Types of bedding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 07:59 AM Thread Starter
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Types of bedding?

I was wondering if you guys could help me out on a project that i have going at the moment.
I'm trying to find out -

What types of bedding are out there?

How much they cost?

What you use?

Why you use it?

What you prefer to use?

Thank-you inadvance xx
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 10:53 AM
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Shavings and straw are the traditional ones. There are new sawdust pellets. That's all the bedding I have experience with.
Straw is not as clean looking as shavings, but it is healthier for the horse because there is less dust and minor consumption of it can actually help the digestive system. Foals should always be birthed on straw as it won't get into their eyes, etc... straw is about a couple dollars for a small square bale.
Shavings are my favorite for regular every day use because it is easy to clean, smells nice and looks clean. It's a couple hundred bucks for a semi truck "load" so storage can be an issue because of the bulk volume. It can also be bought in bags, which in bulk are about $4 a bag.
The new sawdust pellets are more environmentally friendly, however I do not like them at all. They do not provide enough cushioning for the horse to lie down and it is almost impossible to get rid of the urine and ammonia smell. Because you have to wet them down upon putting them in the stall, they also harbour bacterial infections, mold and mites (if they survive the low pH from all the ammonia lmao). I think this stuff is crap and is so bad for horses. It's like $8 a bag but apparently you "use less" than shavings - but I guarantee your vet bills for sores, scratches and capped hocks will go up!

In general any bedding used in too small amounts or not cleaned regularly enough can cause health problems, but the pellets are the worst. Straw is probably healthiest, but shavings are the easiest imo.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 11:55 AM
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Good thread, I keep forgetting to ask everyone about what their opinions of using sunflower seed huls for bedding. Where I board, they have been using these for 20 some odd years. They are really cheap, like 50 bucks a grain truck load. Just am curious as to if anyone has seen anything bad about these, other then the horses do tend to eat them if they have not been exposed to these before.

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post #4 of 13 Old 01-27-2012, 01:39 AM
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I have used shavings (and sometimes still do) as well as the pellet bedding.

Hands down, I prefer pellets! I have no issue with smell, and they last a long time. The waste is very minimal, and since it breaks down into a "course" (but still much more fine than shavings) dust, it composts a lot faster.

I do not wet down the pellets before I put the horse in. My mare will wet all over her stall, so after 1 night, she has about a third of her stall "fluffed". I just pick the poop and mix the bedding around. I did notice in the very beginning when i started using them, if you don't mix it up, then you will get a smell spot. You don't always see it because the bedding absorbs so well, that it makes the surface look dry. So it's important to sift.

It's much easier to pick out the lose hay also!

And, I don't know where you find your pellets Anebel, but 40lbs of wood pellets at any of the feedstores in my area are always less than $6/bag. I usually use the stove ones, because those are usually under $4/40lb bag. The biggest difference is that the stove ones are darker, and packed tighter. But they still work great for me.

Shavings look nice and fluffy, but have a lot of waste, and if you don't have the storage space to buy in bulk (truck load) then it very quickly becomes more expensive than pellets.

I don't have mine in too often, but I can (and have actually tried this before) buy 5 bags to bed down one stall (about$25) and it lasts about 2 months. But the stall with the shavings (one bale) only lasts about a week, 2 if i'm lucky, and it costs $7/$8 per bag. Again, mine come in to eat dinner, and if the weather is really bad, then I'll keep them in, but usually they are only in for a few hours per day.
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-30-2012, 09:04 PM
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I worked as a barn hand at a stable for 3 years, in that time the BO went through a variety of beddings.
I like finely shaved saw dust that is purchased in bulk from a sawmill much better than bagged wood shavings.
I absolutely HATE cleaning straw, its heavy and hard to get out all of the little bitty pieces of poo on a daily basis, especially if you have a horse that likes to "tap dance" in it's stall.
We briefly used rice hulls, which I really liked, their cost was comparable to bagged wood shavings, when factored in that you waste less of the rice hulls because they fall through the fork easier than shavings. The rice hulls claim to be better cushioning for your horse and the horses did seem to like to lie down in them more than other beddings. The rice hulls can be cleaned more thoroughly than shavings and have a waxy coating that keeps the ammonia odor to a minimum. Rice hulls were definitely my favourite bedding to clean, but the barn went back to saw dust in bulk for cost reasons.
Saw dust is my 2nd favourite bedding, it is also easy to clean and waste is minimal.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-30-2012, 09:22 PM
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Wood shavings for me, hands down!
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-30-2012, 09:37 PM
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Just the thought of pellets and the horse standing on/in it's own pee for weeks, makes me cringe. They absorb the pee but the pee doesn't magically fly away, it's still there and the poor horse ends up standing on/lying in pee, it's just "dry" pee basically.

I clean the stalls where I board, my favorite is matted stalls with shavings. I use a plastic snow shovel to scoop out the entirety of the pee spot, pick out the manure and replace shavings as needed. The "neat" horses are bedded deeper since I can easily clean their stalls even with deep bedding, the PIGS are bedded thinner since I replace most of their bedding daily.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ~*~anebel~*~ View Post
The new sawdust pellets are more environmentally friendly, however I do not like them at all. They do not provide enough cushioning for the horse to lie down and it is almost impossible to get rid of the urine and ammonia smell. Because you have to wet them down upon putting them in the stall, they also harbour bacterial infections, mold and mites (if they survive the low pH from all the ammonia lmao).
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anabel, I've been using these pellets for 2 years, now, so I thought I'd share how I use them. First I do NOT wet them down. I believe the manufacturer has either not tested them or is trying to get you to buy more by doing this. Secondly I do not put down 6 bags/stall. I lay them down in the spot where my horse(s) prefer to urinate, 1 bag each for my average sized horses and 2 bags for my 1,350 lb gelding bc he urinates more volume. He's in a 12 x 12 stall, btw. (I use rubber mats.) Then I open a bag of pine shavings on top of this. MY horses spread them out, so I don't bother.
The dry pellets, (I use Equine Fresh) soak up the urine and turn it into moist powder, then I leave them to soak it up a 2nd time. The difference in ammonia is REMARKABLE, plus I use fewer shavings than I used to--one package/stall/(normal) week, instead of 2 packages/stall/week. They also help to deodorize their poo. Horses don't want to lay where it's wet, so discomfort is not an issue. I normally stall my horses 1/2 a day, then turnout during the daytime. If they're turned out daily it takes about a week of spot cleaning before I have to totally strip the stall, more new bedding and pellets if they're inside full time, like ice storm weather.
Just thought I'd share. =D
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 03:44 PM
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What types of bedding are out there?

I've used straw, shavings, newspaper and peat. I much prefer shavings to the rest.

How much they cost? Shavings are running about €10 a bale - straw is about €25 for a roundbale, newspaper €5.50 and peat is cheapest of all, it's approx €20 for a trailerfull which lasts between 4 - 6 months depending on the horse.

What you use?
As I mentioned, I now use shavings.

Why you use it?
I really dislike straw, too much waste. Peat is dirty looking and i'm not convinced it wont be harmful to a horse's breathing since it is a bit dusty. Shavings not only look well, is easy to muck but also provides a good bed for my horse.

What you prefer to use?
See above.

Thank-you inadvance xx

Your very welcome.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-31-2012, 04:12 PM
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We used to keep our horse where shavings were used and then moved her to a place where pine pellets are used, so I have used both. I did not like the pellets at first, but now I prefer them. Every now and then we will go to a show where shavings are used (if we require a stall) and I am reminded of how much I prefer the pellets. This is my list of pros and cons of each:

Pros of shavings - nice and fluffy when they are fresh.

Cons of shavings - more difficult to clean, doesn't absorb urine well so the smell was stronger and the floor wet, more hay waste (I guess it is more difficult for our horse to pick thru)

Pros of pellets - better absorption (drier stall), better smelling (in our experience), less hay waste, nice when the pellets open up (but not as fluffy as the shavings), much easier to clean, breaks down better for those who compost.

Cons - needs to be dampened when fresh so the pellets will begin to open up (otherwise they can be like little ball bearings - NOT good when your horse spooks!), needs to be stripped every 4-7 days depending or it will turn into a fine dust which I don't want my horse living in. I probably strip more often then most because of it but that's just me.

Overall I probably save a little money with the pellets but nothing that would influence a change. We use pine pellets but I do believe that there are different kinds of pellets and I would guess that the results would be a bit different with each.
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