Horse owners are turning to hay cubes as a more nutritious alternative to chaff.

Horses are designed to continuously consume small amounts of roughage throughout the day and they can’t have a healthy gastrointestinal system without it. This means when pasture is low, your horse is stabled, you are travelling, or your horse is prone to laminitis you need to look at alternative sources of fibre.

It is common in Australia to see horse owners feeding a lot of chaff to bulk out concentrated feeds, however, using chaff could be dangerously replacing long stem roughage and cost you money.

Horses need long stem roughage

Long stem roughage simulates your horse’s natural desire to graze, takes longer to chew and keeps them fuller for longer.

Hay cubes are made up of hay, coarsely chopped to maintain an ideal fibre length and then compressed into 32mm Hay Cubes. They have the added advantage of using the entire plant, ensuring no selective foraging occurs. As chaff is cut short, chew time is shortened and horses don’t get the benefits of long-stemmed forage, which means you need to ensure your horse has access to pasture or hay.

Remember, horses need to be fed by weight not volume and they require at least 1.5% of their body weight (kg) per day in roughage. Chaff is light and fluffy meaning it provides the illusion that you are feeding more when it weighs significantly less than hay cubes or hay.

Beware of additives in chaff

Many chaffs contain additives and sweeteners. Although often made from natural by-products (such as molasses) – these additives may not be suitable for every horse, like those suffering from metabolic conditions. Hay cubes have no additives and are made from 100% natural feed-tested hay and make the ideal forage base for additional pellets, concentrates and supplements.

Wasting chaff

Chaff is cut into small light pieces which means horses eat it too quickly and being light and fluffy in nature means it can easily blow away if your horse is paddock fed. Hay Cubes provide less opportunity for wastage as they are compressed into 32mm cubes, which are weather tolerant, heavier and take longer to chew.

Dust in chaff

Chaff varies greatly in quality and because it’s cut into very small pieces it can often become dusty even if dust is extracted. This is particularly a problem if your horse suffers from respiratory issues. Minimal dust occurs in hay cubes as they are dust extracted and the method of cubing further reduces the occurrence of dust.

Is your chaff feed tested?

Modern horses often have complex feed requirements and it’s essential to understand the nutrients contained in your fibre sources. MultiCube provides tests for all their products to assist you with meeting your horse’s nutritional requirements.

Types of chaff

Like chaff, hay cubes come in a variety of different forages to suit your horses’ individual needs. MultiCube Hay Cubes are grown in Australia and come in four types: Lucerne, Lucerne and Oaten, Teff and Lucerne, and Pasture Hay Cubes.

There is a hay cube to suit every horse; Lucerne Hay Cubes is is great for gut health and extra energy. Teff and Lucerne Hay Cubes are perfect for horses and ponies suffering from laminitis as they are low in starch and sugar. Lucerne and Oaten Hay Cubes offer an alternative to working/performance horses who don’t need a full lucerne feed.  Pasture Hay Cubes are made from a blend of clover, rye and oaten hay and are a great maintenance feed.

1kg of Lucerne Hay Cubes vs 1kg of Lucerne Chaff