We have a two stall barn with cement floor covered with rubber stall mats. We have been using wood pellet (Premier Brand) and sometimes wood shavings. It seems like the wood pellets turn into a very fine dust within a couple of weeks. Then the dust gets everywhere when the wind blows.
Is there any other material that lasts a bit longer? The stalls are mucked daily (if needed), but our horses are generally free to come and go as they want and don't spend a lot of time in the stalls unless the weather is really bad. They rarely use the stalls as their "bathroom".
I've seen some other wood by-products that looked more "stringy" than shavings, but I don't know what that was or where they got it.
Pelleted pine bedding definitely breaks down into finer particles, and IME with horses that are rarely in their stalls, this does lead to dust. My horses are very rarely inside as well, and if I'm using pellet bedding I keep it sprayed with the hose and this helps.
I have found that the more the stalls are "used" the better the pellet bedding works. So I've actually gotten away from using pellets other than on the heavy pee spots--I've gone to a "fine pine" type of shavings that is nearly (not quite) as easy to muck and breaks down ALMOST as well in the compost pile. But it seems to handle long periods of no use without dissolving into dust as much.
Do you have the option of a "fine pine" bedding? Guardian makes the best kind, IMO, but we don't have a local distributor and driving 60 miles round trip to buy 10 bags of shavings isn't worth it for me. Our local feed store started carrying their version (McCrumb, local to Michigan) which is very nearly as nice and that's what I use.
Personally I *loathe* big, flaky shavings and find that it's 10x more difficult to muck with twice the waste.
I use corn pellet bedding as a base...it is FANTASTIC at absorbing the urine. Over that, I use regular pine shavings. I would use the corn bedding solely, but I tried it and it was too dusty for my liking. In conjunction with the shavings, it is amazing! Here's the stuff I use... http://www.bestcob.com/retail-products/horse-bedding
Have you thought about Peat Moss? Several T-bred trainers around here use it. A large (2cuft) bale is $10.00ish and goes a long way. If it gets dusty just mist with a hose. And the local gardeners love mucked bedding for compost!
Also, if you can get it, hemp bedding (it is all imported) is quite "stringy" and virtually dust free. I always thought it was kind of crummy in the "absorbent" department but it was definitely not dusty.
I've used peat moss in a deep litter - was awesome, inexpensive and worked.
Main complaints are that it is dark and makes the place look dirty and tracks in the feet. When not in deep litter it can get dusty and the dust gets everywhere, including the horses breathing it in. It also packs down, and while absorbing all winter, is a big manual job to clean out in the spring. There is absolutely no smell and the manure just has to be lifted daily and more peat added as required. Makes an excellent mattress to lie on (for the horses).
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