Last month, I told you about the Standlee Hay Company asking me if I would review their products. (You can read about that here.)
They offered to give me $125 of credit to go to Tractor Supply and pick out what I wanted in their lineup – and write a review. They figured that $125 would supply one horse for a month.
They said I could just try it for 30 days and tell you all what I thought…
…OK. I could do that. Happy to.
THE CHOSEN ONE
My Mustang, Rojo, is now living in his own paddock (as I prepare to reintroduce him to training and me…) so I thought he would be the best control subject here.
Rojo is only 5 and I knew I would be able to see the results easily – either way. And, I knew he would recover easily, should the feed not be adequate.
Besides, I wanted him to feel special as I brought him this ‘special’ feed daily. I wanted to bond with him over food.
WHAT I BOUGHT
I purchased 3 bales of compressed orchard/alfalfa hay, 1 bag of timothy pellets and 4 bags of orchard pellets. This was the closest to what I was already feeding.
There were lots of pellet and cube options to choose. They also had beet pulp, a good sign… Standlee didn’t offer compressed hay without alfalfa (I asked…) which made me sad. I cannot feed alfalfa to all of my horses. But, Rojo can tolerate alfalfa well so I was OK for this challenge.
And, I always like to keep clean alfalfa pellets on hand for any plumping that may be needed…
WHAT IS COMPRESSED HAY?!
— Have you ever seen compressed hay? It is so odd looking – It looks like a huge hay BRICK or something one of the Three Pigs used to create his straw house…
I would never have used compressed hay unless it was given to me. Truly. Previously, I took one look and never looked again. I’m sure some of you are the same way.
What is it? Compressed hay is exactly that – compressed. Think of a trash compactor or one of those big machines that crushes old cars into blocks of solid metal.
It is like that.
The hay is simply pushed in on all sides – kindof stomach punched – to get all the air out of it.
IT IS COMPACT, CLEAN, QUALITY AND ….
It is Compact.
So compact, I had the three 50lb bales in the back of my VW Beetle as well as the 5 bags of grain. (Tells you something about the carrying power of Bugs, eh? Not as small as you thought…)
Anyway, my point is that I had all of Rojo’s feed IN MY CAR and it didn’t mess up anything! The hay is packaged really well in tight, sealed, heavy plastic wrap! In fact, I kept the compressed bales in my car for storage during the entire month – so the feeders wouldn’t accidentally feed it to any of the other horses – and other than becoming blanched from the sun, the bales held up perfectly! I drove like I usually do (like a maniac) all around town and they didn’t break open and – bonus – they made my car very fragrant!
When I would open a bale to let it uncompress in preparation to feed, there was no mess at all. No hay loss. It stayed together and flakeed P-E-R-F-E-C-T-L-Y.
SO CONVENIENT! (OMG…SO MUCH EASIER!)
Hmmmmmm, I thought, as I drop/scatter/carried my regular flakes of grass hay up to Bodhi and Norma – leaving my hay trail as I went (using any type of carrying device).
Grass hay just doesn’t hold its flaking ability like alfalfa.
However, these compressed grass/alfalfa hay bales were so much easier…
I could carry the entire bales myself – wrapped with a handle – , I could stack them myself, I could keep them packaged cleanly until I needed them and they flaked!
I was sold.
I went back to Tractor Supply and bought 4 more bales to keep up by Norma and Bodhi so that I could feed them more easily…
ALL THE THINGS I LIKED ABOUT THESE PRODUCTS!!
1) CLEAN TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE
I loved that the compressed bales came packaged so that I could store or transport them in my vehicle and there was no mess.
I could stack these hay blocks inside my tack room or anywhere in my trailer/tack room/shed – even on the roof of my trailer – and they would stay as I put them, without any mess!!
–Really easy for taking to shows, camping or any other time I need to bring hay along.
2) HIGH QUALITY HAY
When I broke open the first bale of compressed alfalfa/orchard grass, I was so impressed with the fragrance, quality, lack of dust and lack of weeds.
They advertise this as sun-cured (not dehydrated) and no noxious weeds.
I could tell.
Also, a compressed flakes is just as heavy as a regular flake. When I put one compressed flake on my arm to carry, it was just as heavy as a non compressed flake.
Weird but true.
The actual compressed bale is around 50 lbs.
3) CLEAN AND HIGH QUALITY PELLETS – OMG! SO NICE AND NO DUST
I have never opened a bag of pellets and had such a fine, clean fragrance. It smelled like grass. And, no dust.
I always put water on my pellets to help with any kind of dust and choke. But, I felt very confident to not wet the Standlee pellets. (However, I did anyway.)
Also, were are no ‘what is that?’ by-products on the ingredients…
I liked that.
The company states they cut, bale, press and pellet during the optimum nutrition cycles and I believe them. The nutrition charts are here.
Also, I noticed that these pellets held up longer. They seemed to start out more fresh or something… I didn’t smell that vinegar fragrance that sometimes happens with bags of pellets. All the pellets were uniform in shape and didn’t change shape or break up after I opened the bag.
4) NO ADDITIVES
Having a clean slate to add supplements was nice.
I’m never sure with mineral feed pellets what ratios I’m actually giving to them – and how that mixes with my supplements.
I liked having exactly and only timothy or orchard grass in my pellets.
And, again, very high quality timothy and orchard grass pellets.
5) VALUE FOR YOUR BUCK! REALLY?
At first, I thought that these products would end up being more expensive than my regular local pelleted products and my local grass hay supplier.
I was wrong.
The hay and pellets were so packed with nutrients, I had to cut back on Rojo’s feed of equal proportion and weight. Same with Norma and Bodhi.
I was very surprised!
They were gaining weight!
The fact that I was losing less hay because the compressed bales were so clean and tidy was great – but too add that the horses needed less feed due to the high quality was a huge bonus.
I didn’t expect that.
HORSES DOVE IN
Rojo loved his pellets!
Rojo loved his hay.
No worries there.
Bodhi loved his hay and pellets.
Norma preferred the Standlee hay to my fresh orchard grass hay. She ate the compressed baled hay before she ate her regular flake of orchard grass hay.
Norma didn’t prefer the pellets to her ‘all in’ grain previously fed. But, her bowl was empty after her protest, she ate it.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE.
Yes, there was one thing I didn’t like… and one thing I wished for…
I didn’t like that the feed was so nutritious that I had to feed less – which sounds odd. But, I like my horses to have more time eating during the day.
Luckily, my horses are all out in large pastures but if they weren’t, I would want to slow feed these products.
What I wished? I wished they had compressed bales of grass hay without alfalfa. I cannot feed alfalfa to most of my horses, so for me, I couldn’t use the compressed bales for all of mine.
That was too bad…
HOW DID HE LOOK?
Rojo looked great!
Shiny and happy!
I am eager to add the one supplement I love, Equion. But, all in all, feeding only the Standlee products kept him in excellent weight and health.
In fact, I knew I was giving him the best in pure grass products.
I really felt confident that I was feeding him pure, good, honest and nutritious food.
As Hubby has always said, I may not like to cook, but I loooooove to feed.
And this is good feed.
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