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Article

Feed Intake Parameters of Horses Fed Soaked or Steamed Hay and Hygienic Quality of Hay Stored following Treatment

1
Group Animal Nutrition, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
2
Biometrics and Informatics in Agriculture Group, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, 06120 Halle (Saale), Germany
3
Federal Research Center for Cultivated Plants, Crop and Soil Science, Julius Kuehn Institute, 38104 Braunschweig, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Authors contributed equally.
Academic Editors: Brian Nielsen and Robert Pieper
Animals 2021, 11(9), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092729
Received: 9 July 2021 / Revised: 9 September 2021 / Accepted: 16 September 2021 / Published: 18 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Equids)
Dusty hay is particularly harmful to horses with equine asthma, where the dust mainly consists of microbial deposits in addition to abiotic ones. Soaking and steaming hay can improve its hygienic quality by rinsing off dust, but also reducing the viability of microorganisms. In this study, we investigated whether the treated hay remains stable during subsequent storage, and how the horses’ feed intake as well as chewing activity change with treated hay. Microbial counts were determined by culture methods in meadow hay before and after soaking or steaming, and subsequent storage at 10 and 25 °C for 6, 12 and 24 h. Chewing activity was monitored while horses consumed native or treated hay. Steaming effectively reduced yeasts and typical mold. Steamed hay was almost stable during storage, but storing soaked hay increased yeasts, and typical bacteria and mold. The intake of soaked hay was characterized by a particularly low consumption rate and high chewing intensity, but these per se positive effects seemed to be biased by a lower acceptance. However, steaming can be used to reduce counts of viable microorganisms. The feeding of soaked hay is recommended directly after treatment, to avoid hygienic problems.
Horses suffering from equine asthma must consume low-dust forage, with soaking and steaming being suitable methods of hay treatment. The impacts of this treated hay’s subsequent storage and effects on the horses’ chewing activity are largely unknown. Meadow hay was soaked (10–15 °C, 15 min) or steamed (100 °C, 60 min). Microbial counts (colony forming units (CFU)) were determined by culture before and after soaking or steaming, and subsequent storage at 10 and 25 °C for 6, 12 and 24 h (three replicates each). Six horses were fed native, soaked and steamed hay, according to a cross-over design, and chewing parameters were measured. Steaming reduced (p < 0.05) typical mold vs. soaking (0 vs. 50 CFU/g) and yeasts vs. native and steamed hay (0 vs. 102 and 90 CFU/g). Storing soaked hay elevated bacteria, mold, and yeasts (p < 0.05). Within the first 60 min of hay intake, the steamed hay and soaked hay were eaten slower (19.5 and 21.5 g dry matter/min, respectively; p < 0.05) and the steamed hay was chewed more intensely (steamed hay: 3537; native: 2622; and soaked: 2521 chewing cycles/kg dry matter, p < 0.05). Steaming particularly improves the hygienic quality of hay. Soaked hay is not stable when stored and is less accepted by horses. View Full-Text
Keywords: horses; hay; microbial content; hygienic quality; chewing; feed intake horses; hay; microbial content; hygienic quality; chewing; feed intake
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MDPI and ACS Style

Glatter, M.; Bochnia, M.; Wensch-Dorendorf, M.; Greef, J.M.; Zeyner, A. Feed Intake Parameters of Horses Fed Soaked or Steamed Hay and Hygienic Quality of Hay Stored following Treatment. Animals 2021, 11, 2729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092729

AMA Style

Glatter M, Bochnia M, Wensch-Dorendorf M, Greef JM, Zeyner A. Feed Intake Parameters of Horses Fed Soaked or Steamed Hay and Hygienic Quality of Hay Stored following Treatment. Animals. 2021; 11(9):2729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092729

Chicago/Turabian Style

Glatter, Maren, Mandy Bochnia, Monika Wensch-Dorendorf, Jörg M. Greef, and Annette Zeyner. 2021. "Feed Intake Parameters of Horses Fed Soaked or Steamed Hay and Hygienic Quality of Hay Stored following Treatment" Animals 11, no. 9: 2729. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11092729

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