Sawdust bedding OK? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Sawdust bedding OK?

Iím looking for your thoughts and opinions about sawdust being used for bedding material. I chose sawdust for Oliver and Havens 11x16 stalls mostly because of availability and cost. The sawmill located 7 miles away loads my 6x8x3 trailer with coarse sawdust(mostly pine) for only $25 per load.
The sawdust is stored outside at the sawmill so it comes to us slightly damp, not wet, with little dust. Of course it does dry out when placed in the stalls.
I tried pine shavings, but didnít really care for the difficulty sifting it when cleaning. It also proved to be expensive. The large stud and equestrian center just up the road from us uses bagged sawdust and say they get good results.
Should I be looking at a different bedding material? Iíll add that our farm is at the base of the Smokies in East Tennessee so the horses are in pasture for a good bit of the time.
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 01:52 PM
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I think there are certain kinds of sawdust that can cause concerns, like walnut. If yours is a mixture, be sure what is in that mixture and research for use on horses. My boarding barn uses pine sawdust and has for years with no issue.
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post #3 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 01:54 PM
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As long as your sawmill not process anything with black walnut...
Any form of walnut is a no-no to me as is oak woods.

Pine, Spruce, and Douglas Fir are the only species of shavings that are guaranteed safe for horses.
Cedar can be used, but it is not recommended.
Some horses are allergic to cedar so caution if you use and watch carefully for reaction...good as cedar smells...
Sometimes a savings of a few $ is no savings if a vet call stemming from that savings is needed.

There are several "grinds" to shavings...
I despise large flakes but use the medium grind as it is a mix of shavings, thin & small and bigger pieces of "dust" combined it makes my stalls fluffy and dry.
Shavings bought are dried so very absorbent and processed so less dust factor = better breathing in a barn free of hanging dust in the air with every step the horse takes.
If I had a choice between a fine mix or large....fine is where I would go as exactly what you mention of ease of sorting manure from bedding material and better absorbency is what makes my stalls the way I keep them...dry.

Some places do large bags of pine shavings that are "clean" with no garbage, wood chunks, or metal pieces tossed in the bin .
They bag and sell as animal bedding, promising only pine shavings...
By me there is a company that bags and sells for $5 a bag large enough to do your stall nicely bedded.
Look around, check your local Craigslist {Farm & Garden section} for people/businesses advertising animal bedding of pine shavings.
Also check different stores as bales come different sizes = coverage amounts.

Then there are companies who sell loose shavings, but again, space and place to store large amount and some loads can be very dusty and some not...but all are guaranteed safe for horses to be bedded in.
...
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 02:02 PM
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You need to be absolutely certain there is no walnut in the shavings, and that the sawdust doesn't contain shards of metal, sawdust from treated wood, etc. I found sawdust too....dusty... in the few months I used it when I couldn't get shavings. The wind blew it constantly and my horses both developed coughs.
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post #5 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverMaple View Post
You need to be absolutely certain there is no walnut in the shavings, and that the sawdust doesn't contain shards of metal, sawdust from treated wood, etc. I found sawdust too....dusty... in the few months I used it when I couldn't get shavings. The wind blew it constantly and my horses both developed coughs.
So are pine shavings safe? That is all that I have found for bedding near me, but I will not use it if I'm not sure it is safe... TIA!
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post #6 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 03:09 PM
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I just had this conversation with my dad a few weeks ago. There's a couple private barns in Indiana that I know use the larger grain Pine/Fir sawdust, and I was asking him about it because I only really see shavings around here (suburbs of a major city). He worked on a Western show ranch for about 10 years when he was younger, and said they exclusively used shavings from the local mill.

It doesn't seem to be an altogether uncommon practice, but like the others have said you need to make sure it's quality sawdust and doesn't have anything in it that will bother the horses - which it sounds like you're doing because you're here asking! He told me that they avoided Walnut as it was "bad for the horses' feet", but I did not know that horses could be allergic to Cedar as horselovinguy mentioned above.
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post #7 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 03:23 PM
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We also use damp pine sawdust and have for years with no problem. The BO gets it by the dump truck load! Another great option are wood pellets--
https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/pr...-bedding-40-lb The barn where my other horse is boarded uses these and it works just fine.
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post #8 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 03:30 PM
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Depending on the sawdust it can be awfully dusty. I used it one summer and the stuff coated my barn in dust i personally won't use sawdust way to dusty. I can get quality shavings by the trailer full for 30$ a load. I have a 11X10 stall i can access with truck & trailer to unload shavings into,can put 4 big trailer loads in stall.
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post #9 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 03:30 PM
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The local equine vet has shredded paper, looks like BIG confetti, as bedding in her stalls. I was really surprised! She gets it from a local industrial paper shredding business.



Also, not to highjack the thread... but why not walnut? (I don't have a barn with stalls, and I use cedar shavings when I do need something like that). I could google it, but y'know.
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post #10 of 21 Old 03-19-2019, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
The local equine vet has shredded paper, looks like BIG confetti, as bedding in her stalls. I was really surprised! She gets it from a local industrial paper shredding business.



Also, not to highjack the thread... but why not walnut? (I don't have a barn with stalls, and I use cedar shavings when I do need something like that). I could google it, but y'know.
Because blackwalnut causes laminitis if horse's are bedded on it.
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