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Tip of the Week


Look what’s steaming…..Look what’s steaming…..

Steam Your Way to Healthy Hay for Your Horse

Many horses suffer from digestive and respiratory problems. These problems are often caused by ingesting and inhaling dust, bacteria and fungal spores (mold) when eating dusty, moldy, or poor quality hay. There is also the issue of some hays containing too much water soluble carbohydrates, fructans, and other types of polysaccharides found in cold season grasses.

Soaking hay can wash away essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Soaking also reduces the water soluble carbohydrates, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, copper, and zinc, as well as the fructan levels in all hays.

The longer one soaks, the more the nutrients are removed and leached into the water.

Be aware. Bacteria and fungal spores are not always destroyed or washed away by soaking. Feeding hay that has been wet for a long time can expose your horse to mold and other containments. Ensure that hay is totally submerged into clean water while soaking, do not re-use the soaking water and drain all water before feeding.

Hay steamers are designed to do the same as and even more than soaking hay without the inconvenience of dustbins full of waste water and heavy wet hay nets. Good steamers are easy to use and maintain. Each hay steamer introduces steam to the hay to penetrate at approximately 100 degrees centigrade. Steaming at these temperatures ensures that the majority of fungal spores, bacteria and dust mites are killed off and all potentially airborne dust particles are sufficiently dampened down and neutralized. The hay remains nutritious with all of its vital minerals and vitamins complete. Water soluble carbohydrate and fructan levels after steaming remain essentially unchanged or only very slightly reduced by up to 2%.

This tip was brought to you by KAM Animal Services, home of KAM’s “Equine Learning Circle” FREE webinars, which take place monthly. These webinars are an expansion of KAM’s weekly tips. Go to www.kamanimalservices.com  to sign up for the next webinar. The FREE webinars will conclude with a question and answer session, so be ready with your nutrition questions.