In our previous episode, I spent all of my reviewing time running around like a crazy person with the smell of mold stuck in her nose. But eventually I got to the good stuff.
PLAYING WITH DUNCAN’S FOOD!
Even without the cubes, we had cookies, pellets, compressed grass/alfalfa, and beet pulp shreds to fuss with. 8)
I’ve used hay pellets extensively (of bermuda/alfalfa); these timothy pellets are a little smaller in diameter. Because I make a daily mash of pelleted food–a carrier for supplements and/or meds–I used the pellets in a mash to be consistent with my usual. So here’s my little visual diary:
My little score card:
Pros: 40lb bag, nice size to carry; shiny yummy pellets that Duncan liked; they soaked up well and quickly.
Cons: Nothing in particular, other than the obvious “costs more to feed than hay does.” I’ve always found hay pellets as a good option as a supplementary food, and as a post-ride treat, when I scatter them around Duncan’s stall for an extended treasure hunt.
(Note: Duncan’s stall is a walk-in arrangement without bedding, and the floor is covered with stall mats. So this particular method works for us, but wouldn’t for everyone.)
However, I’m likely to get the timothy/alfalfa mix pellets if I can find them, because…
We also tried the compressed grass/alfalfa bale and oh boy.
Alfalfa doesn’t happen to agree with Duncan when fed as any significant percentage of his diet, but he likes it fine–and I thought the grass/alfalfa mix might be a nice way to give him a little something special now and then. I grabbed some of the mix and a handful of the timothy and set them out for a taste test.
Duncan didn’t hesitate, of course. He went straight for the mix, every time. Then I upped the ante and gave him a really yummy mash, and once he was eating, I quietly spread a small amount of the mixed hay in the other corner of the stall. Like a magnet, oh yes. He didn’t even look at the mash until the hay mix was gone.
Pros: He loves it. He loves it. He loves it. Also, it’s a good balance of nutrients, with the sugary timothy vs the alfalfa’s protein. It’s also tidy in its compressed bale, and was good-looking hay. I like the consistent quality of these compressed bales.
Cons: Well…it’s an expensive way to get alfalfa…
I’ve been using beet pulp for ages. I soak it, I feed it dry (scattered)…whatever. I used pellets, which take hours to soak up if that’s what you want from them, while shreddings soak up in about 30 minutes.
If there’s a difference in the taste experience, Duncan didn’t mention it.
I fed the shreds in his mash meal and scattered across his stall like chicken feed; he gobbles it down either way.
Pros: All the good things about beet pulp pellets, lightweight bag, short soaking time.
Cons: More expensive way to buy it, curiously difficult to scoop.
I saved the dessert for last, of course! The cookies! “Whinny Nicker Horse Treats!”
When the box arrived, it emitted a wonderful berry scent! These are little mini hay cubes–alfalfa, timothy, and cranberry all infused with apple juice–and I really like that it’s easy to break them down into smaller portions. (Duncan isn’t as fond of that feature as I am.) They’re fun to have around and I enjoy feeding them–plus don’t worry that he’s getting junk food when I do. That’s a big plus!
I don’t have any photos of Duncan eating the cookies, because I only have two hands. Pesky logistics.
Anyway, in the end I learned a whole lot more about timothy hay cubes than I ever expected, and…I had fun! Taking pictures, soaking and timing the pellets, watching Duncan scarf down that alfalfa mix and the cookies with whiskery gusto…a little adventure for my little barn life. I’ve always been impressed with the compressed timothy–it seems like a really forward-thinking way to manage hay, and it has a consistent quality I don’t always get from regular baled hay, whatever the source. But I think mainly what I learned is that my own Hitchn Post feed store is awesome (which I already knew!), and that Standlee’s customer service withstands a good shake-down with responsive dignity. Things worth knowing, I think.