May 2017 - A Steamy Situation
Written by CRM
Friday, 28 April 2017 20:33
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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.

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

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

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.

Summaries of Haygain published research are available at along with their full references.

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.

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

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.

Press release provided by Haygain. For more information about Haygain, visit or call 707-838-4855.