Straw is not readily available in my area. So, I usually just bed the stall with coastal hay for foaling and the first week if I keep the baby in at night.
This year I was thinking of leaving a thin layer of shavings in the stall and putting the coastal over the shavings. The reasoning is to have something absorbent under they hay to try to reduce the mess.
We went through this is another thread. People are way more experienced than me, but I think most people leave shavings underneath to absorb. That's my plan. I'm getting straw tomorrow. Someone mentioned using grass hay as bedding, too. It also gives the make something to eat.
Thanks! Yes, at first the mare is always happy to have a buffet all over the stall - LOL! But, I find the novelty wears off fairly quickly and the hay ends up too nasty to eat.
I am usually fairly quick to get rid of the hay and just go to straight shavings. I can only stand to clean a stall bedded in coastal hay for so long. But, this mare hates being in a stall anyway. So assuming everything goes well, they will be out 24/7 with access to a stall in just a few days.
ya, but if you put shaving in the stall you can't get a picture like this.....
I am in AZ and they had straw everywhere. It really isn't too bad clean. We did use it for about 2 weeks and then took it out. The only reason people like the straw I think it is cleaner. Little shaving can get stuck of the foal and cause infection, especially where the umbilical cord was.
I don't love cleaning straw, and it can certainly produce more volume in the manure pile. However, I dont think its that awful, if you have a clean horse. I also do put some shavings/ wood pelleted bedding under the straw to absorb the wet. It works pretty well.
I think the horses also find the straw far more comfortable and inviting to lay down on.
I did shavings/pelleted bedding under the straw when my mare foaled. I was glad I did when she went into her stall and her water broke (she foaled at 11 pm, and had been out in front of the barn grazing, then just turned and walked into the stall). Especially if you have mats, there is a LOT of fluid, and straw just doesn't absorb it.
I use timothy, or grass hay. Maybe try putting the paper bedding underneath?
Wood, wood shavings and/or sawdust in a foaling stall are a big no no. Not just because it can stick to the wet foal and to the navel until it dries, but because of the bacteria that shavings carry. Even a layer underneath straw is putting your neonate at higher risk for septicemia. Wood naturally harbors pseudomonas, a nasty pathogen.
If you can't get straw, use hay or paper shavings. But, avoid the use of wood products. And, I don't care how many times people use it "without ever having a problem". I've foaled out literally 100's of mares without a problem and it just takes one to make one realize just how bad things can go. Not worth the risk! It's an easy problem to avoid and an expensive problem to deal with should things go wrong.
We would always put a layer of shavings and a thick layer of straw on top (you can use hay as well as we had to do a couple of times). Actually, it works very well and the straw does keep the foal up and away from the shavings. I think it's very important to keep the stall dry and very clean and shavings really help in this. We would completely strip the stall after foaling and every 4 days after that until the navel falls off. This way you'll always have a nice clean bed for the mare and foal.
Rodawn--So you use actual newspapers? If I wanted to do this, could I clean up the shavings and put newspapers on top of them, then straw?
Kathy has me a little paranoid about any shavings now, and it seems maybe a layer of newspaper between what's left of shavings and straw would be a good idea. Is it? I have rubber mats under part of the shavings in the stall.
Now I need to find a bunch of newspapers. Nobody gets newspapers anymore. I'll have to get in everyone's recycle bin tomorrow and see what they have.
I use about 4-5 bags of dry den wood pellets with a bale of straw on
top. The pellets absorb really well and to clean I just push all the clean
straw out of the way. Straw isn't the easiest to clean but it is worth the
Last edited by mackwan; Nov. 25, 2010 at 03:48 AM.