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IrishWillow
Mar. 24, 2009, 10:39 AM
I've always heard that straw is the best bedding for foaling out, but its really hard to find around here for some reason (any ideas)?

What is the best bedding for foaling / what do you guys use?

Kat

fish
Mar. 24, 2009, 10:50 AM
I've always heard that straw is the best bedding for foaling out, but its really hard to find around here for some reason (any ideas)?

What is the best bedding for foaling / what do you guys use?

Kat

The big flake ultra-dry Suncoast shavings are very good and actually preferred over straw at Va. Tech and other vets schools (e.g., I've been told Cornell). My mare had a high risk pregnancy (placentitis) last year, so I foaled her out at Va. Tech and learned this there. The shavings are very clean-- they say cleaner than straw-- wonderfully absorbent, and have none of the dust which makes ordinary shavings a poor choice.

Equine Reproduction
Mar. 24, 2009, 11:02 AM
I've always heard that straw is the best bedding for foaling out, but its really hard to find around here for some reason (any ideas)?

Use hay. Shavings can and do harbor psuedomonas, sticks to wet foals, gets in eyes, and most importantly, can be dusty. So, if you end up with a batch of dusty shavings with psuedomonas, you could end up with some really nasty problems with your neonate. Stick with straw or hay.

FWIW, I KNOW that there are many breeders that have successfully bedded and foaled on shavings with no issues. However, the intent is to minimize risks. I've foaled out literally 100's of mares and rarely have a problem. But, I attribute much of that to doing everything possible to make sure things "do" go right. We foal on straw. We dip navels with chlorhexidine. We run IgG tests on every foal. We vaccinate at least 30 days prior to foaling. We attend every foaling. And so on. Would everything go okay without doing all of the above? Probably most of the time. But things aren't a problem until they ARE a problem. Good luck!

Kathy St.Martin
To subscribe to our Newsletters, go to:
http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?p=oi&m=1102379037302

ise@ssl
Mar. 24, 2009, 11:10 AM
I'm one of those breeders that uses shavings because we cannot get good straw around here and the mold/mildew in straw is a concern. We do bed the stall deeply with HAY over the straw - wall to wall. The mare grazes it down and we add more. We do only use kiln dried shavings.

I suppose if you have good straw sources you can use straw but we don't.

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 24, 2009, 11:11 AM
I prefer to use timothy, or other grass hay over straw. I learned to do this almost 30 years ago, from the manager of Buckland Farm. He bedded on Timothy, and "hayed" with alfalfa.

Daydream Believer
Mar. 24, 2009, 01:26 PM
Straw...and I won't compromise unless I have to. My babies stay on straw also even after foaling. I have a week old client foal that I was forced to move to shavings as we were dealing with a colicky mare...vet suspected she was eating bedding but now we know it is ulcers... Anyway, this poor baby has shavings in his eyes, nose, ears and stuck all over him after laying down. How that can be comfortable for a young foal I have no idea but straw makes a nice clean and warm nest for foals and it doesn't stick to them and is not irritating.

IrishWillow
Mar. 24, 2009, 01:31 PM
Do you just buy it at your feed store? I cannot find plain straw anywhere!


North Texas / Dallas area.. if anyone has any grand ideas!

horsetales
Mar. 24, 2009, 01:41 PM
What about a posting in the hay forum for straw/foaling bedding wanted. Most of our hay guys around here carry both straw and hay. Straw is easy to come by here, so I've never considered bedding foaling stalls with anything else

ponygirl
Mar. 24, 2009, 01:52 PM
Due to not being able to get straw here one year, I bedded on coastal hay.

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 24, 2009, 02:05 PM
Hay is usually more expensive than straw, but with less waste, it more than makes up for it.

Signature
Mar. 24, 2009, 02:53 PM
We normally use straw but we had a foal come yesterday 3.5 weeks early and quite unannounced, so we used some orchard grass hay we had left in the loft, and it actually works quite well!! Mom even has plenty to eat once she runs out of alfalfa :)

ljshorses
Mar. 24, 2009, 03:58 PM
We disinfect foaling stalls prior to foaling and use Woody Pet (autoclaved wood pellets individually bagged over rubber mats (disnifected) and then straw on top. I would use cheep dust free hay if I couldn't get straw. Love the pellts underneath, help with absorbing liquids and help with foal standing since they are broken down well before foal arrives. We also use the diluted iodine for navels and have always (many, many years). We tried chlorihexidine one year and it was the only year we had a problem with a navel (actually two with problems, luckily they ended up okay) so I am sticking with the iodine since I never had a problem with that. It may have just been a coincidence but since I have had good luck with the diluted iodine I plan to continue with that.

bludejavu
Mar. 24, 2009, 04:05 PM
Do you just buy it at your feed store? I cannot find plain straw anywhere!


North Texas / Dallas area.. if anyone has any grand ideas!

You can buy straw bales from plant nurseries and landscapers - just make sure it is fresh and clean (no moldy or old straw).

I've used wheat straw and oat straw (HATE cleaning straw bedded stalls LOL). With a few unexpected early births, we've had just sawdust down and it worked okay. We don't use shavings in our normal stalls - we use medium grade sawdust. I have found my best foaling combination to be a light layer of sawdust, with a thick layer of straw on top. This combo is highly absorbent.

crtrak
Mar. 24, 2009, 08:17 PM
We've quit using straw - and now just use fresh bermuda grass hay. It's cleaner and the momma's love it... they can eat no matter WHERE they're standing over the foal. I find it easier to clean too.

KnRponies
Mar. 24, 2009, 10:19 PM
Has anyone tried the Streufex (cleaned straw-pellet) bedding? I am considering using that with straw over top of it. The Streufex is not supposed to be dusty like the wood pellet products. It just became available locally.

Slewdledo
Mar. 24, 2009, 10:55 PM
We prefer oat hay but it's been a bit difficult to find this year. We also like to put a solid base of pellets underneath (but we foal out lots of mares so we need to keep the stalls dry from Jan-May!)

Laurierace
Mar. 24, 2009, 11:06 PM
Has anyone tried the Streufex (cleaned straw-pellet) bedding? I am considering using that with straw over top of it. The Streufex is not supposed to be dusty like the wood pellet products. It just became available locally.

Horrible stuff. Its the dustiest stuff I have ever seen. They had it years ago in the receiving barn at Laurel. By the time you came back from the race to cool out your water bucket had a layer of scum on the top. Its totally disgusting crap.

Equine Reproduction
Mar. 24, 2009, 11:28 PM
Horrible stuff. Its the dustiest stuff I have ever seen. They had it years ago in the receiving barn at Laurel. By the time you came back from the race to cool out your water bucket had a layer of scum on the top. Its totally disgusting crap.

I think you're holding back here. Tell us what you REALLY think of the stuff <LOL>!!

Kathy St.Martin
To subscribe to our Newsletters, go to:
http://visitor.constantcontact.com/email.jsp?p=oi&m=1102379037302

ise@ssl
Mar. 25, 2009, 07:34 AM
ljshorses - Why are you disinfecting the stall before foaling? The mare has built up antibodies to whatever is in that stall - by disinfecting you may be changing the situation and allowing some new "bug" to grow?

bludejavu
Mar. 25, 2009, 10:44 AM
I realize your comment was directed at the poster who mentioned that they disinfect, but I wanted to give you my answer as well. We also disinfect for a very important reason - bacteria. Antibodies are well and good to ward off many infectious strains, but they don't combat everything. Although we have had a few foals born outside, if we decide to let a mare foal in a stall, we prefer to eliminate as much bacteria as possible. I think if you consult many vets, you find it is pretty much the standard as rubber mats or continuously used stall dirt floors can harbor a lot of bacteria. If you've ever seen a crop of foals with Rotavirus, you might start believing in disinfecting as much as possible. I'm a firm believer in an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - particularly when it comes to foal diarrhea LOL.

Here's a great guide for anyone interested in knowing the best way to disinfect a foaling stall: http://equisearch.com/horses_care/health/breeding/foalingstall_012507/

Fairview Horse Center
Mar. 25, 2009, 12:09 PM
When you disinfect anything, you not only kill off the bad bacteria, but you kill off the good ones too. You upset the natural balance, and can give opportinity to the bad ones to have a "free for all".

The only time I have ever had a problem with foal after foal getting sick, was when I managed a farm that DID insist on disinfecting. After the 5th foal in a row needed fluids, the vet told me to take some of the diarrhea from a sick foal's stall, and place it into the stalls of the mares still due to foal. No more sick foals.

The previous manager said they often had sick foals, but I almost never have a sick foal. In about 100 foalings when I did not disinfect a stall, we have had probably 3 or 4 that we have EVER needed a vet on, illness or injury, for the entire suckling period.

ljshorses
Mar. 25, 2009, 12:14 PM
ljshorses - Why are you disinfecting the stall before foaling? The mare has built up antibodies to whatever is in that stall - by disinfecting you may be changing the situation and allowing some new "bug" to grow?

We disinfect the foaling stalls which mares have not been in since last foaling season (not stalls they normally are housed in). They are disinfected then the mare is kept in there at least 2 weeks prior to foaling so she can build up any antibodies as needed. This is done once early spring since foaling stalls were not used for foaling all year. All mares are allowed a good 2 weeks or more in the stall before foaling.

ljshorses
Mar. 25, 2009, 12:17 PM
When you disinfect anything, you not only kill off the bad bacteria, but you kill off the good ones too. You upset the natural balance, and can give opportinity to the bad ones to have a "free for all".

The only time I have ever had a problem with foal after foal getting sick, was when I managed a farm that DID insist on disinfecting. After the 5th foal in a row needed fluids, the vet told me to take some of the diarrhea from a sick foal's stall, and place it into the stalls of the mares still due to foal. No more sick foals.

The previous manager said they often had sick foals, but I almost never have a sick foal. In about 100 foalings when I did not disinfect a stall, we have had probably 3 or 4 that we have EVER needed a vet on, illness or injury, for the entire suckling period.

Lucky you. We have also been very lucky using this protocol for many years. If it ain't broke I ain't fixing it, lol. But seriously, this is the best way when using mats over dirt floors as another poster said. Maybe you have a different flooring?

ise@ssl
Mar. 25, 2009, 12:33 PM
It does take a horse 30 days to build up antibodies. We've been breeding for 23 years and every neo-nate Vet we know told us to leave the stall as it is after the mare is moved into it. I agree with Darlyn, you may be killing some of the bacteria but you won't be killing all of it and the mare isn't being given a chance to build up antibodies.

That's the reason you give vaccinations no sooner than 30 days before foaling or later than 60 days.

bludejavu
Mar. 25, 2009, 12:52 PM
Probably this all boils down to what your personal experiences are. However, in 18+ years of breeding babies, we've only had rotavirus once and it came from a university vet clinic where I had to carry a baby and new mom to because of foal impaction problems. He brought it home with him unfortunately. However, I will continue to disinfect because I believe it is the best thing to do, it is vet advised by more than one of our vets, and I have seen no negative results of any sort from it. One thing that might differ with our farm is occasionally we've brought home very pregnant mares from sales that don't have an opportunity to really settle into a foaling stall before birthing. We don't do it often but it does happen.

However, I probably wont be needing to worry about any of the above as we are pretty much shut down as a breeding operation until economic conditions improve (if they ever improve in my lifetime). I miss spring foals this year very much.

CrossWinds81
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:34 PM
Do you just buy it at your feed store? I cannot find plain straw anywhere!


North Texas / Dallas area.. if anyone has any grand ideas!

Just use the coastal hay to bed with. Make sure the bales are free of mold. That way she can snack when she wants to as well. :)

CrossWinds81
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:46 PM
Has anyone tried the Streufex (cleaned straw-pellet) bedding? I am considering using that with straw over top of it. The Streufex is not supposed to be dusty like the wood pellet products. It just became available locally.

Stay FAR FAR AWAY from Streufex!!!

I did a lot of respiratory therapy on thoroughbreds last year at the Palm Meadows TB Training Center where they, get this, REQUIRED the use of Streufex for bedding (meaning the facility received profits from both bedding and rental of its barns/stalls) and they were strict about it...ie fines. Well the horses were just miserable bedded on the stuff. I treated at least 3 or 4 horses that year that had gotten lung infections with deep lesions in their lungs due to their reaction to it...no bueno, my friends. It was incredibly dusty and if you drove into the facility with a clean car you would drive out in a dust covered car 2 hrs later...it is literally that bad. That was last year, this year they no longer make it mandatory, thankfully!...case in point...DO NOT bed with Streufex!

ljshorses
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:49 PM
It does take a horse 30 days to build up antibodies. We've been breeding for 23 years and every neo-nate Vet we know told us to leave the stall as it is after the mare is moved into it. I agree with Darlyn, you may be killing some of the bacteria but you won't be killing all of it and the mare isn't being given a chance to build up antibodies.

That's the reason you give vaccinations no sooner than 30 days before foaling or later than 60 days.

We do leave it as is after the mare is moved into it. And as I said, they are in it a MINIMUM of 2 weeks (that happens if they foal earlier than expected). The first mares in there are given at least 4 weeks (4 weeks at least from due date, some mares go before due date since there isn't ever a true due date for horses), the stall isn't disinfected after that initial move from first mares, so i.e. subsequent mares coming into foaling stall do not have it done for them individually. This is a 1 time disinfection starting the foaling season in stalls not previously occupied by mares. So if you can see, that means the 2nd mare and so on has moved into the stall several weeks after the initial disinfecting. We have been breeding awhile as well. Just saying this has been our protocol and has worked fine. Our vet agrees with it as well and she is a repro vet with lots of experience. These mares are also vaccinated 30 days out from due date. Sometimes you need to disinfect due to certain circumstances and in our case, mats over dirt, it was recommended to do this many years ago. Sometimes there is more than one right way and in our case this is the right way. This has kept our foals healthy.

prissy'smom
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:55 PM
Moved to North Texas from the West Coast several years ago and was stunned at the quality of straw and difficulty in finding it here. Hay USA in Weatherford brings in all kinds of hay and straw and last year I was able to find beautiful clean straw that had been brought in from CA. It was pricey but worth it. They might be a litttle bit far from you but give them a call. Also might try DL Farm Supply near Aubrey/Pilot Point as they are used to dealing with all of the large horse farms in the area.

ljshorses
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:57 PM
I think nice, clean, fluffy straw keeps them warm as well. I love seeing them snuggled into a deep bed of straw. Wish it was easier to get though. We have been pretty lucky but I hear next year that our suppliers may not grow any, so that will be a shame.

Laurierace
Mar. 25, 2009, 02:58 PM
Stay FAR FAR AWAY from Streufex!!!

I did a lot of respiratory therapy on thoroughbreds last year at the Palm Meadows TB Training Center where they, get this, REQUIRED the use of Streufex for bedding (meaning the facility received profits from both bedding and rental of its barns/stalls) and they were strict about it...ie fines. Well the horses were just miserable bedded on the stuff. I treated at least 3 or 4 horses that year that had gotten lung infections with deep lesions in their lungs due to their reaction to it...no bueno, my friends. It was incredibly dusty and if you drove into the facility with a clean car you would drive out in a dust covered car 2 hrs later...it is literally that bad. That was last year, this year they no longer make it mandatory, thankfully!...case in point...DO NOT bed with Streufex!

I already told them that, but its nice to have backup!

ise@ssl
Mar. 25, 2009, 06:49 PM
But lets be honest ladies - STRAW DOES NOT ABSORB URINE. We have rubber mats in our stalls and when we did try some straw the foals COULD NOT GET UP if there was pee underneath the straw. And it certainly doesn't absorb the amniotic fluid when the mare's water breaks - it just leaks through the straw to whatever is underneather it. YUK.

We will stay with bedding hay over shavings.

ljshorses
Mar. 25, 2009, 10:24 PM
But lets be honest ladies - STRAW DOES NOT ABSORB URINE. We have rubber mats in our stalls and when we did try some straw the foals COULD NOT GET UP if there was pee underneath the straw. And it certainly doesn't absorb the amniotic fluid when the mare's water breaks - it just leaks through the straw to whatever is underneather it. YUK.

We will stay with bedding hay over shavings.

Thats why we put a layer of Woody Pet underneath and honestly, it works great. Absorbs urine fantastic and babies easily get to their feet. Great stuff. Layering is easy (and easy to clean stall) and stall is warm and cozy yet clean and dry, love it, been using it for years.

florida foxhunter
Mar. 26, 2009, 10:10 PM
I disinfect the stall, put a light coat of shavings in and wheat straw on top. However, I only add the wheat straw when the milk test indicates foaling is imminent because I, too, hate cleaning it. I have mats underneath and when I used to ONLY use the straw, there was little absorbancy for urine, etc........thus I put the small amount of shavings on the bottom. I go back to straight shavings within three days post foaling because it's so much easier for me to keep clean!

P>S> It sounds like straw is inexpensive every where except Ocala........I bought some while I was there at HTS this winter to be sure I had it and paid $16 per bale (stupid me)....then came home and a hay suplier told me he had some for $4 per bale! Hopefully there is a difference, haha..........the $16 bales are very clean and heavy for sure!

mackwan
Nov. 24, 2010, 03:04 AM
The choice of bedding is steeped in as much tradition as saddlery. Every horseperson has his preference. Some like the smell of sweet cedar shavings, some the traditional look of a deep straw bed, while others prefer the softness and absorbency of peat moss. But which bedding is really best for your horses?

mackwan
Nov. 24, 2010, 03:04 AM
The choice of bedding is steeped in as much tradition as saddlery. Every horseperson has his preference. Some like the smell of sweet cedar shavings, some the traditional look of a deep straw bed, while others prefer the softness and absorbency of peat moss. But which bedding is really best for you.

alliekat
Nov. 24, 2010, 07:25 AM
We bed our stalls with shavings and a layers of straw over them for when we bring mom and baby in, but foal our mares out in a small paddock. My mares live out 24/7 and don't seem as happy being locked in the stall. So far this has worked out well for us.

camohn
Nov. 24, 2010, 08:16 AM
I've always heard that straw is the best bedding for foaling out, but its really hard to find around here for some reason (any ideas)?

What is the best bedding for foaling / what do you guys use?

Kat

Depends on you floor a bit. Our barn is an old cow barn. It has concrete floors. So, we have down rubbermats. Rubber mats are slippery when wet. Pee and birthing fluid get a stall real wet. Straw is not very absorbant. Plus we can't get good clean straw here either. So we use shavings. Shavings are not great for little noses though. So for foaling I put down shavings and then spread hay over the top for more softness/absorbancy. Mom can nibble at it and it does double duty mopping up liquid/is soft.

Daydream Believer
Nov. 24, 2010, 09:57 AM
I have dirt floors so I use straw for foaling as well as bedding foals. I much prefer it as it's a cleaner less dusty bed than shavings or sawdust. There are also less pathogens in straw so it's truly "healthier" for a foal as long as you can control any ammonia fumes from urine. I use a good stall deodorant like Stall Dry and if necessary a few wood pellets in the wet spot.

Truly, the best thing is just to keep the foals outside as much as you can...it's much healthier than stalling them anyway.

Jewels09
Nov. 24, 2010, 11:47 AM
if your stalls are slippery with straw then you don't have enough bedding. Regardless of what you use many barns don't use nearly enough bedding for foaling out

E D
Nov. 24, 2010, 04:06 PM
I gave up on straw a long time ago. When I could find it, it was more expensive than hay. I use coastal hay, readily available in Central Texas. I bed with clean shavings and cover one half of my double foaling stall with coastal hay. The mare likes having the constant supply of hay and baby is warm and dry. I only keep hay bedding in the stall for about a week.

I also gave up on disinfecting the stalls. It made me feel good to do it and the barn was nice and clean after a good power wash, but I did notice more foal scours, etc. when I had powerwashed. Now I do it when I have the babies are older and the barn can dry out in the heat of the summer.

camohn
Nov. 24, 2010, 04:20 PM
I have dirt floors so I use straw for foaling as well as bedding foals. I much prefer it as it's a cleaner less dusty bed than shavings or sawdust. There are also less pathogens in straw so it's truly "healthier" for a foal as long as you can control any ammonia fumes from urine. I use a good stall deodorant like Stall Dry and if necessary a few wood pellets in the wet spot.

Truly, the best thing is just to keep the foals outside as much as you can...it's much healthier than stalling them anyway.

we also have a small paddock off the barn the mares go in in nice weather. Thing is....so far they have rarely cooperated in foaling in nice weather. Mine wait til a good storm to foal and then they are in! (The worst foaling story though is the mare that foaled on the manure pile. The barn paddock attaches to therunway to the big field...and the manure pile is on that runway/hidden behind out garage. Dang very overdue mare was out in the paddock while I was cleaning her stall for the evening. Gate to manure pile was left open as I was coming and going with the wheelbarrow. Dratted mare couldn't even lay down in the clean and grassy paddock. nooooooo. She had to walk out to the maure pile, flop down and proceed to start foaling. I tried to get her up but I couldn't get her up and the baby was coming. Sigh. There is a kid that got *dragged* onto the grass the second she was out. Momma could not have picked a germier place to foal.....)

Equine Reproduction
Nov. 24, 2010, 10:57 PM
A retrospective study of the 1997 foaling season by USDA found that of 7,320 foals reported born alive during 1997 on 1,043 operations, 120 foals were reported to have died (by either euthanasia or natural causes) within the first 2 days of a live birth. That's a weighted estimate of mortality of about 1.7%.

There were several operation-level factors that were associated with increased odds of a foal dying within the first 2 days of live birth. Among those factors was using a bedding other than straw or hay.

Hope this helps.

EquusMagnificus
Nov. 25, 2010, 07:53 AM
There were several operation-level factors that were associated with increased odds of a foal dying within the first 2 days of live birth. Among those factors was using a bedding other than straw or hay.


Or grass I suppose... A clean grassy paddock when the weather is nice is, IMO, the best solution. No risks of getting cast in the stall, baby gets up easily in the grass... Or do I live in Lala Land?

Fairview Horse Center
Nov. 25, 2010, 09:26 AM
Or grass I suppose... A clean grassy paddock when the weather is nice is, IMO, the best solution. No risks of getting cast in the stall, baby gets up easily in the grass... Or do I live in Lala Land?

You are abslutely correct, but since we can't control the weather, make sure you are ready with a foaling stall.

It is also much harder to monitor a mare at night if she is out in a paddock. Grass gets eaten down pretty fast to a dust bowl unless it is larger, then impossible to light for a camera, or listening monitor.

EquusMagnificus
Nov. 25, 2010, 02:31 PM
You are abslutely correct, but since we can't control the weather, make sure you are ready with a foaling stall.

It is also much harder to monitor a mare at night if she is out in a paddock. Grass gets eaten down pretty fast to a dust bowl unless it is larger, then impossible to light for a camera, or listening monitor.

Yes, which is exactly what I do. Stall for the night with a camera, grassy paddock for the day in front of my office window. Best of both worlds! :) It really does help to provide lots of hay to save the grass.