simply adding a few cubes on top of the baled hay at each feeding. Horses will take some time in learning to eat hay cubes; a certain amount of awkwardness should be expected in the transition.
Yes, you would start by feeding the same amount. Hay cubes and hay pellets are made of the same basic material (dried plants) as long stem baled hay. Research has shown that no differences in digestibility occur between good quality baled hay and the same hay made into pellets or cubes. If the type of hay used in the cube or pellet is different from the type of long stem hay currently being fed, you may need to adjust (increase or decrease) the amount of pellets depending on the body condition of the horse.
For example, if you are feeding grass hay and switch to an alfalfa cube the amount of calories in a pound of alfalfa cubes is higher than contained in one pound of grass hay.
Therefore, the horse may require fewer pounds of alfalfa cubes to maintain body weight. If the type of hay used in the cube or pellet is the same as what the horse had been eating, feed the same weight.
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