Question re: starting timothy cubes


I have started my gelding on the cubes and am up to four pounds a day.  My goal is to increase to ten-twelve pounds.  Is it accurate that twelve pounds of cubes would be equivalent to fifteen pounds of hay?       How careful do I need to be in the process of increasing cubes/decreasing hay?   I'm concerned about risk of colic by just going to the 10-12 pounds without working up to it very slowly.   

Also, if I can only feed the cubes 3 x a day that is about 4 pounds at once when I get him up to the desired amount per day.   Are there any concerns with feeding that much at one time?

He will be supplemented with my brome hay.   Thanks for any advice the group can give. 

Robyn & Slim 

Kansas 2012 

Sherry Morse

Hi Robyn,

Cubes are fed at a 3:4 ratio to hay.  Therefore if you are replacing 15lbs of hay you would be feeding no more than 11.25lbs of cubes per day and you may find you need less depending on the horse.  Depending on how much your horse weighs and how much he should be eating in a day you can still feed hay; but you may need to decrease the amount of cubes fed (or hay) to make sure you don't go over the 2% of body weight guideline (and of course taking into account the 3:4 ratio as mentioned above).

I'll let some of the folks who actually feed cubes address the other part of your question.


Hi, Robyn.
You don't mention if he's an easy keeper who inhales his food or a thin older horse you're trying to keep at a good weight. IMO four pounds isn't too large a quantity to feed at one time to a horse. It's forage, not grain, so the 2 lb limit doesn't apply. 

If your horse is overweight and is gobbling down the cubes, you may need to make adjustments to slow his consumption. 

As for the rate of substitution, keep an eye on your geldings weight once you reach your target of 11-12 pounds of cubes/day. I've analyzed ODTBC three times, and each time, the Digestible Energy (calories) has been comparable to our local grass hay. The  cubes are more highly digestible than our hays, so horses may extract more calories from them. That's going to vary by individual.
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
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I have five horses and ponies here, each eating timothy balance cubes in varying amounts.  They get fed three times daily but I am concerned about the overnights so, for those who don’t get hay, I leave a treat ball in their stalls overnight, containing some of their cubes, unsoaked.  It can result in quite a racket as they roll the balls around but it seems to be working as far as stretching their meals.  The cubes that fed in a dish get lots of water added so each meal comes in several large dishes.
Martha in Vermont
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July 2012 
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