By Kentucky Equine Research Staff · February 3, 2012
If your horse needs a low-carbohydrate diet, you can reduce the sugar concentration in hay by soaking it in water prior to feeding. While this has nearly become common knowledge, there is a lot of confusion about the best procedure to follow. How long do you soak the hay? In hot water or cold? By the half-bale or the fluffed-up flake? How much sugar is actually lost? And do all types of hay respond the same way to soaking? A study in England revealed some answers.
Nine types of hay were used in the study, and widely varying results were found between the types. Water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) including fructans, glucose, fructose, and sucrose can be dissolved by soaking in either hot or cold water, though they dissolve more quickly in hot water. This study used cold water for periods of 20 minutes, 40 minutes, three hours, or 16 hours...
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