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Soaking your Hay

Some people believe that by watering, wetting, rinsing or soaking their hay they are removing the airborne dust and solving the problem of irritation and respiratory inflammation. Unfortunately, soaking comes with a number of downsides.

Problems with Soaking

  • Soaking only dampens down the respirable particles and only by 90%; and the bacteria, mold and fungal spores are ingested and can elicit an inflammatory response

  • Soaking increases the bacterial content - a 10 minute soak increases bacteria by 150%

  • Soaking reduces the palatability

  • Significant levels of nutrients are lost

  • Produces a post-soak liquid that is 9x more polluting than raw sewage

  • Uses 60-100 litres of water

  • Is messy and difficult to handle

The Solution? Haygain Hay Steamers

  • Reduce respirable particles by 98%

  • Dramatically reduce bacteria and mold content

  • Improve palatability

  • Retain nutrients

  • No effluent

  • Clean and easy to use

“Once you have fed Haygain you will never go back!”
Debbie McDonald, Team USA US Equestrian Dressage
Team Chef d’Equipe Olympic medallist, two World Cup medals, two Pan American Games medals, World Champion


“We had been soaking our hay and that was a real nightmare. They love not having to do that anymore and the horses are happy and healthy.”
Liz Halliday-Sharp, Team USA
Ambition to become first woman to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans race

What the veterinarians say

“Of course, we all used to feed our horses dry hay 'back in the day'. However, I also remember many times back then where I would not feed hay because it seemed too dusty or the horses wouldn't eat the hay because it was not palatable. These are issues that we still deal with today! Even if you spend a lot of money on high quality hay, it still contains mould spores and allergens. This means that your horse’s airway is going to be challenged no matter the quality of the hay. [...] There has not been a solution to these problems until the advent of Haygain.”
Dr Stephanie Davis, DVM
Davis Equine LLC, Virginia, USA

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.