Equine Animal bedding options
When we talk about bedding for horses, it becomes a misconception that they need a soft and comfortable bed similar to human beings. Of course, not. They just need bedding which will absorb the wetness of urine and moisture. However, there are other considerations like:
- How big is the stall and how to store the bedding
- How cost effective it is
- Managing the waste disposal
- The space available for the stall
- Any dust allergies that the horse is subjected to
- The following are some detailed research on the bedding types available for the stalls Straw: These beds are made from stems of wheat, oats, barley and rye.They are very inexpensive and have a history of their own. Their main drawback is that these beds do not absorb moisture and are very moldy. Horses will definitely have an allergy towards this type of material. One big concern is that straw bedding can become a continuous feed for the horses and the horses might skip their routine feed. Nevertheless, they have an effective disposal system towards mushroom farming.
- Wood shavings: Shavings or chips or dust of pine trees are used as a good equine bedding material. Their aroma lends themselves to an unanimous decision. These materials absorb moisture and have a tendency not to form molds. They are free from allergies and definitely are a good choice for horse bedding. Go in for pine but seriously not for oak, red maple or black walnut. They pose chronic health problems. These wood shavings or dust and chips are too cumbersome to dispose. They do not decompose and pose problems to the environment.
- Shredded paper: It is quite common to choose shredded paper from unused paper. More so, because of its decomposition, absorption and dust free characteristics. It is available usually as bags or as bales and is an ideal storage material. The only downside is that it is not easily available.
- Peat Moss: The most convenient and soft bedding your horse can ever get. They are the natural and conventional form of bedding that have been available for a long time. Other than the dark color which usually is a little too bold to look at and the drier it gets as time passes, there are no real disadvantages using peat moss as your horse’s bedding. It is a very good absorbent and usually is unsurpassed in its ability to absorb odors, especially, Ammonia which gets build up in due course.
- Hemp: Hemp is a plant natural material from the Cannabis variety which is known for its fiber. Hemp absorbs moisture, and traps all unwanted smells of ammonia. It is a biodegradable product and has a high salvage property. It is most suited for all weather conditions, especially, keeping the horses warm during winter. It is something that horses would chew on and you can be at peace not having to worry about that criteria.
- Wood Pellets: These wood pellets are made from wood which are kiln-dried and saw dust. They would absorb moisture and odour and expand to saw dust if exposed to moisture. Mucking is easier as they are pellets. Alder wood is preferred to pine and deciduous trees because of its easy break ability and composting nature.
- Rubber Mats: These are gaining in popularity in recent times. They are an one time investment bedding which are easy to muck out. They can become a little too expensive because of rubber, but as mentioned earlier, they are just one time investment and the other costs like replacing the bedding, stall cleaning convenience, less storage space for waste are all reduced.
- Alternate available bedding: Rice hulls, pelleted straw, wheat by-products, shredded phone books, and shredded cardboard. There is another new product produced from cotton and okra plants, known by the name Kenaf. This Kenaf is ground and the resulting product is highly versatile. It is highly absorbent; composts well and a non-allergic bedding material.
Reviewing these gives the owner of a horse plenty of ideas to consider before choosing one that is right for him and the horse.
There is no one- size- fits –all solution in this. The bedding of the horses depend on each horse, its nature, allergic reactions to its surroundings and the composting done finally. You can divert the wastes accumulating from the bedding to the pastures, which only increases the carbon.
In conclusion, the choice of a good animal bedding rests entirely on the owner and how informed he or she is with regard to the options available.
A happy equine. A contented Owner.