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Hay Steamers...

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  • Hay Steamers...

    Does anyone have one and are they worth the money? I'm seriously considering buying one but I'd like to get all of my ducks in a row before I take the plunge! Three of my four horses have hay allergies of some form or another (I know, lucky me! ). I feed them bagged forage and hay cubes in their stalls but it's next to impossible to feed them when they're in the field--two of them are total pigs and if I threw a bag of forage out it would be gone in about five minutes.

    It's looking like my two best options are HayGain and Happy Horse. I'm hoping that someone who has used one of these units will chime in. I'm interested in the Professional sized whole bale model. I know someone may suggest building my own but that's not happening! I have no problem dropping a couple grand if it's a quality product that's going to allow me to feed mostly baled hay. The convenience and savings on forage justifies the cost IMO.

    Originally posted by EquineImagined
    My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.

  • #2
    I saw one at the AAEP conference last year and I thought it was fantastic. I haven't seen any studies pop up showing that it's actually efficacious for allergies/RAO etc., but I have heard really good things from people that have them. If you get one, I want to hear updates on if it helps your horses!


    • #3
      Actually just found a study: Comparison of Airway Response of Recurrent Airway Obstruction Affected Horses Fed Steamed Versus Non-Steamed Hay
      ACVIM 2012
      C.A. Blumerich1; V.A. Buechner-Maxwell1; W.K. Scarratt1; K.E. Wilson1; C. Ricco2; I. Becvarova1; J. Hodgson3; S. Werre3
      1Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, 2Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, and 3Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, VA, USA

      Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO)-affected horses experience bronchoconstriction and airway inflammation in response to inhalation of aerosolized irritants including hay molds. Steaming hay reduces fungal content, but the effect on the antigenic potential of hay has not been investigated. We tested the hypothesis that RAO-affected horses develop less clinical disease when fed steamed versus non-steamed hay and this reduction coincides with decreased hay fungal content.

      Six RAO-affected horses in clinical remission were divided into two groups and fed steamed or non-steamed hay for 10 days using a two-way cross-over design. Hay was steamed using a commercial hay-steamera. Clinical assessment was performed daily. Full assessment, including upper airway endoscopy, assignment of mucous scores and measurement of maximal change in pleural pressure, was performed on days 1, 5, and 10. Bronchial fluid sampling and cytology were performed on days 1 and 10. Hay core samples were collected pre- and post-steaming and cultured to determine fungal and bacterial concentrations.

      Statistical analysis was performed using SAS® and included repeated measures ANOVA, mixed model ANOVA, Wilcoxon rank-sum and Wilcoxon two sample tests. P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.

      Horses fed non-steamed hay experienced a significant increase in clinical score (p < 0.0001) and a trend towards total airway neutrophilia (p = 0.0834) during the feeding period, while parameters were unchanged in horses fed steamed hay. Steaming also significantly decreased the number of fungal colony-forming-units in hay.

      These results indicate that steaming reduces the RAO-affected horse's response to hay which coincides with a reduction in viable fungal content of hay.

      aModel HG-1000, HAYGAIN hay steamer, Jiffy Steamer Equine


      • #4
        There's an Icey at our barn who has bad allergies to dust and other things, and her hay gets steamed before she eats it. Owner has the 1/2 square bale (25 pound) size steamer and it gets run every afternoon. It really helps.
        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


        • #5
          Effects of Steam-Treating Hay
          Steaming hay reduces airborne dust and preserves the nutritional content of hay. Both steam- treating and soaking hay have been shown to reduce respiratory particles by at least 93% (Blackman and Moore-Colyer, 1998). There was no significant difference in respirable particles between hay that was soaked for 10 or 30 minutes and hay that was steamed for 80 minutes. When compared with dry hay, steam-treating resulted in no loss of nutrients. Soaking hay for 10 or 30 minutes significantly reduced phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and copper. Using a commercially available hay steamer (Haygain hay steamer, Jiffy Steamer Co, Union City, TN, USa), James and Moore-Colyer (2010) reduced fungal elements by 100% and bacterial growth by 98.84%, compared to dry hay.

          (Taken from: http://www.ker.com/library/proceedin...dings_1268.pdf)

          Interesting findings... Dr. Moore-Colyer teaches on my MSc course and is heavily involved in examining the effects of steaming on hay using HayGain... The only downsides I can think of are 1- expensive and 2- you need to have small bales to use it, you can't use loose hay or hay from large bales as the compaction of the hay in the flakes is one of the mechanism that allows the high temperatures.


          • #6
            Well if you get one maybe you can use the 200 bales of great second cut I have that ended up dusty...


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone! There's no doubt that the steamer will help them--I'm just trying to gather data from people that actually own them and use them. For those of you who have them can you tell me what brand they are? Trying to decide if the HayGain is really $500 better than the Happy Horse.
              Originally posted by EquineImagined
              My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


              • #8
                Send a PM to GrayCatFarm. I'm pretty sure she has one.