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ThirdCharm
Dec. 2, 2009, 08:14 AM
So, how close are the instructions on the bags of pellets to reality? For instance Equine Pine says use six bags to start, add about one bag a week, and strip every FOUR MONTHS? Seriously? If that is right then they will be just as economical as bagged shavings.....

So I'm experimenting with the pelleted bedding, put six bags in the stall of the gelding who DESTROYS his stall on a daily basis. Misted with water and stirred as per directions. It's been a week and I reckon I'll add a bag today. Still looks great, though!

Jennifer

GoForAGallop
Dec. 2, 2009, 08:19 AM
JUST AS ECONOMICAL?? :lol:


They are WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY more economical than shavings. Shavings would suck away my horse budget in a second, especially with my two messy guys. They still go through more pellets than my one neat horse, but it still takes them a week to destroy the stall as opposed to overnight!

Personally, I don't mist my pellets...my guys break them down fast enough. They last longer that way anyway.

Jsalem
Dec. 2, 2009, 08:20 AM
This has been my experience:
Stalls look great at first and are super easy to clean. After several weeks, however, the one bag per week deal doesn't cut it. You'll have to get used to seeing dark brown stalls. You'll be tempted to put in 3 bags at once to freshen up the stall.

Really neat horses do fine with the pelleted bedding. Piggy horses are a nightmare. If you have a big barn, it works for some and not for others.

Just my experience.....

Zu Zu
Dec. 2, 2009, 08:40 AM
I love the wood pellets ~ never :eek:thought I would !!! I put them on the bottom and in wet spots and then top with shavings ~ took me a while to figure out the "perfect mixture" for each of my horses and ponies - some just on wood pellets.

IFG
Dec. 2, 2009, 08:50 AM
I use Woody Pet because it seems to have more deodorant properties. I don't mist either. I add a bag about every 5-7 days depending on the weather. He is in an in/out situation, so if the weather is bad, he choses to stay in more, and the stall is more trashed.

Love the pellets!

ThirdCharm
Dec. 2, 2009, 09:54 AM
So many different outcomes it seems!

Yeah JSalem I'm concerned about the appearance aspect.... I HOPE it keeps looking good, but if it is going to look icky, even if it is dry and fluffy and fine from the horse's POV, my DH will veto their use (although, since this horse has to have a bag of shavings added daily, maybe it is still more economical to add more and keep it looking good!)

I'm planning on doing another "trashy" horse's stall with them, and one of our "super neat" horses, just to see how they compare.....

Jennifer

Chief2
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:04 AM
At first I followed the bag instructions: loaded the stall, and added weekly. Pre-loading the stall proved to be unnecessary. We use two bags of Equine Fresh weekly during the winter, and one in the summer when the horses are mostly out 24/7 but come in to eat. We use Sweet Pdz on the wet spots on the mat, and rake the bedding over the spots. With daily cleaning and PDZ application, totally mucking out the stalls occurs only once a year, when I pull out the mats and clean them. Otherwise, we just clean and powder as we go, and all works out well.

tuppysmom
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:13 AM
We have used pine stove pellets for about 5 years now. I have tried about every combination and or way of using them. With and without shavings,water,mats, you name it.

Messy horse, or one who is inside most of the time. I start with 2 bags. I lay the bags on their sides and slit open, add water to fluff. I can add another bag in a day or two and as needed after. I remove wet spots daily which keeps the pellets a lighter color with more eye appeal. Even adding a bag every 5 days saves over shavings.

Neat horse, or one who is outside most of the time. I start with 3 bags and remove all wet spots at each cleaning. I may have to add a bag every 7 to 10 days.

Too many bags at the beginning leads to the stall getting that dark icky look. It is very dry here and old pellets can get dusty. I prefer to keep the pellets fresher looking by adding a wetted bag a bit more often.

If a stall gets real dry and dusty I just spray it down and stir. The fluff will soak up a lot of water without feeling wet to the touch.

It is still a big savings over shavings.

MistyBlue
Dec. 2, 2009, 10:24 AM
With really serious stall pigs, bed deeper. I have one gelding who's somewhere between neat and average in his stall and one who pay Lord Of The Dance all night long I think. :sigh:
I bed on pellets, pretty deep. I have 10x12 stalls and do sweep back the bedding in the front 2' so there isn't bedding under the dunking buckets/hay nets...that just ruins bedding anyways. The rest of the stall I keep the bedding between 8-10" deep. I add bedding at a bag per every 6-8 days depending. (shorter time if they've been in more often due to bad weather)

The neater horse's bedding pretty much lasts forever. His stall is pale colored dry bedding all the time. Even after months and months. And I only add 2 bags per month to his stall! The piggy guy's stall a little darker in color, but the deeper I keep it the lighter in color and less messy it gets. Apparently it's harder to shred poop balls and churn up pee spots when you're almost knee deep in bedding, LOL!
Here are pelleted bedding tips I've tweaked over the years and these work great for me:
1) Cleaning is easier to do in terms of removing only wet pee spots and manure and not throwing out good bedding because it sifts very easily. However, do not just race through the stall cleaning because it does need to be sifted and/or turned all over the stall. It's tempting to go right for the dirty spots and remove them and go to the next stall, but make sure to turn the rest of the bedding quick and then always recycle the edges against the walls back over the center. This allow the least used pellets to help out the most used pellets in drying back out again.
2) Buy yourself a fine tined basket fork. Does a better job scooping and sifting with pelleted bedding. It's heavier to use than a flat fork because pelleted bedding is heavier than shavings and yoou can pick up a hella lot more in a basket fork. If it's to heavy when you scoop oout huge forkfuls at first, don't fill the fork before lifting and sifting. Over a couple weeks you get used to the weight and it's no big deal. You also get nice definition in your arms. :winkgrin:
3) For really piggy horses you will need to strip and restart every 3-4 months most likely. If enough poop is ground up too tiny to be sifted out then over time it does discolor the bedding and makes the bedding absorb less.
4) Always bed deep with pellets. Doesn't have to be super deep with neater horses but don't be tempted to bed lightly. Pellets work with each other, they don't work well if skimpy. It's like clumping cat litter...urine in shallow bedding can pool and spread soaking a lot more bedding before it clumps. In deeper bedding the urine spots stay smaller and contained and easier to find and remove in one big chunk. Easiest way to remove urine spots is to sweep bedding off the top of the dark soaked spot, use the fork to remove clean bedding from around the side of it and then scoop out the dark clumped spot all at once.
5) Pelleted bedding is made to work best on mats. Using mats prolongs the life of the bedding.

I haven't stripped my neater horse's stall in over a year. It's white, fluffy, dry and smells brand new. My stall slob gets his stall 'stripped' every 4-5 months or so, although I rarely strip his bare but will remove about 2/3 of it and then add a few new bags. But I do make sure to clean his stall well every day and on days he's in that stall gets picked out 3x per day or else it just goes to hell in a much shorter time. If the horses are going to be for the day due to weather and the slob's bedding isn't very fresh and white already I'll add a bag just to keep the bedding from getting ruined. If it gets too deep I bank some.
I save a serious amount of money with pellets. I like deep deep stalls and if I did that on shavings it would cost me a bloody fortune. I go through on average 5-6 bags of bedding per month for the two of them. 5 in warm months when they're out longer and 6 in winter when they come in earlier. To keep the stalls the same depth and as fresh and new as I like them would take at least 3 bags of shavings pr stall per week. Probably more than that.

cyndi
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:54 PM
I have been using pelleted bedding for more than ten years and I would use it even if were more expensive than shavings. So much easier to clean and REALLY get the wet spots out. . I love how the pelleted bedding 'clumps' when it is wet and you can just take the wet spots out. I hate shavings - so wasteful and so hard ot get the wet spots out and separate good from bad bedding. I complain mightily when I go to shows and have to deal with shavings.

I use probably 6 bags to 'start' a stall, but add less than one bag a week to the 'neat' ones, and probably 1 bag a week to the 'messy' mare who is a pee machine. Mine are in at night.

As far as stall stripping - I NEVER strip my stalls. The other thing I LOVE about the pelleted bedding. I have mats or maybe I could not get away with that.

If you want perfect white bedding, you won't like the pellets. But I learned that DAMPNESS/ODOR is the true barometer of a clean stall, not the color of the bedding. ;)

When someone has a really damp stall, I put a whole bag in without any water and mix it in. That really dries it up.

Normally I slit the bag open, dump in wheelbarrow and add water and then let sit while I do other chores. I use TerrAmiga. I've used Woody Pet, but can't see much difference and just buy what my feed store carries.

MunchkinsMom
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:56 PM
I love the wood pellets ~ never :eek:thought I would !!! I put them on the bottom and in wet spots and then top with shavings ~ took me a while to figure out the "perfect mixture" for each of my horses and ponies - some just on wood pellets.

I use the "combo" also, pellets in the wet spots, topped with fine shavings. I only take out the wet spots once a week, by then the pellets are all clumped together, and I get a good upper body workout. The rest of the week I only remove manure. My stalls are deeply bedded now, because I remove almost no shavings.

I use one bag of pellets and one bag of shavings per stall per horse per week. Cost her is about $30.00 per week (or $10 per horse per week). Much easier, cleaner and cheaper than shavings alone.

shawneeAcres
Dec. 2, 2009, 01:59 PM
I use 2 - 3 bags in a stall to start with, then usually one bag er week (except a few hogs!). I cannot IMAGINE putting in six bags! when that stuff expands it REALLy expands! My stalls are 10 x 12

hoser1
Dec. 2, 2009, 02:04 PM
I tried pellets (both Woody Pet and Equine Fresh) for a couple of seasons a while ago and just was not happy with it as bedding. My complaint was DUST - unless I misted daily the dust was really bad. I tried wetting the pellets first as well as not wetting them at all, and still wound up with the dust coating everything. I switched back to shavings and have been using Guardian Swift Pick bagged shavings (very fine shavings) for quite a while which is the best solution I have found - though still not perfect. Everyone raves about pellets but I just couldn't jump on board with it - was I doing something wrong?

MistyBlue
Dec. 2, 2009, 02:37 PM
I cannot IMAGINE putting in six bags! when that stuff expands it REALLy expands! My stalls are 10 x 12

LOL...imagine opening the stall door and having the horse look *up* at the bedding. :lol: :eek: :winkgrin:
I use the WP so the bags are only 30#. My feed store carries one kind of generic type pellet that just doesn't neutralize odor very well nor does it "clump" well so I stick with the WP. They did carry another kind for a short while that was great, and 40# for the same price as the 30# of WP but they don't carry it anymore and I think it was nameless because I don't remember a name on the bag.
I start a stall with 5-6 bags for the slob and 4-5 for the neat guy. However I don't soak my pellets first. I spread them on the mats in the stall until they're an even carpet of them and then I either use the hose with a sprayer on it or a watering can and lightly mist the top layer of pellets. Then turn them with the fork and let them fluff on their own. That way they only break down about 25-30% or so and the rest are regular pellets so I don't fluff the whole stall at once. My horses might disappear, LOL! That way they activate as needed and the rest doesn't dry out into talc-like powder.

Hoser, sometimes it might be a climate thing. I know some folks have a tough time with pellets getting way too dusty if they live in a very dry climate too. I wouldn't think VA is that dry though. The edges of my stalls can get powdery a bit if I'm not mixing the edges in daily though. Pellets are easier to clean messes out of but a little more work in managing the texture of them.
I do like really fine shavings though. At least those have a purpose and will soak stuff up. Large cut shavings are useless, they just look huge and fluffy and appease the humans looking at them. But they pck down under the weight of the horse and provide little support or cushion and they don't absorb a darned thing. When my feed store carried shredded shavings I'd buy a bag for each stall to top off the pellets with and the mix was nice. But pellets don't mix well with big shavings and my store only carries the big and medium shavings now. :no:

whoapony
Dec. 2, 2009, 06:52 PM
I've been toying w/ the idea of trying the pellets as well. My ponies are currently on a sawdust/fine shaving mix. Do I need to strip the stalls & start fresh w/ all pellets or can I add the pellets to the current bedding - gradually increasing the pellet to sawdust ratio? Also has anyone used the corncob pellets or compressed straw pellets? How do they compare as far as effectiveness & cost?

S1969
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:03 AM
I definitely agree that each barn/horse/stall will be a bit different depending on your horse, climate, how long they are in their stalls, etc.

I agree that dust is the primary problem but in my case it is because my horses have free access to their stalls as run-ins and at this time of year they NEVER go in. I could continue to wet the pellets down daily but it seems a useless exercise. So my stalls are dry and dusty.

However, in the summer heat and winter wind, they get used much more and I have to handle them differently. In summer I have to work harder to keep them dry between the humidity and horses standing in them all day.

And my mare is perfect; only pees in one corner. The two geldings I had this summer were pigs and would flood their stalls once a day.

A little trial and error will go a long way in deciding how best to bed each stall. But in the end you will have a smaller manure pile and (hopefully) easier stalls to clean which is a great thing.

tle
Dec. 3, 2009, 11:22 AM
A little trial and error will go a long way in deciding how best to bed each stall. But in the end you will have a smaller manure pile and (hopefully) easier stalls to clean which is a great thing.

Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

I've always used shavings at the various barns I've been at. Have been following this thread with interest as we look to having our own barn within 2 years AND knowing that we want to be able to compost/use as much "waste" material as possible.

chai
Dec. 3, 2009, 11:47 AM
This is a great thread. I am going to try this in one stall because shavings are becoming so expensive and one of my horses goes through a bag a day.

I recently wrote an article about bedding and one of the other tips someone gave me was to make sure you are buying pelleted bedding for animal use, not just stove pellets. Some stove pellets are treated with accelerants and some are a mix of soft and hard woods so you can't be sure about the type of wood you're putting in the stall.
Thanks to everyone for all the helpful information. I can't wait to see how the pellets work for my big horse.

Lieslot
Dec. 3, 2009, 11:54 AM
Streufex user here (pelleted straw)
Averaging 3 bags a week top up per horse. And needed 8 to 9 bags to get sterted can't remember precisely. (12x14 stalls)
I do not wet the bedding anymore, only use dry, it was becoming a sticky clumpy mess & smelly, plus borderline causing smelly feet when wetted.
I use 1/3 to 1/2 bag of Dry Stall a week.

I don't find it all that economical, but the respiratory-problem horse does well on it.

Does help keeping muckheap down vs woodshavings.

My local supplier Agway is closing down, anyone knows where to get Streufex in Hunterdon region, let me know...

MunchkinsMom
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:45 PM
Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

I've always used shavings at the various barns I've been at. Have been following this thread with interest as we look to having our own barn within 2 years AND knowing that we want to be able to compost/use as much "waste" material as possible.

I don't have a compost pile, so I cannot confirm. However, I did want to share the results of one of my experiments here on the farm (I have posted this on another thread).

What I do is put the wet clumped up pellets into my Newer Spreader. Then I spread it in stripes in the pasture. I was curious to see if it would help or hurt the grass. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stripes where the pellets were spread were growing thicker and greener than the none-spread stripes. I guess it has to do with the urea in the waste, and perhaps my grass needed it. Also, within a week or so, there is no sign of the sawdust in the field, just nice green grass.

IFG
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:50 PM
Pelleted bedding breaks down very fast. I have only one horse. We live near wet lands, so I cannot have a pile. What we do (and yes, we are crazy) is put the manure in trash barrels, and haul it to a friend who is composting. It is amazing, stuff in the barrels for three weeks is almost all broken down. He has some great loam.

AnotherRound
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:52 PM
MistyBlue:

and then I either use the hose

Heh heh. It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose. It does this whenever its told. Heh heh heh.

BuddyRoo
Dec. 3, 2009, 12:56 PM
I always just took the bags, laid them on the ground flat, slit a cut in the front of the bag and either filled with water via hose or added about 1/2 bucket of water. Let soak 10 min or so, then dump & fluff.

I always removed the urine...never left it like the bag says.

I honestly did not have to strip really ever--I did it maybe twice a year? But it really wasn't necessary unless for some reason, stalls didn't get cleaned correctly.

I had 14 x 14 stalls...used 5 bags to start. Added a bag as needed...usually once a week. I pulled the shavings away from the wall--no need to bed that really--and 5 bags was more than sufficient.

VarsityHero4
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:46 PM
Streufex user here (pelleted straw)
Averaging 3 bags a week top up per horse. And needed 8 to 9 bags to get sterted can't remember precisely. (12x14 stalls)
I do not wet the bedding anymore, only use dry, it was becoming a sticky clumpy mess & smelly, plus borderline causing smelly feet when wetted.
I use 1/3 to 1/2 bag of Dry Stall a week.

I don't find it all that economical, but the respiratory-problem horse does well on it.

Does help keeping muckheap down vs woodshavings.

My local supplier Agway is closing down, anyone knows where to get Streufex in Hunterdon region, let me know...

I'm in Upper Bucks County and my feed store does deliver in your area if you buy a larger amount (I think 25 bags or more), it's called KT Saddlery and Kim is super to work with. Streu-fex is not meant to be misted so that's probably why you were getting gross stuff :-)

Lieslot
Dec. 3, 2009, 03:53 PM
VarsityHero4, thanks for that, I'll check out KT saddlery, would be great if I can keep my one guy on the Streufex.

Streu-fex is not meant to be misted so that's probably why you were getting gross stuff :-)
Really, I didn't realize that when I started with it, was wetting it and soon it uhm 'stank'. Since putting it in dry, it's much cleaner & fresher smelling :cool:.

VarsityHero4
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:03 PM
Really, I didn't realize that when I started with it, was wetting it and soon it uhm 'stank'. Since putting it in dry, it's much cleaner & fresher smelling :cool:.

The lavender is a nice touch isn't it? :cool:

crazy gray horse
Dec. 3, 2009, 08:34 PM
I started using them in the pony's stall because he'd push his hay all over the place. But once the hay mixed in with the shavings, he wouldn't eat it. I don't have that problem with the pellets. So I really started using them for a completely different reason :winkgrin:

.

shea'smom
Dec. 5, 2009, 07:54 PM
Am I the only one disturbed that Another Round is quoting a serial killer?
I just switched my whole barn, 22 stalls to pellets. I was worried that it would cost too much. I think I am getting the hang of it. 2 bags do a 12/10 matted stall. I can add one or two bags then a week. I an hoping that there will be some build up over time.
I love that I can bed the entire barn in 20 minutes. I can also empty my speader every other day. If my workers could get used to cleaning the stalls, it should save me in labor, but not so far.

MunchkinsMom
Dec. 5, 2009, 11:53 PM
Am I the only one disturbed that Another Round is quoting a serial killer?


Well, now that you pointed it out. . . I was scratching my head trying to figure out what that was all about actually. Now that I know, yes, that is a bit creepy :D.

MistyBlue
Dec. 6, 2009, 06:36 AM
AR and I were recently discussing the series finale of Monk that was on Friday and that the person who plays Stottlemeyer on there was the same actor who payed the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs. :winkgrin: So at least the quote wasn't totally random...she's just poking fun at me for quoting the same thing to her just recently. :lol:
Shea'sMom...you should have a lot less waste to remove using pellets. My manure pile breaks down at about the same rate I toss stuff onto it. Makes managing the manure pile much easier and faster if you compost.

shea'smom
Dec. 6, 2009, 08:31 AM
Misty Blue, thanks for you advice, the earlier post too. It was helpful. I do find myself getting more tired with this bedding! I am also cleaning more stalls myself because I am leery of the workers throwing too much away! It isn't saving the time it should yet, I hope that will come.

LauraKY
Dec. 6, 2009, 08:57 AM
At first I followed the bag instructions: loaded the stall, and added weekly. Pre-loading the stall proved to be unnecessary. We use two bags of Equine Fresh weekly during the winter, and one in the summer when the horses are mostly out 24/7 but come in to eat. We use Sweet Pdz on the wet spots on the mat, and rake the bedding over the spots. With daily cleaning and PDZ application, totally mucking out the stalls occurs only once a year, when I pull out the mats and clean them. Otherwise, we just clean and powder as we go, and all works out well.

That's exactly what I do. In the summer, I use much less in pellets, but a lot more PDZ. Some horses get one bag, some two. In the winter, depending on how messy the horse is and their age I will use anywhere from 3 to 5. Still use a little PDZ. Also, use one of the fine tined mucked forks to get all the manure out. It's the broken down manure that makes the shavings "dark".

Rivendellhorses
Dec. 6, 2009, 12:08 PM
We use Guardian brand pellets. I have a 4 stall barn, and 4 run-in shed/stalls that are bedded on it. I have 9 horses and your average mix of neat freaks and pigs. lol.

The stalls very very rarely get stripped. I clean them out every day (manure and pee...i think it's kinda gross to leave anything in there, so i don't), and as it lessons out, i pull the old stuff to the back of the stall and add the new stuff in the front, so that stays cleaner longer. I start out with 3 to 4 bags of pellets, used to let it sit in the bag, but in the winter that was a pain, so i open and spread it out and then mist them when filling up the water buckets.

The manure pile is much better than when we used wood shavings (4 horses had it filled in 3 months...now it takes my 9 to fill it in 3 months, and that is with cleaning the outside paddocks into it as well.)

I <3 them. :)

shawneeAcres
Dec. 6, 2009, 07:34 PM
Am I the only one disturbed that Another Round is quoting a serial killer?
I just switched my whole barn, 22 stalls to pellets. I was worried that it would cost too much. I think I am getting the hang of it. 2 bags do a 12/10 matted stall. I can add one or two bags then a week. I an hoping that there will be some build up over time.
I love that I can bed the entire barn in 20 minutes. I can also empty my speader every other day. If my workers could get used to cleaning the stalls, it should save me in labor, but not so far.

You are using it exactly as I am. My stalls are 12 x 10 matted and I use 2 bags per stall and add 1 -2 per week depending on the horse. I don't "build up" as it turns a dark color over time as bits of manure get worked in (inevitable, no matter how much you pick), I find I take out 1 - 2 bags worth over the course of a week, so I jsut replace. I find I don't need more than that, if you put in more it becomes hard to clean. You will get FAST using this stuff, I can do 8 stalls in about 40 minutes or less. It is great for spreading too (which is what we do). I have used pelleted for several years now and HATE IT when I have to use shavings (sometimes they run out or if I am at a show I buy shavings). As I do layovers for people going to and from Florida, I do put a bag of shavings over top of the pelletted bedding when they come in.

ThirdCharm
Dec. 7, 2009, 09:43 AM
Where do you get the fine-tined forks? Anyone got a link?

Jennifer

subk
Dec. 7, 2009, 10:46 PM
Fine tine fork with basket. http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-27451&ids=761403227 I got mine at my local Tractor Supply. I thought I would hate it. It took a couple weeks to get used to and now it's great.

http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=X1-27451&ids=761403227

tle, amazing compost.

LauraKY
Dec. 8, 2009, 12:36 PM
Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

I've always used shavings at the various barns I've been at. Have been following this thread with interest as we look to having our own barn within 2 years AND knowing that we want to be able to compost/use as much "waste" material as possible.


I can confirm that. We use both and pile over the winter to compost. When my very grateful gardener friends come to pick up their compost in the spring, the pellets are completely composted, the shavings are well on their way, but not completely composted. The pellets (because you take a lot less out) also take up about half the space in the manure pile.

Just discovered the bag trick thanks to COTH. We had been spreading them out, then misting. Now we lay them on their sides, cut an x and spray with water. They're nice and soft about 20 minutes later. I'll be using them all winter this year since I discovered that trick, using hot water to fluff them up.

When it got really cold in years past, I switched to shavings because the pellets would freeze (on the stall floor) before they had a chance to fluff up.

CatOnLap
Dec. 8, 2009, 12:42 PM
yup, soaking them in the bag with hot water really works.Thanks for that trick! I put mine in the wheelbarrow, cut a slit in the top of the bag, put in about a half bucket of hot water, cleaned the barn and then the pellets were ready to spread- just dumped a bag in each stall. So far, I started with 2 bag in 12 x 12 stalls on rubber matts, and added the third bag a couple of days later and haven't added any more in the last 2 days. It may yet work out until we can get back to bulk delivery of shavings. My piggy mare's stall is a lot better than with shavings tho- the pellets really soak up the pee so she can't spread it around as she walks. I may keep using pellets for her even though they are nearly twice the cost of bulk shavings.

JER
Dec. 9, 2009, 12:11 AM
Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

Yes.

We use pine pellets in our stalls but we don't bed deep or really bed at all. We just put a pile in the center of the stall (we have rubber-matted floors). Our stalls have attached 60' runs as well.

Our manure pile is almost all manure. Much neater than with shavings and much less bedding waste.

But here's the one big problem with pine pellets: I'm terribly allergic to pine! I get serious eczema around my eyes if I have any contact with it. To clean stalls, I have to wear a long hooded plastic mac, goggles over my eyes and a scarf over my mouth.

We are looking for an alternative but would like to stay with pellets. Anyone know of any non-pine pelleted bedding?

TrueColours
Dec. 9, 2009, 06:33 AM
Eco Straw - pelleted STRAW bedding

http://www.angelfire.com/on3/TrueColoursFarm/EcoStraw.html

ChocoMare
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:24 AM
Thanks to this thread, I've made the switch.

I was finally able to lay down mats in my one mare's stall (14 X 16) and bought the pellets. Since I was just starting, I opened the bags into muck tubs and added water. Mr. C'Mare got quite the chuckle at watching it "grow!" :lol:

I concentrated the deep pile in the middle and have just been picking piles and clumps of pee, while mixing the rest in very well. It's staying soft and dry and I'm loving the smaller deposit to haul out to the pile.

thatmoody
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:31 AM
TrueColors, I'd love to try the ecostraw - wish we could get it set up in the US. I bed with straw, and always put injured or sick horses on it, but I use pelleted bedding for the healthy ones. Right now I'm only doing the one stall, but the pellets are prohibitively expensive as it's a 16x16 stall and a VERY messy horse!

I like the $$$ of straw, but don't like the disposal problems - my manure pile just from the single stall is depressing.

MistyBlue
Dec. 9, 2009, 08:08 AM
The smaller loads to the manure pile is definitely a bonus. :yes: My wheelbarrow when full is 95% manure balls and 5% wet clumped bedding. It looks funny when full because it looks like someone just filled it with brown balls, there isn't any visible bedding. Which makes my manure pile break down *fast.* I've had the same manure pile for almost 6 years, it hasn't changed in size really. There's hardly any bedding to break down so it composts fast. Eventually I'll have it taken away, the greenhouses around here love manure from pelleted bedding because when it composts there isn't any bedding in it.

JER
Dec. 9, 2009, 11:36 AM
Eco Straw - pelleted STRAW bedding

Oh wow. Happiness on the horizon. :)

But where do I get this in BC? The website just has Ontario and I know the provinces can be weird about stuff like this.

SaddleFitterVA
Dec. 9, 2009, 02:53 PM
I posted this on the pelleted bedding thread on Horse Care too...

The horses stayed in last night...and are in again today, it is saturated outside, so it needs some time to drain...

My hair looked frosted (with dust) when I came in from cleaning the barn this morning. The fine, pelleted bedding dust was FOUL. It stinks, it is nasty, and I get terribly annoyed at having to hose down the stalls all.the.time.

But, it does make cleaning exceedingly fast. I might mix in small shavings though. This is just hideous.

They are easy to move around in bags, but a PITA to wet down, PITA to KEEP wetted down, and that fine dust permeates everything.

Oh, and I strip and pressure wash the entire barn a couple of times a year. I cannot imagine how disgusting the barn would be w/out that with the dust level this stuff puts out.

Oh, I tried Streufex and used it for a while, until the person I was getting it from quit using it and selling it, and the price at the feed store is a solid $2/bag higher than the other pelleted bedding choices.

If Streufex were comparable in cost, I would use it again. It has the same dust problems as the other pelleted bedding choices. Of course, they are ALL too dusty for me, but I think I have slightly skewed standards and hate hosing down stalls to attempt to keep dust to a tolerable level.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 9, 2009, 06:56 PM
OK, I am intrigued after reading this thread...my one attempt with pelleted bedding some years ago was awful...the dust was terrible and I hated them. Now I'm out of my bulk shavings and I have to say that dealing with bulk deliveries is a PITA...and I'm not sure as wet as it is that I can get a big truck in here anytime soon. I pay about $400 for a huge load of bulk shavings. It lasts me 2-3 months for anywhere from 7 to 10 horses. Would the pellets likely cost less than that? I do not have mats and they are not an option right now.

I really would like to try the Ecostraw but have no idea of any sources close by. I do compost all my manure also so something that breaks down faster would be welcome.

shea'smom
Dec. 9, 2009, 07:14 PM
I finds that the pellets work ok without mats. They are actually good for some messy horses.
My problem is that it is taking too long to do the stalls. With not having to add any bedding and not having to empty the spreader every day, I should be saving time, but we are not.
I was counting on a little less labor to offset the cost, but that is not happening.
The pellets are more expensive, but NO waste, I like that. No covering up sawdust with tarps and having them blow off.
If I can just get the stalls done faster, I'd be happy with the pellets.

florida foxhunter
Dec. 13, 2009, 10:16 PM
I was going to ask a related question on this thread regarding immediate spreading of straw vs. pine pelleted stall waste, but think I'll start a new thread....rather than change this one too much.;

Freebird!
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:06 PM
My experiance with Pelleted bedding: Last year when I first started working at Shady Creek, we used pelleted bedding. Mainly because we do not have an area to store loose shavings. After getting the hang of cleaning the stalls - we were and still are VERY religious about getting all the urine and poo out of the stalls daily - they weren't so bad. They KEY is to get a pitch fork with the tines close together. Otherwise it is next to impossible to properly clean a pelleted stall.

However, we found that hosing the stalls down was a pain, and with a messy horse, it wasn't very economical at ALL. Plus, even wetted down, they never got as fluffy as shavings or straw. The bag may say "Dust Free" but we found they were FAR from being "Dust Free"

Now we use compressed shavings in a bag. They are fluffy, easy to store, easy to clean, and have way less dust then the pellets did. Plus, it is MUCH cheaper. The only draw back to the compressed bagged shavings is they don't soak up bad pee spots as well as the pellets did. Our solution: We use a mixture of Pellets (we actually get the kind used for wood burning stoves - cheaper the Equine Pine!) and Kitty Litter. Of course now our Barn Manager/Owner is known as the Crazy Cat Lady at our local Wal'Mart.....

dmalbone
Dec. 13, 2009, 11:39 PM
Our solution: We use a mixture of Pellets (we actually get the kind used for wood burning stoves - cheaper the Equine Pine!) and Kitty Litter. Of course now our Barn Manager/Owner is known as the Crazy Cat Lady at our local Wal'Mart.....

Yikes... Are you talking about clumping litter? Doesn't the kitty litter get ridiculously heavy?

Freebird!
Dec. 14, 2009, 12:25 AM
Nope just regular old cheap kitty litter - which also happens to be the main ingredient in StallDry.

barrelchick00
Dec. 14, 2009, 01:26 AM
Our barn made the switch to pellets last winter due to a sawdust shortage in our area. I am sold. My mare is a messy stall keeper and it does great for her. I usually add a bag a week sometimes two during the winter and a bag every other week during the summer. It also helps with horses that get thrush easily. I would never go back to sawdust if you paid me.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 14, 2009, 09:30 AM
We decided to conduct a test here as I ran out of bulk shavings and I was curious to see if a change of bedding might help. We have some bagged fine shavings..(more like a coarse sawdust versus shavings) and we got some Guardian pellets. We are using the bagged in some stalls and the pellets in others. We are keeping track of how much we are using also.

So far both are easier to pick out than the bulk shavings. The pellets are doing very well for our wet horses. Our stir and mix mare is very easy to muck on the fine bagged shavings. Dunno how this will end up but we'll choose one or the other and try it for a while. Both are more absorbent than our bulk shavings and some of that might be dryness. The shavings are usually quite green. So far dust is not bad but it has been very wet and humid here also.

I really wish I could easy get Struefex or the Straw pellets but they are not available locally.

FairWeather
Dec. 15, 2009, 03:02 PM
I don't understand wetting the pellets down--doesn't that defeat the purpose?

I use pelleted because they are SO much easier to clean, and create half the waste in the manure pile. But, I don't pick up the wet spots until they are actually wet (the pee breaks down the pellets and makes it fluffier), and I put shavings around the outside of the stall and pull in as needed for extra 'fluff' or when I want some nice pine smell.

Mine aren't super dusty, either.

LoriO
Dec. 15, 2009, 03:44 PM
I can see wetting the pellets so that they break apart when starting from scratch in an empty stall to make a nice bedding but once that is done you shouldn't need to keep wet the bags after that. I just add the pellets as needed to the stall and they break apart on their own from the horse walking on them or just from getting damp from pee or other moisture.

I started using pellets last year when I switched to a self-care barn and they are so much easier to use then shavings and so much less wasteful, especially with my messy mare!

Freebird!
Dec. 16, 2009, 06:46 PM
I can see wetting the pellets so that they break apart when starting from scratch in an empty stall to make a nice bedding but once that is done you shouldn't need to keep wet the bags after that. I just add the pellets as needed to the stall and they break apart on their own from the horse walking on them or just from getting damp from pee or other moisture.

I started using pellets last year when I switched to a self-care barn and they are so much easier to use then shavings and so much less wasteful, especially with my messy mare!


Yup, that's what we did. Unfortunaty, it cost about $50 :eek: to prepare a stall from scratch - like when a stall had to be totally stripped. So, even though a bag of pellets and a bag of compressed shaving cost teh same per bag, the pellets ended up being MUCH more pricier for us. We love the compressed bagged shaving. :)

CatOnLap
Dec. 16, 2009, 07:50 PM
ok so I am on week 2- started with 3 bags, added a 4th after 2 days, added a 5th on Sunday and needed the 6th today, so for a month I am thinking we will need 10 bags for each stall- that is $60. almost twice the cost of bulk shavings and 50% more than bagged shavings.
I do like the nice thick pad of sawdust that develops and it absorbs really well, but that's quite a steep increase in price.

dmalbone
Dec. 16, 2009, 08:08 PM
ok so I am on week 2- started with 3 bags, added a 4th after 2 days, added a 5th on Sunday and needed the 6th today, so for a month I am thinking we will need 10 bags for each stall- that is $60. almost twice the cost of bulk shavings and 50% more than bagged shavings.
I do like the nice thick pad of sawdust that develops and it absorbs really well, but that's quite a steep increase in price.

I don't think I've heard of people using that much... Plus, in that $60 month you are counting your initial setup, which you won't be doing every month. It's not common with pellets to strip every month. Regardless, it sounds like maybe you needed more to begin with and the urine was maybe spreading too much instead of pooling in one spot, which might be why you were going through more.

dmalbone
Dec. 16, 2009, 08:10 PM
Yup, that's what we did. Unfortunaty, it cost about $50 :eek: to prepare a stall from scratch - like when a stall had to be totally stripped. So, even though a bag of pellets and a bag of compressed shaving cost teh same per bag, the pellets ended up being MUCH more pricier for us. We love the compressed bagged shaving. :)

How are the pellets much pricier? I'm not understanding your price comparisons. Not being a jerk... really trying to learn about them. They're priced the same, but it's common to not use as much pellets as sawdust to maintain the stall, aside from the initial setup.

CatOnLap
Dec. 16, 2009, 08:24 PM
I don't think I've heard of people using that much... Plus, in that $60 month you are counting your initial setup, which you won't be doing every month. It's not common with pellets to strip every month. Regardless, it sounds like maybe you needed more to begin with and the urine was maybe spreading too much instead of pooling in one spot, which might be why you were going through more.
__________________

could well be, I am totally new at this and just trying to find some middle ground in the advice given here.

But to answer your suppositions, yes I was counting the initial set up. Yes I really should have needed 4 bags to set up- that became apparent after the first couple of days.

Urine was not spreading- pee spots in both horses' stalls were much smaller and easier to clean than previously and have remained a similar size with the addition of each new bag of pellets. The bed is not getting any thicker after the first week- I am just keeping it the same thickness. My messy mare is not messy anymore, as she isn't treading the pee spot all over the stall with the pellets.

I am only replacing what I pull out- wet spots- and that takes a bag of pellets about every 3 days.

We use one large bag of shavings per week, which costs about $9 and looks like we'll be using 2 bags of pellets minimum per week, which is $12, even without the set up costs, which for 4 bags are $24.

The bulk shavings when available are local, and the bagged shavings and pellets have to be trucked across the mountains and ocean. I think that is why they are so much more.

ThirdCharm
Dec. 16, 2009, 08:47 PM
Okay I'm at about three weeks in.... I initially did the six bags ($36 at TSC) of Equine Pine, misted them lightly to get them broken apart.... put in another bag after a week (misted), and just put in the eighth bag after 2 1/2 weeks.... stall looks great (darker than shavings, but dry and fluffy), easy to clean the way the wet spots clump up instead of being tromped all over the place and the bedding sifts so easily so you don't take perfectly good bedding out. Takes me eight minutes to completely clean the stall and sweep back from the doorway/water buckets.

So if it holds steady and I can put in a bag a week, even if I do have to strip it every four months, it will be cheaper than putting in three or four bags of shavings per week..... and it looks less trashed when it is dirty, and is easier to clean.....

Jennifer

hb
Dec. 16, 2009, 11:33 PM
My horses are out 24/7 now but when my one was stalled I used pellets. There were two brands - one was pine and the other was, I think, fir. The pine were 40 cents a bag more expensive but a much "fresher" color, the other had a duller color and looked dingier so I used the pine. It was faster to clean the stalls than with shavings, and I picked out manure and wet spots every day. Not sure why someone was saying it takes longer to clean with pellets? I put in about a bag a week, or even a little less often. Composted great. Didn't have a dust problem but I live in the PNW so it's usually just plain damp around here.

Now I use the pine pellets for cat litter. I've got three indoor cats and wanted to use a litter that composts rather than dragging the dirty clay litter to the dump. The Feline Pine litter is just smaller pellets and costs about a buck a pound! I use stall pellets, put a couple of scoops in a 2 gallon bucket, fluff with water, and it lasts about a week for the cats.

Obi
Dec. 17, 2009, 12:06 AM
Just a suggestion here. I use pelleted bedding on my guy with cushings (oh the urine, erhg). I keep an eye on sales at Tractor Supply and when it goes on sale for $4.99 a bag, I purchase a pallet, get another 10% off for the pallet price and then slap it on lay away. It stores easier and last longer. I use roughly 4-5 bags to start a new stall (with mats of course) and add as needed, 1 to maybe 2 bags a week if necessary. My other horse is on bagged shavings, which because he does not 'do his business in his stall, allows me to save tons of money on bedding. I could not afford shaving on my old guy and had to go with pelleted bedding even though he has the beginnings of COPD. Yes, they are dustier but he is only in his stall at night for less than 8 hours so it is worth the trade off.

FairWeather
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:00 AM
Pellets, ur doin it rong! ;) :lol:

You shouldn't need to add pellets until all the pellets you originally put in are gone, or unless your horse pees a LOT.

I put in two bags to start a stall, then a bag of bagged shavings around the side of the stall, by morning they are fluffed up and happy.
I pull out ONLY the poop for the first few days, and just mix in the wet spots. (Really, the wet spot barely exists--it's just a spot of fluffy, slightly damp bedding).
I then rake un-poofed pellets into the area where they pee.

When I start seeing an actual WET wetspot, I pull that out and add another bag. This takes about a week to get to this point with a somewhat clean horse.

You shouldn't need to add so many bags a week, because you shouldn't be pulling so much out. Wet spots should be one small (only about 6" for my horses) spot, and the manure doesn't carry any bedding with it.

15 bags of pellets and 5 bags of compressed shavings last me about 6 weeks!

CatOnLap
Dec. 17, 2009, 01:04 PM
Pellets, ur doin it rong!

hmmm. I take out about 3 forkfuls of wet sawdust each day. Wet, not dripping, but not fluffy either. it is concentrated in one spot where the horses pee and is faster to clean than shavings. I think maybe my horses just pee more? I mean 5 gallons in = 5 gallons out right?

Ibex
Dec. 17, 2009, 01:19 PM
I've been at two barns that used pellets, but managed very differently. Horse in question is a large, somewhat messy mare.

Barn 1: Stripped stall, put in small amount of pellets (maybe 2 bags?) over rubber mats. Did not water down. Removed poop, spread around wet spots. Stall would be stripped and the process started again about every 2 weeks.
Result: Mare trashed stall constantly. Every last bit of pellets would be wet, and it stank by the end of a couple of weeks. Pellets are SLIPPERY over rubber mats in a freshly stripped stall. Probably went through about 7 bags of pellets a month this way (they kept a tally on the horses' stall door). I ended up shoveling out the wet spots at night (which they did NOT like) so my horse wasn't standing in her own pee, especially at the end of a "cycle".

Barn 2: Stall initially bedded with more pellets, fluffed up a bit. ALL wet spots and poop removed daily, stall topped up and fluffed up as needed. Gets stripped every couple of months.
Result: Still not as clean as on shavings, but smelled better. I don't know how many bags of pellets they add monthly but we're guessing it's 1 a week, maybe 1.5 if they've been in a lot. Still more than some of the other horses managed this way, but nowhere near 7 bags. No issues with slipping since the pellets are fluffed up after stripping.

I still prefer shavings as they stay cleaner, but understand why barns use pellets - less work, smaller manure pile, and more affordable.

shawneeAcres
Dec. 17, 2009, 01:29 PM
Pellets, ur doin it rong! ;) :lol:

You shouldn't need to add pellets until all the pellets you originally put in are gone, or unless your horse pees a LOT.

I put in two bags to start a stall, then a bag of bagged shavings around the side of the stall, by morning they are fluffed up and happy.
I pull out ONLY the poop for the first few days, and just mix in the wet spots. (Really, the wet spot barely exists--it's just a spot of fluffy, slightly damp bedding).
I then rake un-poofed pellets into the area where they pee.

When I start seeing an actual WET wetspot, I pull that out and add another bag. This takes about a week to get to this point with a somewhat clean horse.

You shouldn't need to add so many bags a week, because you shouldn't be pulling so much out. Wet spots should be one small (only about 6" for my horses) spot, and the manure doesn't carry any bedding with it.

15 bags of pellets and 5 bags of compressed shavings last me about 6 weeks!

I basically do the same, I do take out SOAKED wet spots but damp get spread back around. My stalls NEVER smell, the pellets do get a litlte "browner" with time, but I add about one bag per week, some horses take one bag every 5 days

SaddleFitterVA
Dec. 17, 2009, 05:50 PM
I've tried it all ways. I think that the primary failure point is the horses staying outside for weeks at a time, the stalls not getting used, except at feeding time, and so not peed in, and I am not filling water buckets inside, so not spraying them.

Not wetting pellets down at all...accident waiting to happen, and dustier sooner IME.

Wetting down pellets a little bit, dusty after a few weeks.

Wetting down pellets to the point of 50% or more of them being expanded and fluffy...ok with daily misting of stall, dusty after a couple of weeks of no horses inside.

Currently, I'm leaving damp urine spots, but taking out soaked, dripping spots, and dumping the remains of the water bucket around the stall in attempts to get the @#$%@# dust down to a less toxic level.

they are WAY faster to clean than any other bedding (well, sawdust is the same) but the stench on my clothes from the barn dust is disgusting.

I'm not seeing how leaving completely urine soaked bedding in there is going to make anything smell better.

The barn itself does not stink, once the dust cloud dissipates, it is the dust that is churned up during cleaning that gets anyone inside the barn stinky.

Although, I've had the same issues with some of the fluffiest and non-absorbing shavings too.

I mostly realize that if I don't want dust, I will have to spray down the stalls daily, even when the horses are not inside...and since I'm not likely to add that chore to my list, I'll live with the dust, and strip and power wash the barn a couple of times a year.

ESG
Dec. 17, 2009, 07:01 PM
So, how close are the instructions on the bags of pellets to reality? For instance Equine Pine says use six bags to start, add about one bag a week, and strip every FOUR MONTHS? Seriously? If that is right then they will be just as economical as bagged shavings.....

If you keep up with it and really do add one bag a week, you won't ever have to strip it. And, for my el hugeo geldings who apparently delight in p!$$ing contests, it would take two bags a week. But starting with six? :eek: Jeez, if you have stall mats, the horses will be bumping their heads on the ceiling! :lol:


So I'm experimenting with the pelleted bedding, put six bags in the stall of the gelding who DESTROYS his stall on a daily basis. Misted with water and stirred as per directions. It's been a week and I reckon I'll add a bag today. Still looks great, though!

Jennifer

MistyBlue
Dec. 17, 2009, 07:44 PM
There's always a lot of different experiences with the pellets. I've always wondered why some have certain problems and others don't.
I'm wondering if location/normal climate might be a factor.
I know amount of bedding used and whether there are mats or not does make a difference.
As does type of fork and type of stall picking.
Also wondering how much of a difference there is in type of pellets used.

I use Woody Pet pellets, live in CT and don't have an issue with them freezing or being overly dusty. Slightly dusty if we have hot dry weather sometimes...but nothing overwhelming. I have noticed that they can get uber-dusty if the entire stall isn't turned and moved every day. If I don't pull in the unused bedding along the stall walls daily and mix it in the center again, that unused stuff tends to become almost like talcum powder. But as long as I mix that in and sift the whole stall...no more dusty than shavings.
I also have never had mine freeze...we do get stretches of winter weather in single digits and below with pretty low windchills and my bedding has never frozen. Poop balls have, bedding never. Now I don't know if that's because my bedding is dry all the time or if it's because my barn walls are insulated.
When I newly bed a stall I do not soak the pellets. I spread them even and spritz them with hose or watering can...about 1/2 gallon per bag, then stir it around with a fork. The bedding fluffs up and turns to sawdust...about 60% activated and 40% still in a bit of pellet form. Enough to not be like walking on marbles. After that I add a bag a week on average. I do not activate new bedding ever. I just mix it right in with the already activated bedding.
I do remove all wet spots. But since my pellets are activated and stalls are bedded deep, the urine spots when found are a spot not much bigger than a jar lid on the surface of the bedding. I flip the fork and scrape the dry bedding off the top to uncover the dark and soaked pee spot and then scoop that out. It's clumped like cat litter and it's discolored and wet and chunky. I don't remix it in.
I'm wondering if the urine spots in my stalls clump and don't spread due to the depth of the bedding. I have noticed the deeper the pllets are, the better they work.
On average I only strip and rebed each stall completely *maybe* twice per year. And that's when we've had a stretch of really foul weather for a long time and the horses are in often enough to exhaust the bedding despite stalls being cleaned multiple times daily when they're in. The stalls are always deep, dry, fluffy, dust free, smell like fresh pellets and stay a pale color. Not white like they are when first added, but the color maintains a deep cream to pale beige color.
I find that the pellets keep my stalls as clean as possible and my barn never ever smells like urine, even if it's closed up. But I have noticed in order for them to work this well and in order for me to save on cost of adding constant new bedding or needing to strip and rebed is all hinged on how deep I keep the stalls and how well and often those stalls are cleaned.
They are faster to clean than shavings stalls, but I also don't race through them either.

EventerAJ
Dec. 17, 2009, 11:04 PM
I managed a barn that switched to pellets from fluffy bagged shavings.

I believe we started with 4 bags to a 12x12 stall, and added about 1 bag a week, more for the really messy horses. Most horses were turned out halfday, in halfday. All poop and wetness (not dampness, WETNESS) was removed twice daily, and old bedding swept to the middle. New bedding was added around the perimeter, or across the front ("clean" zones).

I used a plastic watering can, filled with about 2 gallons of hot water, to sprinkle and activate the new bedding. Hot water makes it expand faster. I hate the crunchiness of pellets on mats. I was unsuccessful with the hose, always ended up with too much water in one spot and too try somewhere else (no nozzle on the hose, just open end thumb). The watering can was just the right capacity and worked very well. (also doesn't freeze like hoses in winter!)

Still...the stalls got very dusty, filmy water buckets, grimey horses (really dirty sheaths!). Several of the horses didn't lay down as much as they did with fluffy shavings.

I kept my own horse on fluffy shavings, because I didn't like her caughing and I wanted her to be comfortable. She is fairly neat-- she does poop indescriminately, but she will NOT step in it. I was able to maintain her on about 1/2 bag of shavings every other day...which actually worked out to be cheaper than pellets! She loved her shavings, had a daily nap at 10am every morning, and I could bank shavings around her water bucket (set on the floor) to keep it from freezing in the winter. :)

Now, at a TB breeding farm, it's all about STRAW! Ick. But it's sorta growing on me, I guess, after 2 years... the horses like it, that's what matters.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 18, 2009, 09:09 AM
Now, at a TB breeding farm, it's all about STRAW! Ick. But it's sorta growing on me, I guess, after 2 years... the horses like it, that's what matters.

Yes, I love traditional straw and don't find it hard to muck at all. You have to do it differently but it's quite fast when you learn the trick. I also have no problems with keeping the stalls fresh but it does take a little bit more effort.

We are slowly transitioning over to the Guardian pellets here. So far so good. They are no where near as dusty as the Woody Pet I tried some years ago. Some of our piggish horses are doing a lot better on it than the bulk shavings. I'm headed out to muck in a few minutes and will report back. I generally only muck one or two days a week but my working student says she likes it.

The very fine bagged shavings are quite nice also. I can't recall the brand..pine something. I don't think they go quite as far as the pellets though. With us, we are looking for the lowest cost most effective bedding. I can't tolerate high dust with my allergies so if it gets bad, we will have to go back to bulk shavings or perhaps the finer bagged stuff.

KitKat987
Dec. 18, 2009, 11:36 AM
I must be in the minority here when it comes to pelletted bedding. When I started using them a couple years ago I tried various methods, including those recommended by the manufacturer.

When I first put them in the stall, the bag said to not remove urine for the first week or two, just mix it in. Ugh, what a mess! I ended up stripping the stall completely after two weeks. It was disgusting. I tried lightly misting the pellets and removing the pee spots. Didn't like that either. Looked so uncomfortable to sleep on, although the bedding certainly lasted longer. I just wasn't happy with it. Not fluffy and cozy looking.

I ended up experimenting and I've found what works best for me. I don't just mist the pellets now, I completely SOAK them. I dump a bag into a wheel barrel, empty left over water buckets into them until the pellets have about a half inch of water covering them. Come back an hour later and the wheel barrel is overflowing with fluffy lovely bedding. I empty around the edges of the stall. Although the bedding has been completely soaked already, it still soaks up pee really well and clumps very well. With two horses inside every day from 9:30 pm to 8 am, I go through 6 bags a month.

This past spring, after using this method for a year and a half, I took out all of the bedding and pulled the mats, thinking that it would be a good idea to let it dry out underneath. What a waste of time. The stalls were completely dry underneath the mats. I even put the same bedding back in afterward. No point in wasting perfectly dry bedding just cause it isn't 'white' anymore. Anyhow, I have never had to completely strip and restart a stall using this method. I also don't find them dusty at all with this method, which I did when I first started using them.

shea'smom
Dec. 22, 2009, 11:49 PM
Well, I tried the pellets for a month for 22 stalls. I gave up. Way more expensive, didn't save time because we were paranoid about wasting bedding, so it took longer to clean each stall. A few horses did great on it, but some were terrible. The waste was less, but not enough to make a difference to our handling methods.
Poo. I was hoping it would work.
Back to the same ol', same ol'.

CatOnLap
Dec. 23, 2009, 02:22 AM
oh darn it. I couldn't do my stalls for a few days and the temporary barn help ended up removing MOST of the pelleted bedding for some reason.

total expensive waste of about 8 bags of pellets per stall that I'd already put in over the last 3 weeks. And then they used up the rest of my bags replacing it (they put another 4 bags per stall- 1 bag per day in each!). EXPENSIVE! No idea why they felt they had to almost strip the stalls instead of just taking out the wet spots and manure.

Fortunately I still had some bags of shavings up in the loft so I'll be using that until I can get to the feed store next week. I like the pellets for their absorption but the shavings are way cheaper at this rate.

shea'smom
Dec. 23, 2009, 10:04 AM
CatonLap, that is one of the drawbacks, I think. I found myself going in and coaching the workers, doing more stalls myself. I was just too concerned about the cost. $300 for a pallet of 50 bags, just about 2 bags per stall. Sawdust is $150 for a huge load., Even though it is not as dry, and a pain to keep covered and more effort/time to bed, it is still cheaper and I can strip the stalls whenever I want for my dirty horses without thinking, "there goes $12!!".
Hey, but I lost 5 pounds doing more stalls myself :)

Daydream Believer
Dec. 23, 2009, 06:49 PM
Wow Cathy...Your bulk shavings/sawdust is way less than I pay. I pay almost $400 for a load. It is a big load...about tandem dump truck size. We are thinking it will come out about the same for us with the pellets. So far I have not noticed it being all that much easier to muck than regular shavings..maybe a teeny bit. I have noticed more dust already though and I hate dusty bedding.

We built a very nice bin for ours with very tall sides and have a tarp roof on a wooden frame that we built so we can just walk in and out to load a wheelbarrow. The only downside is that a healthy wind storm like a strong NorEaster is too much for the roof to bear. We've lost two roofs now and are still trying to work that out. In that respect, the bags of pellets are much easier to store and handle.

MistyBlue
Dec. 23, 2009, 07:54 PM
Around here if you can find sawdust it runs about $25-$35 per truckload, but that's for a pick up truck sized load. The problem is finding it...with the construction of homes going downhill the sawmills around here slowed way down or screeched to a halt. Then there's the issue of storing it too.
I grew up using sawdust...loved it. Way back then we got it for free at the barn where I boarded/worked. Sawmills were thrilled to have a place they could dump huge loads of it so did that for free. Although sometimes we had too much...and once when the pile got huge it's own weight compressed it so much that it overheated and burst into flames. And until that day I had absolutely not idea sawdust could do that! :eek: But that was an enormous mountain of it.

shea'smom
Dec. 23, 2009, 09:02 PM
Wow, $400! I paid about $300 each for two pallets of pellets. I loved being able to drive through the barn and bed the all the stalls by myself in 20 minutes. But it didn't save time like I thought it should. If we use about 6-8 loads of sawdust per day and then don't have to do that and empty the spreader, it should cut down the work by 30 minutes a day, but it didn't.
Oh well. Have to go by a tarp!

Mtn trails
Dec. 24, 2009, 01:08 PM
I've been using pellets for about 2 years now and won't go back to shavings. Our stalls aren't all that large so start with 4 bags with one bag banked against the stall wall. I don't mist either and I think it makes them last longer. Unfortunately, my husband has been doing the stalls these days since I work long hours and he doesn't and his standards are not my standards so end up stripping them once a week. If he would just clean them so they are really clean and add pellets when needed, there would be no reason to strip them. He's a little dense that way. My way, you would start with the initial 4 bags, maybe add one to two bags a week as needed and by the end of the month you're using only about 10 -12 bags total. His way is 4 bags a week because you have to strip it on the wekeends because he's lazy so now you're going through 16+ bags a week per stall per month.

potteryshop
Dec. 25, 2009, 03:46 PM
I'll add one more comment to the list. My process is slightly different than others.
I started using pellets about 6 months ago. My supplier of bulk shavings was not returning phone calls any more. I didn't want to pay for bagged shavings and still had a few months left of the bulk if I stretched it.
I use a mix of shavings and pellets. Two stalls are about 10x12 with rubber mats (Christmas present a year ago!). I mix three scoops of pellets with a large plastic drink cup of water in a small plastic trash can and let sit overnight. When I clean stalls the next day, I sift out the solids. I then gently scrape away the dry from the wet spots - pellets then really make a nice, solid wet place to scoop out. I then sift the sat-over-night grainy mix onto the wet spots and recover with the clean, old shavings. It really takes less time than I make it sound - and I only have 2 stalls to clean, not a barn full.
I use about one wheelbarrow of new shavings a week per stall and about 3/4 of a bag of pellets per week.
I found that adding more water so that most of it was grainy makes it go farther. I did not have much luck just spreading them straight out of the bag - even with shavings over them - the pee spread too much.
I am going to continue using this mix.

Bedrock
Jan. 3, 2010, 08:23 PM
Can you store the bags of pellets outside or do you need to cover them? The pelleted bedding might end up saving me $ if I don't have to build a shavings shed, but if I build a shavings shed I can accommodate 2 more boarders, but that will be a considerable cost

Ghazzu
Jan. 3, 2010, 08:26 PM
Yes, you can store them outside.

MistyBlue
Jan. 3, 2010, 08:28 PM
Yes, you can keep them outside. When I used to buy the WP by the pallet they;d deliver it and drop the pallet outside next to my barn. It was already on wood pallets to raise it up off the ground and I just added a plastic tarp over the top with a large bungee wrapped around it to keep it from blowing off.
The bags of pellets are plastic, but they do get small holes in from being moved so you don't want rain falling directly on them. But they store just as well outside as they do inside IMO.