There's nothing better than a clean, deeply bedded stall. But what do you bed it with, and why? Here are some of the most common choices in bedding, and their benefits.
Wood shavings are a popular choice. They are pretty absorbent, provide a good amount of cushion, and can be easy to clean. Bigger flakes offer more cushion, but are harder to pick through. Small flakes, sometimes known as "swift pick shavings", can be a real time saver as they are easy to scoop and sift.
Sawdust is mostly sold in bulk, and can be very economical. It is highly absorbent, however it can be considerably dusty. If choosing sawdust, be sure your barn is well ventilated. It is not advised for horses with breathing problems. Misting sawdust with water can help minimize dust.
Pelleted bedding is a newer option, but has great features. It is the most absorbent of all bedding types. It is very easy to clean, and many have compared cleaning a pellet bedding stall to scooping kitty litter! Pelleted bedding can be made from wood, corn cob, recycled newspaper, or other byproducts. It typically requires water to be added to break down the pellets. Monitor your horse carefully, as some are known to nibble at pelleted bedding.
A deeply bedded in straw stall is beautiful and traditional. It has maximum cushioning, but the pricing can vary a lot based on where you live. Straw is a less absorbent bedding, and some people will put shavings under it to help with absorption. Straw can take some skill to learn to clean. Straw is a great insulator and is perfect to add warmth.
Peat moss can be a good choice, but is not available in all areas. It can be an expensive bedding, but is also the most absorbent bedding available. When kept well misted with water, peat moss has minimal dust - great for horses with breathing problems. Peat moss is dark in color, and that color can stain the coat of lighter colored horses.
In any bedding with wood (sawdust, shavings, pellets), it is HIGHLY IMPORTANT to avoid the following wood types!
Avoid the above wood types. Pine is a common, safe choice that is readily available. If you buy bedding in bulk, be sure to ask what wood types are used.
This is the most common bedding types, but there are other options available depending on where you live in the world. Hopefully this gives you a good idea of the considerations of each bedding.
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