How can I use an Equisteam Hay Steamer?
These are the very frequently asked questions that we get on a regular basis. Please contact us and let us know if you have more!
In principle, it depends on WHY you soak. Steaming is nice for both the horse and owner, especially on a cold winter's day. There are some benefits:
- You don't get wet or have to handle cold, heavy soaked hay
- It smells wonderful and horses love it, they'll not waste as much.
- It can help with respiratory problems, but soaking/wetting can help too
Importantly, Steaming will not reduce sugars significantly, so it won't help with laminitis.
Many people will soak to reduce sugars but then steam to make the hay nicer to eat and to clean up some of the micro-organisms that can result from a long soak.
More on this in questions to come! We'll publish a paper on this soon.
In short, no. Steaming reduces sugars slightly - but not enough to make a difference for laminitis or weight-controlled horses.
It does make soaked hay much more palatable, so it is often used to encourage horses to eat soaked hay.
You can generally take the hay out of the steamer and serve it straight away, especially if it is in a hay-net. The net and outer surface will be hot (like a cup of coffee) but will cool rapidly out of the steamer bin.
Don't thrust a bare hand in the middle of a net or loose hay, though - it will hold high temperatures for 10-20 minutes and you might get a burn.
We've had our steamers tested at an independent lab so we'll use those results to guide steaming times.
For most steam generators, add 10-15 minutes warm-up time to the times below. Always use a timer switch to ensure your steamer doesn't overheat.
One Steamer Bin,
For one Steamer, with a large hay-net or about 6.5kg loose hay - minimum 45 minutes of steam-time, we advise 60 minutes.
Two Steamer Bins
For Two Steamer Bins run from the one steam generator, the steam energy is shared so you'll need to use a full 80-minute cycle and then leave it to sit and cook for 10 minutes. That's 90 minutes of treatment time at effective temperatures.
To go faster, wet your hay first with around 3L of cold (or better - hot!) water. Much of the cycle time is taken up with getting the hay wet enough to conduct heat. Wetting beforehand really helps.
If you are over-loading (7-8+kg hay) or have really dense slices, we advise always wetting to ensure you treat all the hay.
Can I do my own DIY Steamer?
OK, you may not have asked, but plenty do and we bet everyone thinks about it. So let's get them out in the open!
Of course you can, many do. We'll help you if you like. We make all of our parts available in a few DIY kits to help you solve some of the trickier technical problems. You can find them here.
We set out to make a Hay Steamer that was both effective and affordable. We reckon we've done that.
It's been harder to do than we thought, though. To make an internationally successful product that will last a long time, we've had to make our own products out of stainless steel and heat-resistant plastics, not just any old bin and pipe.
We hope that once you've seen the care and effort we've put into these that you'll see it's not a DIY bodge, but a great product at a great price.