winter hay soaking


Trisha DePietro
 

Hi everyone. I am experimenting with different hay soaking strategies for the upcoming winter. My hay is just slightly over the 10% ( 10.4%) and the horses are symptomatic with it not soaked...Sooooooo, I foresee a long cold winter of hay soaking- :)   

 I was wondering if anyone has tried soaking in the large 16 gallon heated buckets and what was their process? Also, How many meals can you safely presoak in the winter? Thanks.
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Trisha DePietro
Aug 2018
NH
Dolly and Hope's Case Histories
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Primary Responder


Eleanor Kellon, VMD
 

I'm not sure which buckets you are referring to (are they water troughs?) but if you can easily drain them where they are without creating an ice hazard sounds like a good option.  Pre soaking is not much of an issue in the winter because the risk of bacterial spoilage of soaked forage is much lower.
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Eleanor in PA

www.drkellon.com 
EC Owner 2001


 

Trisha, if the buckets are like small heated muck buckets, I tried them and found them too small for my needs.  I am going through much of what you are now.  I’m used to soaking hay for two little guys but, depending on how my testing comes back, I may need to soak for a large horse as well.  

I have a drain to carry the soaking water away from the barn, just need to get the water from the tub to the drain.  I’ve put spigots into the side of the muck buckets I’m now using to soak but the fittings apparently weren’t suitable for round tubs and cracked the muck bucket.  I have ordered spigots designed for round tubs such as rain barrels for the next set.  I also installed a small hoist (as per Cass) to aid in the draining.  Still have some other ideas cooking which include a 75 gallon Rubbermaid tub and a pump which has apparently already clogged.  

It was 14 deg F here Friday night which is cold enough that I wish I’d figured this out already.
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Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

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Trisha DePietro
 

Thanks Dr. Kellon and Martha. Good to know I can prep several bags ahead of time without spoilage. it makes the mornings so much easier to have soaked and drained bags ready to go, especially on work days. 
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Trisha DePietro
Aug 2018
NH
Dolly and Hope's Case Histories
Dolly's Photos 
Hope's Photos 
Primary Responder


 

Over in the Horsekeeping sub-group I made a photo folder of a hay soaker that my spouse and I built a few years ago. 
https://ecir.groups.io/g/Horsekeeping/album?id=52768
When I began soaking hay I quickly found out that the container size and design was all important. This type of heavy duty storage tub has a design that gives great rigidity to the sides of the tub. Other tubs with thin flat sides would bow outward when filled with water and were nearly impossible to tip over for draining. It also is the perfect shape for hay nets filled with stacked hay flakes. I did find that the hay nets wanted to float to the surface but setting a wide feed tub on top of the hay net and filling that with water would keep the nets submerged.

We wanted to be able to drain the soaking water away from the barn. Clever husband put together PVC components from the "Plumbing" section of a local home improvement store. and the outlet for draining water simply inserted into drain pipes. I put several sections of drain pipes together to take the water 40 feet over to a drainage ditch. 

You can find a message #23710 in the Horsekeeping sub-group explaining more about the soaker. 
--
Bonnie Snodgrass 07-2016

ECIR Group Primary Response 

White Cloud, Michigan, USA

Mouse Case History, Photo Album


Amy
 

When I have to soak (luckily not this winter) I use a cooler with wheels.  Soak and then hang the bag on the outside of a stall using the metal to hang it.  It easily drips back into the cooler.  Then I wheel the cooler outside the barn and dump the water.  

I have found this ks the easiest way for my set up.
Good luck 👍 
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- Amy 10-2016

Mooresville, Indiana 

Stormy, Case History, Photo Album

 


 

One thing I figured out that helped me a bit - I have been using muck buckets by installing an opening to a hose attachment on the outside.  At first I thought I would need to have a valve of some sort to keep the water in the bucket but then I remembered that if I held the exit hose above the water level in the tub, no water would leave.  The hose is a 4-5 feet long piece and conducts the water from the tub to the drain.  I take the open end of the hose and stick into the soaking hay until it’s ready to drain and then I just stick the end into the drain to empty.  The hose does not need to stick into the hay (if you have a closed container) as long as you have a way to hold it above the water level.

 For each soaking muck bucket, I have another with holes in the bottom to use as a strainer, which sits inside the soaking tub.   Loose weighed hay goes into the strainer and once it’s through soaking and rinsing it goes from the straining tub into hay bags, using insulated rubber gloves.  I’m planning to try some mesh hay bags for soaking to see if they offer more flexibility than what I do now. 

For those of you with your horses at home, I highly recommend installing a drain.  Mine goes from inside my barn to a drainage ditch down the hill which is excluded from the horse pasture.  Someone with a backhoe or excavator can install one much more easily than a horse owner can with a shovel.

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Martha in Vermont
ECIR Group Primary Response
July 2012 
 
Logo (dec. 7/20/19), Tobit(EC) and Pumpkin, Handy and Silver (EC/IR)

Martha and Logo