Soaking hay is a pain, but I have developed an excellent system. I use a big heavy duty muck bucket (purchased just for this purpose, so it is clean and save for food use), a muck bucket cart on wheels, and a big rock. LOL! The hay is set into the muck bucket, I fill the bucket with water, and I use the rock on top so the hay actually stays in the water and doesn't float to the top. When it is time to feed the hay, I tip the entire thing over and let it drain for 10 minutes. Then, I tipped it right side up and wheel it into Dreamy's stall.
It works, even though it is a pain. The worse part is how mucky it makes the area, since I am dumping a 70 quart bucket twice a day. I have to dump the water in a specific part of my barnyard to minimize the "swamp". Plus, I can only do it in the warmer months.
I have coveted a professional hay steamer for a long time...OK, for nine years. LOL! The smallest "travel" hay steamer runs about $350 and the half bale steamer is more like $1500. I don't think the travel steamer would work that great (that bag looks like a PITA). And I just cannot spend $1500. So what is a girl to do?
This past summer, my dad helped me design a hay steamer! It is pretty awesome and it works great!
Why steam hay instead of soak it? Here is an article, but basically this is the run-down:
- Soaking hay can leech out the nutrients and sugars, but steaming does not
- Steaming hay ensures all spores and bacteria are killed
- Soaking hay is cumbersome and messy
- It is less expensive to steam hay all winter than buy the chopped forage product
- Steaming hay is easy, but you do need to time it correctly
- Steamed hay smells sooooo good!!
|This is my homemade hay steamer! I gave my dad the design and he created it for me! No more soaking hay in big muck tubs and making a mess! Yay!|
|This is the attachment where the steamer connects to the unit.|