Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Haygain stand apart from other hay steamers?

Haygain is the only scientifically proven system to kill mould spores including Aspergillus, as well as bacteria and dust mites. The nutritional value and goodness are maintained with improved palatability.

How much does Haygain cost to run?

The running costs are minimal and you will use considerably less water compared to soaking. The HG2000 and HG600 use just 2.75Kw electricity per hour, whilst the HG One uses less at 1.5Kw. Electricity costs vary between utility companies but typically are between 7-18p per kW hour. In order to work out exactly how much it costs you, find out from one of your electricity bills how many pence per Kw hour your rate is and then multiply that number by either 2.9 or 1.5 depending on which model in the range you have and this will give you the electricity cost per cycle. For example if you are using an HG2000 and paying 10 pence per Kw hour it will cost 29p per hour.

How long does it take to process the hay?

It takes a minimum of 60 minutes but can vary according to how densely packed the hay is, the ambient and water temperature and voltage supply so the thermometer on the lid is there to act as a guide. When you first set up your Haygain you will need to time how long it takes to reach the green zone within the thermometer from switching the steam generator on. From then on you can use a timer set for the appropriate time.

Does the outside of the container get hot?

No. All of the Haygain range are made from composite materials with highly efficient thermal properties so although the inside of the container can reach over 100 degrees C the outside is just warm to touch. Therefore Haygain hay steamers are environmentally friendly and energy saving.

What is the difference between soaking and steaming?

Soaking hay will dampen the spores down and make them swell so they are less likely to be inhaled. With steaming the combination of the heat and the moisture actually kills the spores, eliminating the allergenic respirable particles.

Once steamed, how long before you feed the hay and how long does it last?

The hay is very hot when you first take it out and should be handled with care but it cools very quickly once in the air and can be fed immediately. It is best fed while it is warm and steamy and it would appear most horses prefer it like this but otherwise should be used within 24 hours.

Will my horse like it?

The hay comes out of the Haygain looking and feeling like life has been breathed back into it! It is warm and sweet smelling, most horses LOVE it and find it more palatable than dry or soaked hay. Field trials have shown it is effective at Palatability trials at the Royal Agricultural University and Writtle College in the UK both concluded that steamed hay, once tasted, was the preferred choice. It is often used as an effective way to encourage fussy eaters and recovering post-op horses in Veterinary Hospitals. However, horses are individuals and we have come across the odd one that is initially sceptical about the steamed hay and appears not to like it simply because it is different. If this is the case you can try the following to encourage them to eat it: Mix it with their normal forage for a few days. Feed the steamed hay cold. Sprinkle water on the top of the hay prior to steaming. This will give a “wetter” steam and often works well for horses that are used to soaked hay.

What does steamed hay look and feel like?

Steamed hay is totally different to soaked hay and is damp rather than wet. The treatment is not about how wet it is but how hot it is. You will find the hay in the middle of the bale/ hay net will be quite dry. This is because when they steam comes out of the spikes it is at it’s hottest. As the steam travels through the hay and meets the plastic lid it will cool slightly, condense to water and drop back on to the hay. This results in the outside of the hay being wetter than the inside.

Does it matter if the hay dries out?

It is best fed while it is warm, straight out of the Haygain but you will find it cools and dries rapidly as soon as the air gets to it. This has no effect on the hygienic quality or palatability. We recommend feeding the hay within 24 hours to prevent contamination from environmental sources.

How much water will be used?

The hay will absorb and therefore hydrate bringing it back towards its original moisture content, approximately 15+% of its original weight but the hay is neither soggy or heavy. The HG-PB (HG2000/HG600) will actually use about 4 ½ litres of water per cycle, some will be absorbed by the hay, some will be released as steam when you open the lid and some will be the residue of on average a tea-cup amount of water (condensed steam) which remains from each steam cycle and drains out of the drain hole in the bottom of the hay chest.

What are the advantages of steaming a whole bale in the Haygain HG2000?

The HG2000 accommodates a fully strung bale of hay. By being able to put the bale in complete, you are drastically reducing the amount of spores released into the atmosphere prior to steaming protecting both the handler and nearby horses. It is effortless, quick and efficient to use.

My horse has COPD/RAO/Heaves, can I feed Haygain steamed hay?

Yes, absolutely! Respiratory diseases can be effectively managed by minimising respirable dust, mould spores and bacteria in the horse’s environment, particularly those in the horse’s breathing zone. Since hay contains high concentrations of these and the horse’s nose is in the hay while it is eating, it is vitally important to reduce this source of dust by steaming the hay.

Will my horse stop coughing?

Results are often reported within days of using the Haygain but do depend on the individual horse, the cause of the cough and other environmental factors. For example if you change to feeding Haygain steamed hay but the horse remains on a dusty straw bed, while you will probably see some improvement it will be compromised by the other source of respirable dust. Equally if you make changes to your horse’s feeding and management regime but the horses stabled either side, sharing the same air space have dry hay and straw bed then again the improvement may not be as marked.

My horse does not cough and appears healthy – do I need a Haygain?

Exposure to respirable particles such as mould spores and bacteria can induce allergic responses and develop a hypersensitivity reaction in the horse. Even the best quality hays are high in respirable particles. These particles form the “dust” that you cannot see (they are less than 5 µm in size), and have a 50% chance of being inhaled deep into the lungs, causing the respiratory disorder Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO). Minimising the amount of “dust” your horse is subjected to will help to prevent respiratory problems.

Can I feed steamed hay to my laminitic pony?

Yes, of course steamed hay can be fed to any horse or pony. For a laminitic you should ideally source a hay with a sugar (WSC) level less than 10%. If your hay has a higher value than this a standard steam cycle of 50 minutes will reduce the WSC slightly but as with soaking this reduction is highly variable (average 18%). If you wish to reduce the WSC further and in a more consistent manner, the latest research suggests a 9 hour soak followed by a 50 minute steam will be the most effective and will ensure the hay is hygienically clean too (soaking alone increases bacteria).

What else can I do to minimise the dust in my horse’s environment?

Use dust-free bedding. Improve the ventilation (5 changes of air per hour to be classed as a well ventilated area). Hoover up any cob webs. Be aware of the surrounding stables and what is in the same air space as your horse. Make sure dry hay is stored outside in a separate building.

What makes Haygain disparate?

Haygain's patented, proven method using a steam distribution manifold. Haygain's durability and built to last quality resulting in value for money. Haygain's scientific thinking and ongoing in-depth scientific research. Haygain's friendly, qualified advice, after sales support and service.