Fermenting hay


Kim Leitch
 

I have not had to soak hay in the Summer before, and when I got to the barn this morning, it smelled like a brewery! There was about 0.2 lbs. of hay left in each horses nets. I have read through the messages and have some good suggestions of what I need to do, mainly aerating it and smaller amounts in the bags.
My question is, what can eating fermented hay do to a horse? Colic? When I dump the fermented hay out of the nets, they all immediately start eating it. Is it a problem for a horse to eat small amounts of fermented hay.

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Kim 10-2014

Clover, SC

Grits and Dually: IR; Bella: PPID, IR; and Eeyore (deceased, but not PPID related)

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Candice Piraino
 

Hi Kim!

May I ask how long you are soaking the hay for or how long the hay is left after being soaked?

I am in Central Florida and even when it rains, my hay in the hay nets will ferment rather quickly so i dump the hay. Sometimes my horses will eat the hay I have dumped and other times not. I would rather be on the safe side and dump where they can not eat it, if it has been fermenting all night with the storms. I think some horses can be more susceptible and sensitive and of course we have to worry about mold! I have been doing this on my track system for 2 years now and my herd hasn't had any issues- knock on wood!

I am sure Dr. Kellon and others will chime in as well. 
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~ Candice 

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September 2018, Summerfield, FL

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Kim Leitch
 

Hi Candice,
I’m soaking for an hour and draining for 15 minutes. I’m throwing out the fermented hay, but I know they are eating some of it before I get there. It has been mid 90’s with 95% humidity, but that’s normal for us in July. 

I’m rinsing it now and putting less hay in each bag. The daytime bags are doing better, but the night bags are fermented in the mornings. I have a few more things I will try.

My main concern is what can happen if they are eating fermented hay before I get there in the mornings.

--
Kim 10-2014

Clover, SC

Grits and Dually: IR; Bella: PPID, IR; and Eeyore (deceased, but not PPID related)

Case History https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Kim%20and%20Grits%20-%20Eeyore%20-%20Dually

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Kim, when you say "bags," what are you using? Even in my dry climate, hay would ferment in my Hay Pillows. After switching to hay nets, I've never had another problem--- tho our humidities are a fraction of yours.

--
Cass, Sonoma Co., CA 2012
ECIR Group Moderator
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Kim Leitch
 

Sorry Cass, I should have said nets. Doubled 1 1/2 inch nets with 4-4 1/2 lbs. per net.

I’m still trying to get an answer to my question about what effect eating fermented hay has on horses.
--
Kim 10-2014

Clover, SC

Grits and Dually: IR; Bella: PPID, IR; and Eeyore (deceased, but not PPID related)

Case History https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Kim%20and%20Grits%20-%20Eeyore%20-%20Dually

Photo album Grits https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=1314

Photo album Eeyore https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=6586&p=Name,,,20,1,0,0
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Photo album Bella https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=64978




 
Edited

I don’t know the answer to your question, Kim, so I’m not sure why I’m posting.  I did read a bit of the popular literature and it seems that no one can agree on whether or not feeding fermented hay is reasonable.  I know when I first had horses here in Vermont, decades ago, there were farmers who fed silage to their horses.  With our short rainy summers, getting enough good hay was difficult but silage is plentiful.  I’ve never done that myself.  I would think the fermentation conditions might be important as you don’t want anything unpalatable or moldy.  I also read that horses are not going to eat it willingly as the sugars have been fermented away.  So, my take from this is that your horse will probably eat around the fermented part and might even benefit from that it accidentally ingests.  Here is a link to Chaffhaye, a fermented alfalfa product for horses, which I think I’ve seen mentioned here a few times.

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Maria Duran
 

On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 01:34 AM, Kim Leitch wrote:
I’m still trying to get an answer to my question about what effect eating fermented hay has on horses.

Someone more experienced and knowledgeable will be more precise than me but I believe the risk is in growing bacteria, mold and micotoxins. The horse might be asymptomatic because his immune system and liver can cope with it, have a mild diarrhea or in severe cases I guess colic and neurologic symptoms might develop depending in the type of toxin. This is my understanding but others might correct me if I am wrong 


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María Durán Navarro 
Dec 2017
Madrid (Spain)

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Kim Leitch
 

Thank you, Maria and Martha!
I think you have answered  my question.
I am using larger nets with less hay, larger tubs to soak, fluffing the hay before putting it into the bags, and rinsing the hay when I pull it out of the soaking water. I still have a small amount of fermented hay in the mornings on the horses that get 4-4.5 pounds of hay in each net. I soak four times a day. I no longer have a life, lol.
--
Kim 10-2014

Clover, SC

Grits and Dually: IR; Bella: PPID, IR; and Eeyore (deceased, but not PPID related)

Case History https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Kim%20and%20Grits%20-%20Eeyore%20-%20Dually

Photo album Grits https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=1314

Photo album Eeyore https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=6586&p=Name,,,20,1,0,0
Photo album Dually https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=9046&p=Name,,,20,1,0,0
Photo album Bella https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/album?id=64978




 

On Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 05:47 PM, Kim Leitch wrote:
I no longer have a life, lol.
No life here, either, with just soaking twice a day. More thoughts. We can't fix the weather in South Carolina, but...are you soaking in cold water? That would be my guess with soaking for an hour. Have you dried and tested the soaked hay? Are you soaking it to Dr Gufstason's "hay skeletons" or does it take an hour to reduce the ESC to the safety point? 

Have you given your hay nets a good wash and dry? When my nets or ties get sour, I give them a good soap bath, rinse til the water runs clear, and dry them out completely in the sun.

Last thoughts. Have you tried pre-rinsing the hay to clean it up a bit before soaking? I do that when my hay has high iron, so I can remove some of the iron before soaking. Did you try adding some salt to the soak water, at least for the overnight hay? If it's that hot, I'm sure your horses could use the extra salt. It might inhibit fermentation.
 
--
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ECIR Group Moderator
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