Had already decided that I wanted to go with the pelleted bedding for the couple stalls at the farmette...no real place for bulk delivery of sawdust, as well as stalls are matted, and I figured the pelleted would be the way to go in this case.
But I got to wondering...if you're supposed to 'wet' the pellets to open/fluff the product from the hard pellet stage....how? do you utilize them in horrible freezing temps?
(excuse my ignorance!! I was just wondering!)
"Indecision may or may not be my problem"
You can just use them dry & let horses' weight crush them,
I generally just mist, not soak and by the end of the day they are powdery from horses walking on them.
You could use a watering can to wet them sufficiently to get the puffage started.
That said, I switch to shavings when it gets really cold.
My own penny-saver since I could just use more pellets for the deeper bedding I like to see.
My stalls are not matted (stonedust floor) so I like to give the horses some extra insulation.
Plus I have a cheap source for shavings that saves me nearly 50% over pellets.
When it warms up I'll switch back as there's definitely a lot more waste with shavings.
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Thanks, 2D....yeah, I figured? once horses are used to them? adding some pellets hard formed wouldn't be a problem, but with this funky arctic crap weather going on, it just made me wonder! I've never used them, and unfortunately (!) will be starting horse keeping in the colder months, so, I didn't? want to just put in the pellets when these horses are not yet used to them... and I HATE bagged shavings unless at a show or a temp set up. I practically get carpal tunnel JUST from trying to pick/shake the fork. I like a more fine bedding, like sawdust! But won't have a source.
Last edited by ayrabz; Jan. 28, 2014 at 08:16 AM.
"Indecision may or may not be my problem"
We use the pelleted bedding at the rescue where I volunteer. We just dump 1/2 a bag in a wheelbarrow, add water, watch them "fluff," add the second bag, and add more water. The water doesn't freeze when it hits the pellets, and if there are some non-fluffed pellets still in the wheelbarrow, that's fine, too. Like 2DogsFarm said, horses walk on them and crush them, and when urine hits them, they fluff out anyways.
I would not just put dry pellets in the stalls though. If you're not going to add water to them, see if there is a local source where you can buy bagged sawdust if you don't want bagged shavings. Otherwise, it's a waste of pelleted bedding.
I have been trying pelleted bedding for one of my horses and the single digit temps were have been getting is causing them to freeze into a sheet of bedding. I fluff the pellets in a bucket and the pour them out. I do not make them really wet, there are still some solid pellets even. They spread nicely and an hour later I have one mass-o-bedding. Very frustrating.
I have decided that pellet bedding is not going to work this time of year in this situation.
I tried the pelleted bedding yrs ago and when the really cold temps came they clumped up and were getting tossed out with the manure. I stopped using them at that point and went back to shavings. A friend had the same problem but her barn was warmer and she solved it by adding shavings to the fluffed up pelleted bedding. I don't believe she ever just put the pellets straight in the stall.
I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.
I use pellets year round. Love them. Put them in the stall, takes a few days for horses to crush them. I don't mist them this time of year. I use the Equine Pine or a like brand. Tractor Supplys equine bedding I find to be dustier. I add probably 2 bags a week per stall to keep about 3" or so deep. Concrete floor with rubber mats in main barn, used to be stone dust with mats. The urine used to freeze in a puddle on them. But now that it's concreted and same mats are on top I don't have that problem. Scoops like kitty litter out. I'm done 6 stalls in less than half hour if horses are out most of the day.
If you already have bedding down then just add the pellets without soaking to the bedding, the horse will break them down on their own by walking on them. I've been using pelleted bedding for years now and almost never soak the pellets in the winter.
Also, someone mentioned that the pelleted bedding does tend to clump up when it's freezing out. However, those clumps break up very easily! Just take your manure fork and hold it with the tines on top of the bedding, put a little pressure on it and just drag it across the top of the bedding a few times. that usually breaks up most of the clumps. If it doesn't break up and is hard, it is usually a poopsicle :-)
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I use pelleted bedding, even in the cold winter temperatures. I do not wet it before I put it down; the horses themselves break it down just fine. I do not have a problem with it in the winter doing it this way.
I had a couple frozen clumps but they break up so easily that I never worried about it. A horse moving in a stall is enough to keep them from clumping, depending on the kind you get.
I did try some "straw pellets" a local supplier got in to try, and they were not good. They clumped up just from the mini donkey laying on them, and were a you-know-what to break up with a fork even in warm 60* weather.
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I use straw pellets and love them. Prefer them over pine pellets. You DO NOT put water on them, which is GREAT this time of year. They are softer than pine and break down much easier when a horse walks on them. They are made of larger particles with the dust particles pulled out in the extruting process, so even without using water we've found them significantly less dusty. They also make better compost...