Becky James BSc MSc
Technical sales director
Can you use Haygain in freezing temperatures?
We’ve been asked this question a lot recently, so can you use Haygain in freezing temperatures? Here is the answer for anyone else wondering the same thing!
The winter always feels harder work than the summer months… rain, wind, mud, hairy coats, rugs on, rugs off… everything seems to take longer and then the wet yard freezes and you soon realise you should have worn ice-skates this morning!
Freezing weather tends to bring extra havoc to the yard if you soak hay, once you’ve prized the hay out of the bucket you realise it’s more like a hay-ice cube coming out! Now your hands are freezing and you daren’t tip the water across the yard to add to the slippery ice rink.
So, you’ll no doubt be pleased to find out you absolutely can use Haygain hay steamers in freezing temperatures without getting water all over the yard, freezing cold hands and feeding your horse a hay-ice cube!
All Haygain hay steamers can be used as normal but it’s important to take a few extra steps to prevent them from freezing up when not in use and not kept indoors in a heated area.
We’ve seen some pretty creative ways to help prevent the hay chest from freezing up, including putting old turn-out rugs over them and putting tomorrows hay inside ready which helps insulate the spikes – genius!
It’s best to empty the boiler when not in use, drain off water from within the pipes/spikes, this literally takes a couple of minutes but saves having to defrost everything the next day.
Ideally the boiler should be kept when not in use in a heated room (those of us not lucky enough to have a heated tackroom could potentially put it in the house).
If water has frozen in the pipes/spikes then hot water from a kettle can be used to defrost them.
Using a PB boiler
On a HG2000 or HG600 unit and you get caught out, the Haygain is frozen up without you realising and you switch it on then it’s likely there will be a blockage of ice somewhere within the hoses/spikes and the safety release valve on the filler cap may blow. This is a safety feature and will allow steam out of the cap to prevent a build- up of pressure in the boiler. If this happens then you will need to allow the boiler to cool down, fully defrost the Haygain (with a kettle as above) and then re-set the filler cap. This is easy to do, just turn it upside down and use a screw driver to push down on the ball bearing in the cap, the ball bearing will be off-set and needs to spring back up into the centre of the cap beneath the black rubber seal.
Using a jiffy boiler
If you are using a jiffy boiler on a Haygain HG-One, the boiler will switch itself off temporarily if there is a blockage, allow it to cool, locate and defrost the blockage and then re-commence the cycle.
Once you know your Haygain is not frozen up you can commence steaming as normal, cycle times can take a little longer in freezing ambient temperatures but the job will get done. No heavy, wet or iced hay to handle just lovely warm, sweet-smelling steamed hay ready to feed.
Imagine how satisfying it will feel to give your horse warm, steamy hay on a cold winters morning!
NB: Haygain will not help avoid the winter challenges posed by rain, wind, mud, hairy coats and the endless task of rugs on, rugs off 😉