The barn I board at has dirt/stone dust floors, with stall mats. Unfortunately, the dirt hereabouts has a high clay content, so it doesn't drain well. When I was using straight shavings, I was pulling 3/4 wheelbarrow per day of wet shavings, had to add a bag every 2 or 3 days, and it very quickly got sopping and stinky underneath the mats. Folding the mats back weekly to air is... unpleasant.
So I decided to try pellets. The experimental pellets are America's Choice. The experiment is going well, it's dry under the mats, I'm removing only manure per the instructions I received, and I haven't had to add more sawdust or pellets all week! However, it seems to compact a lot, but not sure if all pellets do that.
I asked for recommendations of the best pellets to use on one of my FB groups, and everyone said "Equine Pine!". Can't get it here though, since they lost their deal with Tractor Supply.
So, what's the next best horse pelleted bedding brand? I'd prefer one I don't have to spray down initially.
I'd also welcome general advice on using pellets, since I'm new to them. Right now, because I get shavings "free" with my board but have to pay for the pellets separate, I'm only using pellets in the center. I flip the center out, but only remove really dark, really clumpy stuff - and that's not needed every day. Is this the right way to go about it?
Appreciate any suggestions or advice.
I like to mix the pellets and shavings together. Everything lasts a lot longer and there is a lot less dust. My horses have a walk in walk out stall and paddock so they don't do a lot in their stalls.
In the rats cage I mix shavings & pellets. For the horses, I don't even spray them. Mostly I tie in the stall, or just feed them in there. So in a day or 2 its got a good amount of relax to it.
Currently we have no stalls. Just a shed. I started using pellets in the duck house though. Works great. They are very messy, have wet poop & splash water all over. Pellets are far better than shavings, last longer & are cheaper (because I cannot buy shavings in bulk.) I flip them daily, as you mention, & remove the clumpy spots too.
If shavings are included in your board, then why not use them? Have you tried just adding more?
Also, I usually just buy peers from lowes, or home depot. It's cheaper & works just the same as the "bedding" pellets do.
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I second RitzieAnn regarding stove pellets. So long as they are "additive free" they're EXACT same thing as stall pellets but usually a $1-$2 cheaper per bag.
I made the move to environmentally friendly "natural"-horse keeping about 2 years ago, specifically using track-pasture, keeping my mud-free turnouts divided in to a 1/2 sand portion and 1/2 hogs fuel portion, and keeping their attached stalls with a bare matted floor. I use about 1 large grain scoop full of dried sprayed down pellets, once a day. Its not so much bedding as it is a sweeping compound.
Horses don't like to pee where it splashes and burns their legs, so by using less bedding indoors they go outdoors to pee where it splashes less. Because the sand and hogs fuel are the footing on top of a well draining base, but are soft and fluffy enough (even in the wetter months with blankets on) to be comfortable for laying down.
Using this methodology, I use just less then a bag of pellets per week.
I also just read a report and study from O2 Solutions regarding using composted horse manure as bedding. I might need to make a trammel but its definitely something I'm considering incorporating this summer.
clay dirt is awful. its hard to keep dry, and if its a urine puddle, I have put bleach on the puddles, one to discenfect, two the bleach turns to salt, and may help with loosening the soil. make sure the bleach smell has dissipated before putting your horse back into the stall. My horses are not in box stalls, but seem to enjoy peeing by the feeders .
I use the pellets that I pick up at home depot. What we have discovered works best is wetting the pellets a bit before putting them in. So you wet them down and let them break up then spread them in your stall. They last forever. I like deep bedding and since I have been doing this it has gotten so much cheaper to do her stall. They break up and then you are just removing manure and the clumped pee spot so you remove the amonia smell from the urine.
As long as they are regular ol wood burning pellets with nothing added they are good to go. I use them for my rabbits litter as well but I don't wet them for him. I leave them pellet form. A bag lasts me 4 months for his litter. I love it lol
Yea when you dampen them they break up into a fine dust. But because you watered them its not dusty. It is great for stretching bedding out. I have 6 bags in Nasty Brats stall and they last me about a month. 6 bags = $30. So that is $360 a year roughly for bedding. You can remove poop without removing bedding. Then you remove the urine clump.
Mind you NB is a princess to the extreme. She does everything in one corner and nothing mixes. So I remove one small corner daily.
Dampening them creates a soft bed for them. There are people in our stall that don't damp them and just pour the bags in their stalls then they will mix a bit of shavings in. This works for geldings and messy horses because as they walk on them and pee/poop is breaks them up.
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