Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hay Soaking

I asked another hoof blogger - Lucy Priory about soaking hay. Her response was so informative that I asked to cross post it here.

With soaked hay, how long do you soak it for? On warm/hot days here, my hay smells like it is going rancid after about 4 hours soaking.
Lucy Priory said...
Hi Lisa - there is some debate about hay soaking - I think it is important to understand the whys rather than stick to a formula. So..... As you know you need a large volume of water for effective removal of water soluable carb (sugar) - otherwise the water will become saturated with sugar and the process will stop. Yeast will ferment the sugars in the water producing 'hay beer'. This can smell sour. So soaked hay should be well rinsed with more clean water before feeding to remove the beer. Even in hot conditions, with my hay type I soak for 12-24 hours and then rinse. For Grace (my horse) anything less than 12 is risky. Our hay is a rye/timothy mix with the emphasis on the rye, so is extremely unhelpful. Some 'new' hays and those with a lot of 'weed' content don't stand up to soaking so well and go slimey. If I came across a hay like that I would probably avoid using at all. A slimey when soaked weed is not necessarily a low sugar weed, for example plaintain is high sugar as is yarrow. They don't soak well. Note some folks say an hour is enough because it can remove upto 30% of WSC. That is too vague and misleading unless you know what you are removing 30% of and it is 'upto' not 'guaranteed'. Anecdotal evidence suggests for the very sensitive 12 is a good place. It took me weeks and weeks to train Grace to eat soaked hay - we started with 20 minutes and worked up. Now she prefers it and gets terribly excited by the arrival of her wet hay. Even long term sugar addicts can be retrained (except me.....)


  1. When Ali and I were at Rolex, we saw these little beauties: and they were AWESOME. It made me with Pirate needed his hay soaked just so I could get one- the smell they prduce is...heavenly and they seem extremely efficient, from everything I've read.

    (I should mention this is Ashleigh from 8 Days a Week...blogger is being dumb and not letting me use my google account to post comments

  2. I have heard of them before Ashleigh but not really looked into them properly - I'm off to read that link!

  3. Haygain is not a device for removing sugar. It only takes away the dust. It basically steams the dusty hay we have in England because our weather is not hot enough to get the stuff dry properly.

    Do you guys always soak hay? Or only for horses prone to laminitis? I only dip it in water and tip it out straight away. Is that no good? : - )

  4. Maria, I would only soak hay for a horse with suspected or diagnosed insulin resistance. For example, my horse Allie is not IR at all, do I don't bother soaking hers. But Gracie, my sister's horse, shows some minor signs of IR (hoof sensitivity on sugars) so I now soak her hay if it is a hay with a high sugar content.

  5. And I soak from about 7am until feed time at about 9pm, then put the morning hay out to soak overnight.