Hay Soaking Tips
Q. I’d like to soak my horse’s grass hay to reduce sugar and dust content. Do I need to be aware of anything specific when feeding soaked hay?
A. Soaking can be a good way to reduce dust and sugar in hay and is a tool often used by owners managing horses with equine metabolic syndrome or equine asthma. Researchers have performed a number of studies trying to quantify just how much water-soluble sugar soaking removes and what impact soaking has on dust.
Work conducted at the University of Minnesota has shown that soaking a variety of hays for as little as 15 minutes in cold or warm water can reduce nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) content. Interestingly, in nearly all cases NSC loss was higher when using cold water, although the difference was typically not significant and other studies have shown warm water to be more effective. Across studies though, the longer the hay soaked, the greater its NSC
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