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Tell Me How to Soak Hay

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  • Tell Me How to Soak Hay

    My old horse is having trouble with his hay and I would like to start soaking it but am not sure how to do it. Any advice on how to do this would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Lots of ways, but the easiest IMO is to put it in a haynet (small mesh = less waste) and dunk that in a big muck tub full of water (might have to weight it down) and change the water a couple of times over the course of an hour or two. Dump the water on the garden--no sense wasting all that water and the nutrients you've washed off the hay.
    Click here before you buy.

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    • #3
      What kind of trouble is your horse having? If he is having trouble chewing the hay, I'm not sure soaking will make that much difference. You might end up wanting to soak pellets (grass or alfalfa) for him. IN any case, if it is to make the hay softer I would say you don't need to change the water periodically as per Deltawave's suggestion!

      My friend is currently soaking hay to remove sugar/calories. We have found that a laundry basket works nicely. It sits inside a muck tub and can be lifted out (with some effort, I admit, once the hay is wet!). Then we leave the basket tipped for five minutes or so, so more of the water drains.

      Her horses are in a drylot that would have no place to hang a haynet, so we use the basket approach. Also, due to timing, we do not change the water, even though our goal IS to remove stuff from the hay. What comes out, comes out, and the vet said that would be a darn good start -- will check back to make sure it's sufficient.
      Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
      Starman

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      • #4
        My vet suggested the same for my 30 year old mare.

        Since she does not like soaking wet hay, I hang a haynet and spray it really well. Let it 'drip-dry' so the outside hay is damp and the inside hay is wet. She will eat that. Also I dampen her TC Senior plus she gets soaked alfalfa cubes as a 'midnight' snack.

        If you are soaking to remove dust, etc - then you may consider soaking the hay for up to 24 hours before feeding. Ginny Leng did that for her horses, stating it took 24 hours to remove dust and other unwanted particles that could damage with her horse's respiration.
        Last edited by fooler; Jul. 22, 2009, 12:18 PM. Reason: clarification
        "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
        Courtesy my cousin Tim

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        • #5
          I think 24 hours is a bit much because simply wetting down the hay will help control airborne particles that could affect the lungs

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          • #6
            Soaking Hay

            I have a 29 year old that can chew but doesn't have alot of saliva to make it easy for him to chew hay. I found the hay net a bit of a mess to lift out of a tub and then drip drain before putting it in the stall. So...I found a laundry basket that would fit in a plastic container. I could put the lid on the container to keep out the flies and gnats and it was much easier to lift out when the hay was wet. I prop in on the side of the container and let it drain into the container and then dump the hay out of the basket into the stall. I just soak it from one feeding time to the next. I don't feed wet hay outside, just in the stall. Since they are in during the day, I soak the hay after the evening feed and it is ready the next morning when he comes in. It doesn't need to soak for that long, since I am only doing it to make is softer for him to eat, but it is just most convenient to time it that way.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              I am thinking of doing it to make it easier to chew. His teeth aren't what they used to be. Fortunately he is on grass right now about 14 hours a day so the hay is secondary. He doesn't seem to have nearly the problem with the grass.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Classical DQ View Post
                I have a 29 year old that can chew but doesn't have alot of saliva to make it easy for him to chew hay. I found the hay net a bit of a mess to lift out of a tub and then drip drain before putting it in the stall. So...I found a laundry basket that would fit in a plastic container. I could put the lid on the container to keep out the flies and gnats and it was much easier to lift out when the hay was wet. I prop in on the side of the container and let it drain into the container and then dump the hay out of the basket into the stall. I just soak it from one feeding time to the next. I don't feed wet hay outside, just in the stall. Since they are in during the day, I soak the hay after the evening feed and it is ready the next morning when he comes in. It doesn't need to soak for that long, since I am only doing it to make is softer for him to eat, but it is just most convenient to time it that way.
                This is exactly what I do. I also drill some holes in the bottom of the laundry basket to make draining easier. I dump the water about 15 min prior to feeding time and let the basket drain. Once I've fed the soaked hay, I rinse out the tub the basket was in, refill the basket, and refill for the next feeding. I use lids because bees loooove the sugary water. And a shady place is best.

                Also, OP, don't be suprised if you notice a marked decrease in the amount of water your horse drinks when feeding soaked hay. I have one horse that drinks about half of what she did before we started her on soaked hay.

                And beware that if you decide or need to go back to dry hay...ease them back into it. Because wet hay IS easier to digest and well....wet, it can take their gut a bit to adjust.
                "Aye God, Woodrow..."

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                • #9
                  If it's possible, buy a deep-bed wheelbarrow, place your hay inside and fill with water. This will help it soak on all sides and thoroughly. You need at least 30 min. to 'soak' hay, vs. just plain wet it.

                  Then, dump water (tipping wheelbarrow against wall, like wash stall wall or some large rock, or side of barn, or pasture fencing to hold in hay) or lift out the sections as needed. The wheelbarrow makes it easy to transport (once water is out).

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                  • #10
                    one horse in our barn needs his hay watered down, so we have a large rubber bucket that we put in the corner of his stall right by his water bucket. when we put the hay in, we simply wet down the hay with his full water bucket. the only thing is, is that the bucket must be constantly cleaned out because it gets quite yucky.
                    ~the rider does not teach the horse, it is the horse that teaches the rider~

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                    • #11
                      Soaking hay

                      Have an extremely easy keeper that the only way we could get weight off and cortisol levels down was to buy last years first cutting and actaully weigh each feeding then soak. We used hay nets and preferred to keep the saoked hay in them for feeding because it took her longer to eat it that way, well the hay was so heavy wet that I struggled to hang the hay nets so I started soaking it in a rubber made wheeled cart. I used a bungie type cargo net to hold the hay down in the water, it had hooks on the ends that worked great under the rim of the cart and that doubled as a strainer when we dumped the water out.

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                      • #12
                        wheelbarrow!

                        Originally posted by cyberbay View Post
                        If it's possible, buy a deep-bed wheelbarrow, place your hay inside and fill with water. This will help it soak on all sides and thoroughly. You need at least 30 min. to 'soak' hay, vs. just plain wet it.

                        Then, dump water (tipping wheelbarrow against wall, like wash stall wall or some large rock, or side of barn, or pasture fencing to hold in hay) or lift out the sections as needed. The wheelbarrow makes it easy to transport (once water is out).
                        we do this, then park the wheelbarrow outside the stall so they can "eat on the veranda" keeps it extra moist and it's easy labor wise. Just be sure you have a dedicated wheelbarrow for this. The laundry basket idea is a good one, maybe we'll try that next, but this works well for now!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by loveofhorses View Post
                          Have an extremely easy keeper that the only way we could get weight off and cortisol levels down was to buy last years first cutting and actaully weigh each feeding then soak. We used hay nets and preferred to keep the saoked hay in them for feeding because it took her longer to eat it that way, well the hay was so heavy wet that I struggled to hang the hay nets so I started soaking it in a rubber made wheeled cart. I used a bungie type cargo net to hold the hay down in the water, it had hooks on the ends that worked great under the rim of the cart and that doubled as a strainer when we dumped the water out.
                          genious!
                          My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage

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