Cleaner Hay Means Healthier Horses

“But I buy top quality hay,” you say, “it doesn’t get any cleaner than that!” Until now, that is. Developed in England, and used worldwide in the stables of Olympic medalists as well as everyday equestrians, Haygain hay steamers are now readily available in the US through ComfortStall® Inc.

Family of Haygain Hay Steamers

Why Haygain?

The Haygain steaming process is the only scientifically proven method for purifying hay. It improves the hygienic quality of forage, thereby reducing the threat from respirable dust, mold spores and pathogens to produce highly palatable and nutritious forage.

  • Aids in the management and prevention of respiratory conditions
  • Eliminates respirable dust particles
  • Kills mold, bacteria, fungal spores and mites
  • Retains the nutritional value and palatability of hay
  • Is suitable for laminitic, colic-prone and post-operative horses

Forage and Respiratory Conditions

Fiber is a fundamental part of every horse’s diet. Grass and hay contribute the largest proportion of fiber to the daily diet and are required to keep the horse physically and mentally healthy and the digestive system working properly.

Even top quality hays contain respirable particles, mold and bacteria. If hay is baled when slightly moist, it results in ideal conditions for mold growth, which exacerbates the problem further and reduces the hygienic quality. These molds produce spores contributing to the respirable dust, which is allergenic and extremely damaging to the respiratory health of horses.

Unlike humans, a horse can only breathe through its nose, so every intake of breath introduces airborne particles including dust from hay into the horse’s airway and lungs.

When scoped, many horses that appear to be healthy are found to actually suffer from respiratory disease, which reduces their quality of life and performance. This is because allergens, such as fungal spores found in hay, lead to respiratory disorders such as Inflammatory Airway Disease (IAD) and Recurrent Airway Obstruction (RAO) also known as COPD.

Did you know?

  • Research indicates 1 in 6 horses has a performance-impairing respiratory disease
  • It is estimated up to 80% of stabled horses suffer from airway inflammation
  • A survey has shown that 1 in 4 people working with horses also has a respiratory condition
  • Soaking hay for just 10 minutes can boost bacteria by up to 150%
  • A study has found that horses fed unhygienic hay are significantly more susceptible to colic

Scientifically Proven

“Steaming hay has been proven as an effective treatment for eliminating allergens. However, if you do not steam the hay properly you risk increased mold and bacterial growth. Haygain is the only method of steaming where I am confident the hay is steamed thoroughly and reaches the required temperatures to improve the hygiene quality of hay with no detrimental effects,” states Dr. David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiologist, Professor of Physiology at Oklahoma State University, and Author.

Haygain hay steamers have been extensively researched and tested at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, England. The Irish Equine Centre has evaluated Haygain hay steamer’s effectiveness against Aspergillus – the most relevant fungal pathogen in hay – and has confirmed the effective elimination of this mold. A study carried out by the Kentucky Equine Research Center demonstrated that given the choice, steamed hay was preferred over dry and soaked hay. Haygain purified hay, once tasted, was always the first to be consumed. A second and separate palatability trial has further validated that horses prefer to eat Haygain purified hay compared with haylage and dry hay.

Research Highlights

  1. Bales of hay which were purified for 50 minutes in a Haygain hay steamer showed a dramatic improvement in hygienic quality with fungi, yeast and bacteria all reduced by 99%.

Wyss, U. and Pradervand, N. (2016) Steaming or Soaking. Agroscope Science. Nr 32 p32-33

  1. After a 50-minute cycle in a Haygain hay steamer the nutritional profiles of 30 different types of hay were not significantly altered. The minerals were retained and there was only a minor reduction of around 2% of Water-Soluble Carbohydrate (sugar). This may make steamed hay a useful fodder for feeding ponies pre-disposed to laminitis.

James, R. and Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. (2013) Hay for horses: The nutrient content of hay before and after steam treatment in a commercial hay steamer. Proceedings of British Society of Animal Science Conference, Nottingham

April 2013. p102

  1. To prove the effectiveness of the Haygain hay steamer, four different types of hay with varying degrees of quality were steamed for 50 minutes. The test demonstrated that the respirable particles in all types of hay, whether only slightly dusty or highly contaminated, were reduced significantly.

Stockdale, C and Moore-Colyer, M.J.S (2010) Steaming hay for horses: The effect of three different treatments on the respirable particle numbers in hay treated in the Haygain steamer. 5th European Workshop for Equine Nutrition, Cirencester, Sept 2010. The Impact of nutrition on the health and welfare of horses. EAAP publication No. 128. Ed Ellis, A., Longland, A.C., Coenen, M and Miraglia, N. p136-138

  1. Given the choice steamed hay was preferred over dry and soaked hay. Haygain steamed hay, once tasted was always the first to be consumed.

Moore-Colyer, M.J.S. and Payne, V. Palatability and ingestion behaviour of 6 polo ponies offered a choice of dry, soaked and steamed hay for 1 hour on three separate occasions. Advances in Animal Biosciences. Healthy Food from Healthy Animals. Vol 3 part 1. p127

Click here to read more about Haygain research

Haygain Hay Steamer Manifold

How Haygain Works

Haygain’s unique method consists of a patented manifold system that pushes steam into the hay, distributing it evenly throughout the hay. The aluminum plates, which hold the spikes, accumulate more heat under the hay to assist with raising the temperature inside the steam chest, optimizing its efficiency. Perforated spikes force steam from the center of the hay outwards, ensuring total steam absorption.

Its custom-engineered, thermally efficient steam chest maintains the steam volume and high temperature to ensure that the respirable particles, fungal spores, bacteria and mites in the hay are eliminated.

Experience has shown that it takes an average of 50 minutes to steam a batch of hay using the Haygain system – a small amount of time for an important step toward a healthier horse.

Haygain is Easy to Use – Fill, Load, Steam & Unload

1 – Fill

Use a watering can and funnel to fill the steam generator with clean tap water.

2 – Load

Load the bale/hay net/loose hay into the hay chest and push down onto the spikes.

3- Steam

Close the lid of the hay chest and switch on.

4 – Unload

Leave for 45 – 60 minutes (depending on the size of your Haygain model) and check that the thermometer on the lid is positioned in the green zone. Switch off and unload the hay. Feed immediately or up to 24 hours later.

There’s a Haygain Model for Everyone

From one-horse and travel sizes on up, there’s a Hatgain model for everyone. Stables of up to 100 horses have been successfully using Haygain for every feeding, every day.

Haygain HG One+

Ideal for 1 horse

Holds up to 8kgs hay

Robust construction and made from food grade material

Lightweight & compact

60 minutes cycle time from cold (approx.)

Weight: 23kgs

Haygain HG Go

Designed for travel

Holds up to 15kgs loose hay or hay nets

Collapsible bag allows you to travel light

Insulated multi-layer construction

Non-rip, food grade, marine material: non PVC

60 minutes cycle time from cold (approx.)

Weight: 16kgs

Haygain HG 600

Feeds 2-3 horses

Holds 1/2 a standard bale of hay, up to 18kgs loose hay/haylage or haynets

Robust construction, stainless steel fittings and made from food grade material

Wheels and extending handle make it easily portable

60 minutes cycle time from cold (approx.)

* Boiler supplied will vary between countries to suit voltage supply*

Haygain HG 2000

4+ horses

Holds 1 standard bale, 35-40kgs loose hay or hay nets

Robust construction, stainless steel fittings and made from food grade material

Wheels at one end of unit base

Ideal for larger stable yards

60 minutes cycle time from cold (approx.)

* Boiler/boilers supplied will vary between countries to suit voltage supply*

Haygain Testimonials

“I always want the best for my horses, and incorporating Haygain steamers into my horse’s feed program ensures they are getting the full nutritional value of their hay without the risk of respiratory problems. Not only does Haygain put my mind at ease when it comes time to feeding, but the horses too are really enjoying their steamed hay!”

Lauren Hough

Pan American Games medalist, top-ranked US show jumper

“I received our first Haygain Steamer about 9 months after losing my favourite FEI partner to COPD, resulting from pneumonia that started at a horse show. I worked so hard to save him including soaking all hay and watering all bedding. I only wished I had known about Haygain sooner. Now I not only use my Haygain at home for our competition horses, but also recommend them for my equine patients during many of my veterinary calls. I recommend them for all top athletes that need the best of respiratory health in order to compete. I also recommend Haygain in my practice for horses with respiratory and skin allergies, COPD, poor appetite and colic issues. I really appreciate you building such a superior product. I never want to go back to soaking hay again; as an asthmatic and an athlete myself, I cannot stick my nose in a regular bale of hay, but I can in a bale that has come out of the Haygain machine! ”

Wren Burnley, DVM

FEI dressage rider and trainer, Fulton, Kentucky

“In 2009, my top advanced horse, Manoir De Carneville, pulled up from a 9 minute cross country round with large amounts of blood coming from his nose. I was shocked and spent the next few weeks scoping, taking blood samples and ultimately doing allergy tests. It turns out my horse was suffering from severe allergies to hay. He was having problems breathing and under the high stress at the FEI level, the severity of his allergy became apparent. I was soon introduced to Haygain and it has become one of my favourite products. Haygain keeps my horses healthy and happy – giving them the competitive edge they need to succeed.”

Sinead Halpin

International event rider and US Eventing Association certified trainer, USA

“I was first introduced to Haygain when we acquired a unit in our equine hospital for cases that have been diagnosed with respiratory issues. We have used it for foals with severe Rhodococcus equi pneumonia, to aid in reducing the amount of inhaled allergens when they eat hay. We have also steamed bedding (ie: straw) for the same reduction of potential inhaled allergens. For our colic surgeries that are not eating well, we have used the Haygain steamed hay to entice those horses to consume more roughage. The fresh aroma after the hay has been steamed appears to increase many horses’ appetite post-surgery. I have first-hand experience with this product because not only do I use the Haygain unit at my hospital, but for my own personal dressage and racehorses as well.”

Nathan Slovis, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, CHT

Director of the McGee Critical Care and Medical Center, Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, Lexington, KY

“One of my primary focuses within our practice is sport horse medicine and nutrition. Since 2009, I have begun using the Haygain hay steamer as an integral part of treatment for respiratory disease and allergy-affected horses. Primarily they reduced dust, including the spores and molds found in all hay types, reducing the extent of medications required to control COPD/Heaves in horses. One of the larger impacts has been the Haygain as a tool for the classic ‘hard keeping horse.’ These typical horses, once balanced with an appropriate nutrition plan, benefit from the Haygain hay because they are willing to consume more appropriate amounts of hay for their body weights. I attribute this to the reinvigoration or rehydration of the fructans found with all hay types. Also, for my travelling sport horses, the reintroduction of over three gallons of water to each bale of hay, affords me the confidence that horses that typically would decrease their hay consumption while competing, now consume the same if not more feed. Introducing more water into a horse’s diet without the leaching effects of soaking hay, let alone without the mess, is ideal. Haygain is part of my everyday discussion when reviewing, altering and managing sport horse diets. Summer-affected allergy horses have shown success with reduced clinical signs and decreased medical management from previous years and the only change in their treatment plan has been a Haygain hay steamer.”

Dr. Chad Davis, DVM

Regional Equine Associates Central Hospital, Virginia, USA

For a healthier horse, make Haygain part of your feeding routine