Horse Bedding and Pet Bedding
There are so many options for bedding these days that you need to weigh-up the pros and cons of them all. Do you have time for a full muck out or do you prefer to deep litter? Have you space for a large muck heap or do you need something that produces little waste and rots down quickly? How much storage space do you have?
A straw bed
Probably straw is the cheapest and easiest to handle of all the beddings available. It rots away quickly; the ultimate bio-degradable bedding and most farmers will remove a muck heap from horses stabled on straw, especially if you are careful to keep out strings and other debris. Mucking out fully is quick and easy once you get going with a straw bed. However it can sometimes contain dust and fungal spores, which can trouble certain horses and indeed certain owners. Also, straw is edible and some horses like to eat their beds, which can result in a balloon-like horse in the mornings.
Bedding with shavings
Shavings are often dust extracted. They come in wrapped bales so storage is not an issue. They take longer to rot away than straw, which may be a consideration for some people. Shavings beds can be mucked out fully each day or deep-littered. These days there are even different size flakes. With small flakes the droppings sometimes become buried when the horse moves round in the stable. This happens less with larger flakes.
Wood grain bedding
Similar looking to rice or grains of cereal, it’s dust-free, absorbent and is best deep littered. Although heavier to work with than shavings it forms a very stable bed that does not move around much underfoot. Droppings stay on the surface where you can find them.
Wood pellets horse bedding
These are very popular. Initially water in a new bed of pellets to activate them. They are best deep littered, only removing the wet patches once or twice a week. It is not necessary to water in additional pellets when you top up an existing bed. The bags are small, so storage is not an issue and the bags are very easily carried. Very little is removed from the bed so your muck heap will be much smaller.
Hemp and Rape horse bedding
Finely chopped rape or hemp makes extremely absorbent and dust free bedding. The start up cost is fairly expensive but economical to use once established. The new bed is watered in to activate it. Droppings are lifted daily but the wet patches are lifted just once or twice a week. They form a stable base with plenty of give. Little is removed so your muck heap is small. It rots down quickly to form a fabulous compost which is ideal for gardens.