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View Full Version : Is pelleted bedding dustier?



dmalbone
Dec. 3, 2009, 05:50 PM
I've heard yes and no. What gives? I have a COPD horse who I'm bringing home shortly. He's currently on bagged shavings. Some are dustier than others but I never dump in his stall while he's in the barn. Some of the bagged shaving have SUCH a strong odor though that 1/2 the time it seems like I'm more worried about that. I'll have a small barn with lots of doors so ventilation is good, but I still want to avoid excess dust if possible. I have nowhere to store a dump truck load of shavings so it's bagged something. Pellets are more economical around me and would take up less room in my little barn.

Calvincrowe
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:02 PM
Yes...and no. I think you'll have to experiment. I don't find them dustier than sawdusty-type shavings (bulk) and some bagged shavings are dusty as well.

I use wood pellets for stoves, as they run around $30 cheaper per ton than "horse" ones. My horses are in about 12 hours a night, and I don't find them (the horses) dusty nor have I had problems with them and their breathing.

I start my stalls with around 5 bags--that is for a bare, 12 x 12. I spread them and then spray with a hose so they can expand or fluff up. I then take the poops out and the "wet spot" and rake it all back together, when cleaning, with my fork. I find a fork with a basket dealy works the best with pelleted bedding. I add about 1 bag a week for my two guys. They are pretty neat, but one likes to mix it up at night sometimes. My bedding is around 2-3 inches deep, basically in the middle--none under the water buckets in the front of stall, none at the back where they are fed their hay and where the "back door" is.

I've not had a hock or fetlock sore. I have a small manure pile that composts beautifully. I can store all my bedding for 5 months (or more) in an 8 x 8 foot space.

They can be dusty in dry weather, but not overly so. Mixing shavings in does help.

LauraKY
Dec. 3, 2009, 06:59 PM
If it gets dusty in the summer, I just wet it down a little. I try very hard not to muck when the horses are in. That gives any dust time to settle. I've heard pelleted bedded stalls called "Temperpedic stalls" and I have to agree. Very cushy.

birdsong
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:07 PM
Mine was dusty...would dampen it often...then it would just decompose into "dirt" . I don't use it any longer.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 3, 2009, 07:37 PM
I think pelleted bedding was the dustiest bedding I have ever used. Straw is the least dusty.

dmalbone
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:13 PM
I think pelleted bedding was the dustiest bedding I have ever used. Straw is the least dusty.
Straw is actually one of the worst beddings to use for COPD horses. It does have a lot of fine particles.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:40 PM
I have heard that also but it is the "cleanest" which is why it is recommended for foaling over sawdust or shaving. I find it much less dusty than wood products in general.

dmalbone
Dec. 3, 2009, 09:48 PM
I have heard that also but it is the "cleanest" which is why it is recommended for foaling over sawdust or shaving. I find it much less dusty than wood products in general.

Isn't straw used because of the risk of shavings getting in foals' eyes, nostrils, umbilical stump, etc. in addition to the increased risk to the mare of shavings entering vulva,etc. while pushing... I understand that benefit of straw over wood products in that instance, but I guess it's just not as clean for horses with heaves. The allergens that affect heaves are found in hay and straw. I guess I'm not debating that straw's less dusty (which I don't know for a fact since I hate the stuff), it's just not safe for COPD horses and I'd rather take the dust over allergens, spores, etc.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 4, 2009, 12:10 PM
Yes, straw is less irritating as well as "cleaner" in that it has less pathogens. Wood products are much more likely to cause infection in newborns. Straw is also better for newly castrated or ill horses for the same reason. I have heard that wood is better for COPD too; but in practice, I have found wood products to be nasty with dust and very irritating to mucous membranes...especially the pellets which are the dustiest bedding I've ever used. I'd recommend paper bedding for an allergic horse. It is by far the least dusty of all beddings but probably the hardest to much and deal with the removal of.

shawneeAcres
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:35 PM
I find the pelletted bedding less dusty than most shavings. Sometimes in REALLY dry weater it can be a little dusty, but a quick spray with the hose fixes it. I don't understand why people say there is "dust all ove rthe place" with pelleted bedding that certainly isn't the case at my barn. But we also have a very open and airy barn, don't like my horses closed in and too hot and humid here for that type of barn.

Daydream Believer
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:44 PM
I don't know Shawnee but the idea of having to wet any stall to keep dust down is just annoying to me. When I tried the pellets some years ago, I wet the heck out of that stuff...really soaked it every few days...but it kept drying out fast and there was a fine powder everywhere sticking to me and the horses..making me cough. I think it was Woody Pet brand also but I'm not sure I am remembering accurately on that brand.

Regular shavings are not too bad unless you have a horse that stirs, mixes or stall walks...we have one and that stall is nasty.

I personally love straw but it's hard to store...harder than shavings...so for the general boarders, I put up with it. For my girls and their foals, we use straw. I won't even switch them back to shavings as most people do. I hate to see it stuck to the baby's face and eyes as they lay down so much.

dmalbone
Dec. 4, 2009, 07:52 PM
I think it was Woody Pet brand also but I'm not sure I am remembering accurately on that brand.


If memory serves me right (maybe?) I believe I've heard that Woody Pet is the worst of the pelleted beddings. Could be wrong, but I believe so. It seemed like TSC's Equine Fresh was really popular.

shawneeAcres
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:17 PM
I use EQuine fresh DEFINITELY the best!! DDB I RARELY ever "wet it down" other than when I first put it down. Just doesn't get that dusty. Of course I don't use a LOT of bedding anyways, two bags in a stall, so there isn't a lot to get dusty and it is being rotated with new bedding every few days. However, I'd much rather wet down than deal with straw I HATE that stuff! Hard to pick, doesn't absorb, just looks nice when first put down then turns to a youcky mess! Only use it for mares and foals (with pelleted underneath to absorb all that mare urine!)

Daydream Believer
Dec. 4, 2009, 08:45 PM
Ah...straw...I love it. So easy to muck (at least for me it is), no problem with wetness (if you let it air during the day), and I love the fresh fluffy clean look. I will say this...ask yourself what you'd rather lay down in and sleep on. I'd much prefer the straw. ;-)

There are some horses that will trash straw but I find it generally does not mix up poop and bedding like shavings does.

Perhaps it was just the brand of pellet I used but I was fairly disappointed with it. We get bulk shavings now and they are pretty decent...better than sawdust.

S1969
Dec. 4, 2009, 10:13 PM
Keep in mind that wood pellets are basically sawdust that has been dehydrated to have all the moisture removed - so yes, if you don't mist/soak/wet them they will be dusty. I think I read that a manufacturer said the bedding, when properly used, should *feel* damp to your hand but not wet your pants if you knelt down in it. So it is a balance, for sure. If you do not keep it sufficiently damp, it will (of course) be dusty.

Which is why, in my opinion, that pelleted bedding needs more "personal care" than other types of bedding. Depending on the horse and barn situation, climate and general weather patterns, it might change on a daily basis. If you can work with this -- adding more bedding if it is damp outside; wetting bedding if it is dry outside, etc., if will work better.

IFG
Dec. 5, 2009, 08:55 AM
My horse has allergies and mild heaves, and I have asthma. I use Woody Pet and love it. When I used the TSC pellets, they aggravated my asthma. I am not sure why, it might be that Woody Pet has more additives to kill molds, which are a huge trigger for me, but we are both breathing easily with the Woody Pet. I do not wet it down. The horse also has a 24/7 in/out situation which is key for respiratory health.

CatOnLap
Dec. 5, 2009, 11:10 AM
so what am I doing wrong? I bought pellets for the first time yesterday. I have been using bagged shavings since our mills are shut down and I can't get my bulk shavings for at least another month. Usually I use one bag of shavings per stall to start and add 1/4 bag per day. The shavings bags weigh the same as the pellets bags- 40 lbs. So with shavings I use about 3 bags a week per stall, and with pellets?

So yesterday I put two bags of pellets (twice as much as I would've used shavings) in the stall and wet them down with about 5 gallons of water. All I got was a puddle of water and hard pellets floating in it. Waited 3 hours and the pellets took up the water but didn't get much fluffier and the stalls looked awfully spare with the matts showing through the layer of pellets. Plus the horses are crunching on the pellets and did not lie down last night. The pellets have soaked up the urine well, but it does take about an hour for them to soak it up. They do a better job at soaking it up than the shavings in the end and thats good.

Do I really have to put 5 bags of pellets in my stalls to start? That will be awfully expensive if I am using 5 bags - the cost will be over $30 per stall, versus about $8 for the one bag of shavings that did the trick before. plus wetting them down with that much water takes a while.

S1969
Dec. 5, 2009, 12:32 PM
2 bags is definitely not enough for a regular stall. And if they are still "crunchy" then they have not fully hydrated and need more water. Maybe some of the water drained under the stall mats or something? I find that I need to water, flip, water, flip, etc., to really get a good thorough hydration.

You really have to try NOT to compare them to shavings. The initial setup is more expensive than shavings, but when used well, you will only remove a little bit of bedding each day. Most of what you will take out is manure and some (a forkful or two) truly wet bedding that cannot be reused. So by the end of a week you may not even need to add a full bag.

If you bed too thinly, your horse may drench the stall and saturate all the bedding as their urine will "spread" rather than "clump" if the bedding was deeper. If you skimp on bedding you may ultimately use more in the end.

LauraKY
Dec. 5, 2009, 12:37 PM
so what am I doing wrong? I bought pellets for the first time yesterday. I have been using bagged shavings since our mills are shut down and I can't get my bulk shavings for at least another month. Usually I use one bag of shavings per stall to start and add 1/4 bag per day. The shavings bags weigh the same as the pellets bags- 40 lbs. So with shavings I use about 3 bags a week per stall, and with pellets?

So yesterday I put two bags of pellets (twice as much as I would've used shavings) in the stall and wet them down with about 5 gallons of water. All I got was a puddle of water and hard pellets floating in it. Waited 3 hours and the pellets took up the water but didn't get much fluffier and the stalls looked awfully spare with the matts showing through the layer of pellets. Plus the horses are crunching on the pellets and did not lie down last night. The pellets have soaked up the urine well, but it does take about an hour for them to soak it up. They do a better job at soaking it up than the shavings in the end and thats good.

Do I really have to put 5 bags of pellets in my stalls to start? That will be awfully expensive if I am using 5 bags - the cost will be over $30 per stall, versus about $8 for the one bag of shavings that did the trick before. plus wetting them down with that much water takes a while.

Depends on the brand of pellets you are using. I love Equine Fresh at Tractor Supply if you can get them. Otherwise, pellets have varying degrees of absorbency and I hate it when they are still crunchy. We usually start with 3 bags, depending on the horse, and, again, depending on the horse, add one to 3 bags per week. We strip every three months or so. The Southern States brand is OK, but I much prefer Equine Fresh. We bought another brand from someone in Versailles, Kentucky and they were TERRIBLE. Would not plump up. I ended up throwing them in a muddy spot behind the barn, and they finally did dissolve, but became rock hard. Good for me, since that's where I walk, but wouldn't have been very good in a stall.

The other thought is the cardboard bedding for a dust free stall. I've tried some and I didn't like it, but then again, I don't have a horse with COPD.

Buffyblue
Dec. 5, 2009, 01:27 PM
One barn tried pellets for a few weeks in a couple of the stalls and they were awful - after they broke down they were VERY dusty and the stalls smelled even after cleaning. Straw is awful for any breathing issues - full of all kinds of nasty spores and such.

CatOnLap
Dec. 6, 2009, 12:35 PM
well, so far the dust is not bad- I'd say nonexistent and they are great at absorbing the wet spots. Has made my messy mare's stall much more pleasant to clean and that is good. The mill producing the pellets is in the mountains using pine beetle kill logs. Apparently the horse pellets and stove pellets are the same product, according to the feedstore. So they sell the stove pellets as bedding. I will put another couple of bags in each stall today. If it works out that I get 4 bags initially, but add another 3 bags(1 a week) and that will last at least a month, the cost is $45, with bagged shavings about $50, and with bulk shavings (my usual) about $30.

I also read this thread and the other one and got a hint to soak the pellets -in the bag- for 10 minutes first, so I will try that and try using hot water too. Works for beet pulp. Thanks for all the help.