Recently I have been looking at bedding materials, as there is now a vast range on offer.
Rocky tends to be quite wet, so choosing the correct bedding for him was my priority.
I wanted absorbency, ease of use, cost effective, muck heap kept to a minimum, storage and something which didn’t stick to the horse or rugs when they roll. Well I believe all the above is on the wanted list for most horse owners!
I asked a few people, posted questions to our facebook page, used our twitter page, I made enquiries via emails and phone calls. Finally after sifting through the responses, it seemed there was a bedding which is made of wood pellets, something you don’t always associate with horses, but it had great reviews, “ticked all the boxes” and the bonus point, it was local too!
On the 22nd November the new bedding was delivered, the lady who supplies the bedding, Deborah Goldsworthy, is based in Stockbridge, Hants. Debbie brought 12 bags, yes bags not bales as we horse owners are used to, in the back of her truck, and when she opened up the truck, my initial reaction was “that’s nowhere near enough”, well let’s just say for now, I was very wrong!
The bags weigh just 15kg and are simple to work with, easy to transport, something which bales are not, and don’t require much storage space.
I had emptied a stable, so we had a bare floor, which Debbie proceeded to place 10 bags on the floor and slit them open, but didn’t empty them, “strange I thought, why not just tip them out?” Well here is where the magic happens, the bags are then coated in water and left, we used approx 80 gallons of water, split between all 10 bags.
Here is a picture of the bags laid out:
The “magic” is quite mesmerising, the pellets, which look like sugar beet, break down, which swells up and it almost resembles popcorn, it starts to literally climb out the bags!
After an hour, yes a fair while to begin, it is all broken down, has created a “sand like” appearance, and is ready to make a bed out of.
You treat this part just like you would any other bedding, banks, bed etc. I always use banks, so the 10 bags were perfect.
Here is what the new bed looked like:
You can use this bedding on any surface, so if you use rubber matting, this can be extremely useful, equally, you could just deep litter it, top it with a surface of your choice, or use it on its own as I do.
As with any new product, I am always sceptical until I have used it myself, so the following morning I went to muck out with trepidation, what would I find? Well, it is fairly safe to say, I was not expecting what I found!
The bed was hardly disturbed, for Rocky, that was a miracle, the droppings were all kept intact, and the wet spots were easy to see and remove. I usually got approx 2 barrows of muck out his stable, which includes sweepings up.
This was the end result of mucking him out after mucking the other stable out which is underneath! :
As you can see, the result is no bedding wasted, the droppings sifted out, a bit of wet and a very happy me!!
If you are worried about using the pellets thinking your horse will eat them, thinking they are nuts, don’t be, as when they have been soaked, as you see from the other picture, they break right down, and continue to do so, and as Rocky is only a baby and eats everything, he is testament to that!
Also if the soaking time is an issue for you, the initial set up may be time consuming, but the end result is well worth it, if you don't have time to soak the bag when you need to add more (which I haven't as yet), you can place an unsoaked bag underneath your original bed. Or you can leave the bag soaking all day and add to the bed before bringing in at night.
I have now used the bedding for 5 days, and can only praise this bedding, I can’t see me changing back to any other type.
One final point, I did a complete muck out, to see what underneath was looking like, I have to admit, I have never seen such a dry floor! The biggest plus side, I am not sure how this happens but on putting the bed back down, there was so much excess that I had enough spare to lay a new bed in the stable next door! Now you wouldn't get that with other bedding! So for the cost of the initial set up I have 2 stables now bedded down with 5* Bedding. £65.00 for 2 stables is my kind of cost efficiancy :)
Should you wish to have a look at the website for this bedding, here is the link: http://www.fivestarbedding.co.uk/
Debbie who delivered it has a facebook page, click here to go to it: http://www.facebook.com/#!/ConserveAnimalBedding?fref=ts
Oh and by the way, for those of you who have cats, it also makes fantastic cat litter!!!