How to make your own hay steamer for approximately $250.

Hay Steamer Components

Steamer Box - I used to use a Rubbermaid Deck Box but felt it wasn't getting hot enough, so I now use a very large cooler
2x4 and 1x3 lumber to build a rack
Dishwasher hose 4 to 6 feet long
Brass Fitting - 3/8 male compression x 3/8 male compression with lock nut
Brass Fitting 1/4 male pipe x 3/8 male compression

NB: Actual Diameter of brass fittings are 1/2 inch - nominal size is 4 or 1/4inch

Fittings are available at Home Depot or order online at:

Hose and Fittings

717 Davis Street

Fort Wayne, IN 46808


Step 1: Build Your Steamer Rack: Using your 2x4's and 1x3 strapping, build a wooden rack that fits in your box according to diagram below.


Step 2: Drill a hole in the middle of the back panel of steamer box. Hole should be at bottom of the back panel BELOW the rack. Be sure the rack does not block the hole. Insert 3/8 x 3/8 male compression fitting and tighten with lock nut.

Step 3: Replace the hose that came with steamer with the dishwasher hose. Use 1/4 inch female pipe x 3/8 male compression fitting to attach dishwasher hose to steamer.

Using Your Steamer

Step 1: Put your steamer somewhere with good drainage away from any fire hazards. Do not use an extension cord. Do not run your steamer without someone present. 

Step 2: Put your hay in steamer. Do NOT pack tightly. Fan out the flakes.

Step 3: Thoroughly wet the hay - I spray each flake on each side.

Step 4: Fill steamer with water to steam line

Step 5: Steam hay for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Steamer doesn't have an on/off button - just plug it in and set a reminder to check. Running steamer dry will ruin the steamer and is a fire hazard, so check periodically.

Step 6: Let hay cool a bit - it should be very hot and then feed out. Feed hay within 24 hours of steaming. It molds very quickly after being steamed.

Step 7: Clean out the box completely regularly. Leaving wet hay in bottom with encourage mold growth very quickly.

Do not allow steamer to freeze - it will break. These steamers are somewhat delicate and allowing them to freeze or run dry will result in failure. If it is very important your horse has steamed hay at all times, buy an extra steamer. 

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