Alfalfa Cubes vs Pellets: Choose the Right Horse Feed Option

Alfalfa is a popular forage option among horse keepers. Alfalfa, also called lucerne, is a substantial source of slow energy-release feed for horses. The awareness among horse owners has substituted the hay bales with alfalfa cubes and pellets. The feed alternatives are equivalent to the long-stem hay nutrient index. But how will you choose the right feed option for the horse? Here’s everything you need to know on alfalfa cube vs pellets.

Alfalfa Cubes vs Pellets- What to Include in Horse’s Diet?

Alfalfa or lucerne is a nutrient-dense forage containing protein, minerals, and energy. It is less in starch or non-structural carbohydrate content.

Horses do well on Alfalfa hay, but horse lovers prefer its cube or pelleted form. There is a reason behind this feed change.

Cubes and Pellets are palatable options with less wastage of feed. Also, the availability and storage of alfalfa cubes and pellets are easy.

Alfalfa cubes and pellets are the product of dried and compressed hay. Many commercial products contain other forages in combination with the Alfalfa. Nutritionally, both cubes and pellets are the same. Both cubes and pellets have a composition and digestion almost similar to hay.

Everything remains the same! Then what’s the need to ponder upon choosing one of them for your horse?

Alfalfa Cubes for Horses

Dehydrated and compressed alfalfa hay cubes, 1 or 2 inches in length, are a wonderful source of forage and digestive energy for horses. The Alfalfa cubes are rich in protein, which supports muscle development.

Pros of feeding alfalfa cubes to horses:

  • Texture of alfalfa cubes: Cubes have a chewy texture which facilitates good dental condition of the horse.
  • Reduced Feed Wastage: The size and soaked nature of the cubes reduce feed wastage. When we feed alfalfa cubes to horses in the ground, the residual feed is less than its hay counterpart.
  • Monitoring and regulating feed intake: It becomes easy for horse keepers to calculate the amount of feed given to each horse when feeding cubes. Such calculated feed intake is necessary for growing horses and broodmares.
  • Reduced dust in the feed: The hay bales during storage and serving accumulate dust in them. Alfalfa cubes have little dust and hence prove better for diminishing colic and respiratory distress instance in horses.

Cons of Alfalfa cubes:

  • Controlled Feeding: Horse owners must keep a check on overweight horses for controlled feeding of cubes.
  • Soaking Session: It is essential to soak cubes for an optimum period before feeding to prevent choking and increase the digestibility of cubes.

Alfalfa Pellets for Horses

The grinding, drying, and compressing of alfalfa results in the formation of cylindrical pellets. Alfalfa pellets are a nutritious and convenient way of feeding horses.

Advantages of feeding alfalfa pellets to horses:

  • Uniform nutrition-rich feed: alfalfa pellets are high in fiber and protein. They are naturally low in sugars. When added to the horse’s feed, it makes a good forage option.
  • Less dust: The production procedure of pellets is dust-free. It is safe for horses with respiratory allergies.
  • Less prone to mold: It doesn’t easily catch mold since it is a dehydrated product that is conditioned with steam.
  • Treat for older horses: Senior horses or horses with compromised dental health can rely on pellets. Pellets are easy to chew and digest.

Cons of alfalfa pellets:

  • Limited natural foraging behavior: Horses have a natural urge to chew on forage more. But with the small size, horses consume pelleted feed quickly.


Q 1. Can horses eat alfalfa?

Ans: Alfalfa is a nutrient-rich proteinaceous forage for horses. Horses can have alfalfa fiber-rich forage in their diet daily with a few precautions.

Q 2. How to feed alfalfa cubes?

Ans: Alfalfa cubes are a protein-rich alternative to the hay offered to horses. You can feed alfalfa cubes dry or soak them in water for at least 45 minutes to make them palatable. The soaking of cubes depends on the horse’s condition.

Q 3. Can you feed alfalfa pellets dry?

Ans: Alfalfa pellets are small and easy to chew when compared to cubes. Horse owners feed horses by adding dry pellets to the concentrate. You can soak the pellets to make them more palatable. Soak the pellets for senior horses or ones with major dental issues.


Horse diet is a multifactorial concern. Every horse can take ~2% of its body weight in as forage. This forage input must be a combination of hay and processed hay in the form of cubes and pellets.

Alfalfa forage is a better buffer than other grasses, comprising minerals, and fiber. Both Alfalfa pellets and cubes are nutrition-rich. However, the composition may vary depending on the raw material used and the manufacturing procedure.

Cubes and pellets are different in texture, which might change the way your horse takes it and its absorption. 

The storage facilities would differ for alfalfa cubes and pellets. You must consult your vet or equine nutrition expert before proceeding with any of these feed options.


Dr Akanksha Agnihotri is another animal lover like you cum veterinarian by profession. She has earned her B.V.Sc & AH from COVS & AH, Jabalpur, India. She has a knack for befriending animals/pets and treating them compassionately. She believes...