I'm (possibly) having a horse sent down to me in the next month or so and will have him on part-board, so I'm looking into some "alternative" bedding choices. I've read all the threads on the topic, and I'm very interested in trying Coir. So, to the people who have used it, where do you buy it?? Is it the same type of coir that is used in gardening?
Yes - its the same coir as used in gardening. I LOVE the bedding but it is expensive! My cost on a compressed 60 lb bale , if I was taking an entire 40' container sent from Sri Lanka, was just over USD $16.00 landed at my door, so I would have needed to sell it in the $23.00 - $24.00 range per bale. It would have ben the equivalent of about 2 x peat moss bales. The other issue was that it was SO highly compressed in the bale walking on it, kicking it, letting a horse loose in the stall wasnt enough to break it down - you literally needee to take each "clump" and break it apart in your hands so each stall took 5-10 minutes just to bed down if you didnt want them sleeping on clumps
Coir is the husk of the coconut so you need to go where they grow coconuts to find Coir! And Sri Lanka is THE highest coconut producing country in the world.
I also looked at Costa Rica - they have huge large square bales of Coir that wouldnt have been suitable for what I was looking for
I was looking at buying it to sell it so *I* couldnt go to a local "retail" garden centre to buy it - I went to the importer and then to the source in Sri Lanka and was then looking at bringing in several 40' ocean containers per month and distributing it from here. No matter how much I liked the stuff (it did work very very well) I knew from a price perspective I'd never be able to sell it and once someone had to bed down 5-10-20 stalls each morning with this stuff and it was taking them 10 minutes to break the clumps apart - per stall - they would sour on it very very quickly
Hemp bedding is also great, but as far as I know the US government still wont allow it into the country. We have several suppliers here in Canada for it, but it would get stopped at the border
I knew from a price perspective I'd never be able to sell it and once someone had to bed down 5-10-20 stalls each morning with this stuff and it was taking them 10 minutes to break the clumps apart - per stall - they would sour on it very very quickly
TC, I read somewhere that you're supposed to wet it down, like you do with pelleted bedding; maybe that was the problem with the clumping?
And, yes, I read about the hemp bedding but didn't know it was illegal here in the US. I also saw that there's rapeseed bedding, recycled cardboard, all kinds of stuff that I never knew about! I'll look into the coir and see how expensive it is.
Did you use less of the coir? I think the higher price per package would be worth it if you didn't have to replace the bedding as often.
Coir is used in both human and animal bed stuffing. It has very good heat retention qualities and provides a stiff but comfortable surface recommended for a good night's sleep; like coir orthopedic mattress, it is durable and has good ventilation, and able to relief back pain. Since coir fiber is expensive, manufacturers use it as the top layer of the bedding and add other types of less expensive natural fruit fiber as fillings. One of these that has recently gained a lot of popularity in the market is EFB palm fiber. So do pay attention to the composition of the type of bedding you are purchasing so as not to get scammed.
Also make sure you pay attention to the density of the bales you are buying. The less dense, the easier it is for you to put to use. Bale exporters need to maximize on tonnage and freight costs as their buyers buy by weight and not volume. Hence it is common practice for the bale exporters to over press the material making it hard for the buyer to break apart and loosen enough to reach to the required fluffiness for a bed.
Make sure you buy bales in reasonable sizes. A handling friendly size would be about 80x60x80cm and weigh below 40kg. With this size you will not require a forklift to unload from container and move into your warehouse/barn.
Pay attention to the moisture rate. The higher the moisture content the more money you are spending on water rather than actual fiber. A decent moisture rate would be around 8 - 15 %. These rates can go as high up as 60% and hence 60 cents of each dollar spent is wasted. High moisture content also leads to fungus and bacteria growth.
For more information on natural fiber baling, please go to http://www.sinobaler.com/baler-type/...-fiber-balers/