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Soaking versus steaming
Soaking or steaming? - the data speaks for itself
Even the best hay and haylage contains many respirable particles such as bacteria, mould, yeast and fungal spores.
These unwanted particles, which can cause mild to severe respiratory and digestive issues, wont be eliminated by soaking, watering, rinsing or wetting the hay.
There are also a number of other downsides to soaking your hay - check out the chart.
(all supporting material show in the reference section at the bottom of the page).
5 Reasons to stop soaking by Dr Moore-Colyer
1. Soaking increases bacteria content by 150%
2. Soaking reduces palatability
3. Soaking compromises hygiene
4. Soaking doesn't effectively prevent asthma
5. Soaking is hard on the environment
Haygain Steamers - what do they do differently?
Haygain's patented technology is the only scientifically proven way to eliminate all the unwanted particles that can't be removed through soaking.
Steaming reduces bacteria and mould whereas soaking increase this dramatically.
Steaming has 6 main benefits - respiratory health, digestive health, palatability, performance and skin conditions.
What about home made steamers?
With a homemade steamer the steam is going from the outside-in and most of the heat will be lost through the non-insulated walls (especially during winter). Without fully penetrating the hay and steaming it at a temperature of at least 194ºF for a minimum of 10 minutes, the hay will become an incubator of pathogenic bacteria, yeast, mold and fungi.
Haygain's patented and proven manifold spike system was designed to inject steam from the inside-out, and ensures that all of the hay is steamed evenly. Its insulated hay chest is attached to a purpose-built steam generator that steams the hay for 60 minutes at temperatures that reach 212ºF. This effectively eliminates harmful mould, fungal spores, bacteria and dust mites.
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References1. Stockdale, C and Moore-Colyer, M.J.S (2010) Steaming hay for horses: The effect of three different treatments on the respirable particle numbers in hay treated in the Haygain steamer. European Workshop for Equine Nutrition, Cirencester, Sept 2010. The Impact of nutrition on the health and welfare of horses. EAAP publication No. 128. Ed Ellis, A., Longland, A.C., Coenen, M and Miraglia, N. p136-1382. Moore-Colyer, M.J.S and Fillery, B.G. (2012) The Effect of three different treatments on the respirable particle content, total viable count and mould concentrations in hay for horses. 6th European Workshop for Equine Nutrition, Lisbon, Portugal, June. 101- 106.3. Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. Taylor, J. and James, R (2015). The effect of steaming and soaking on the respirable particle, bacteria, mould and nutrient content in hay for horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Aug 20154. Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. Taylor, J. and James, R (2015). The effect of steaming and soaking on the respirable particle, bacteria, mould and nutrient content in hay for horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Aug 20155. Wyss, U. and Pradervand, N. (2016) Steaming or Soaking. Agroscope Science. Nr 32 p32-336. Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. and Payne, V. (2012) Palatability and ingestion behaviour of 6 polo ponies offered a choice of dry, soaked and steamed hay for 1 hour on three separate occasions. Advances in Animal Biosciences. Healthy Food from Healthy Animals. Vol 3 part 1. 1277. Brown, E., Tracey, S and Gowers, I. (2013) An investigation to determine the palatability of steamed hay, dry hay and haylage. Proceedings of British Society of Animal Science Conference, Nottingham April 2013. p 1048. James, R. and Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. (2013) Hay for horses: The nutrient content of hay before and after steam treatment in a commercial hay steamer. Proceedings of British Society of Animal Science Conference, Nottingham April 2013.9. Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. Taylor, J. and James, R (2015). The effect of steaming and soaking on the respirable particle, bacteria, mould and nutrient content in hay for horses. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. Aug 201510. Warr EM, Petch JL (1992) Effects of soaking hay on its nutritional quality. Eq.Vet.Edu. 5:169–171.