Best way to soak hay? How in the world does one feed soaked hay to a horse in a herd? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Best way to soak hay? How in the world does one feed soaked hay to a horse in a herd?

My mare was recently diagnosed with inflammation in the lower lungs. Vet says to soak the hay 20 minutes prior to feeding, down fall is I board and others have to soak it. What's the best way and most time efficient way to soak hay?

Also she is in a herd and there is not an option for solo does one soak hay for only one horse and prevent them from eating dry hay?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 10:49 AM
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Unfortunately, in a herd situation either everyone gets soaked hay or you have to separate the one that needs hay soaked.

One of the easiest way to serve soaked hay is to take a large muck bucket and drill a couple of holes in the bottom. Hay can be put into this bucket and water added. The holes allow the water to slowly drain so that they hay doesn't dry out too quickly. The issue is that you need to have a place where you can put this where you aren't going to make a big mud puddle as the water drains.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 12:11 PM
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As Ryle already said - you can't just feed one horse in a herd on soaked hay and not expect it to eat some other horse's hay or have another horse drive it off and eat that hay
Apart from freezing weather we feed all hay 'damped'. I have two wire mesh carts like the one in the attachment and run water over it from the hosepipe on the hard standing area. If you do it in several 'waterings' the hay soaks up the water rather than the water just running through. They will hold 1 regular sized bale - though as the hay swells up when wet it can get a bit tight so I cut the strings before watering
If you're just wetting it enough to reduce dust that's enough but if you need to literally soak and wash the hay you might need to get a tub to put the hay in - that's a much messier job and you also have to change the water after every time you use it.
When we discussed something similar once before another member pointed out quite correctly that when you start soaking hay to the extent that you're washing out all the dust/pollen you're also washing out essential nutrients so you'd have to replace those somehow in your 'bucket' feed
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 01:27 PM
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For either soaking or just dampening hay, the easiest way I've found for one horse is to put the hay in a hay bag, dampen the hay bag in a muck bucket full of water and then---

-- to just dampen the hay to get rid of dust, slosh it up and down a few time, then hang the hay bag to drain.


-- If the hay needs to be soaked, I put it in the muck bucket for as long as needed, depending on whether the water is hot or cold, to leech out the sugars, then hang to the hay bag to drain.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 02:11 PM Thread Starter
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It is mainly for getting the dust and mold particles off the hay. Neither the vet nor I know exactly what the cause is and are trying to eliminate as much as possible. She has been moved to outside 24/7.

The other thing found was trace evidence of bleeding but that's a whole new story. Has anyone used a hay steamer? I am trying to make this as easy as possible for the barn owner as I feel bad for the extra work :(
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 04:08 PM
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Hay steamers are said to be the most effective way to deal with hay for a horse that's got breathing/allergy troubles
They aren't exactly cheap, I have seen ideas for DIY projects but not sure how safe or good they'd be

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post #7 of 7 Old 10-21-2016, 04:21 PM
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Another option if the water is running out too quickly is to put in a bucket without holes and put the hay in a net. I find holes in the bottom either don't work, or work too well to effectively soak.

As the vet specified soak 20 mins even if just for dust I would actually soak it in the bucket as opposed to just watering it.
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