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Oak Sawdust?

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  • Oak Sawdust?

    We have a sawmill about 10 minutes from the farm that recently offered me all the sawdust I want. All I have to do is pick it up. (major score!) The only issue I see as a potential problem is that it's almost entirely oak sawdust (no other hard woods - just oak).
    Is there a reason I shouldn't use oak sawdust for the horses, chickens, and pigs? I realize it may not be as absorbent as pine, but will it do any harm?

  • #2
    I used to use Oak from the sawmill close to me. The only problem was, it would turn black once it got wet. Ugly bedding, but if it was free.....
    Never did any harm to my horses.


    • #3
      Smells like heaven to me. I remember the barn growing up got oak from the mill up thd road (still there and open AAMOF). IIRC there were sometimes big slabes of bark and some large slivers. The horses really loffd those.

      Free sawdust? If I was close to ME our barn would fight ya for it. We cant find any right now.
      “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


      • Original Poster

        Thank you both - sounds like we'll go for it! I just wanted to make sure there were any health reasons not to.
        Should be a pretty good set up - we can actually take our little dump truck over and leave it parked under the blower, so we won't even have to deal with loading. And my wallet is very much looking forward to reduced bedding costs!!


        • #5
          Oak is fine, I've used it for 20+ years. Sometimes not real adsorbent, and a little acidic, but horses do fine on/with it.


          • #6
            Oak is fine, but agree that it turns BLACK once peed upon. We used to get free oak sawdust and while it was nice because it was free, we stripped the stalls every other day. If you only have a couple of horses that would be manageable, more not so much.


            • #7
              I'd ask a vet first!!! I always heard that you did NOT use any sawdust/shavings from nut bearing trees!! Founder is expensive!!! Please check first!!!
              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


              • #8
                I had hubby return from the mill a couple weeks ago with some red oak sawdust. The mill was just filling a special order. I called my vet before I even let him unload a shovelful since I have pregnant mares here. My vet said it was perfectly fine even for the pregger girls. it did turn black though once it got wet. I am glad that I have my regular pine back now. I would ask your vet if you aren't sure what type of oak just to be extra safe, but lucky you getting free sawdust!
                Check us out on Facebook at EVER AFTER FARM


                • #9
                  I stand corrected!! I guess in a Senior moment I confused it for Walnut!! Oak should be fine and at a terrific price!!!
                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                  • #10
                    Have used oak, didn't particularly like it. However, one thing that makes a BIG difference is if it was from green wood, or from cured/dry wood No matter WHAT kind of wood, if green it 1) goes thru a "heat" when stored and 2) will NOT absorb at ALL


                    • #11
                      The trouble with sawdust from a mill is that it's always wet since they saw the logs soon after they get them while they are still "green". Even if the lumber is to be kiln dried, the logs are always sawn when they are green and full of moisture.

                      Shavings on the other hand, come from a planing mill. Almost always, the lumber is either air dried or kiln dried before they "dress" it to size by running it through the planer.


                      • #12
                        It will not be as absorbent as pine shavings but shouldn't harm your horses....I don't like to use sawdust at all, I prefer pine shavings. Sawdust and shavings are not the same thing. But free is free....
                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


                        • #13
                          Lucky you!!


                          • #14
                            I've been using it for years, and so have many, many others around here. It works fine. My barn aisle is sawdust, so I spread the green stuff in the aisle where it dries, then shovel into stalls as needed.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                              I've been using it for years, and so have many, many others around here. It works fine. My barn aisle is sawdust, so I spread the green stuff in the aisle where it dries, then shovel into stalls as needed.

                              This intrigues me... I've never heard of a sawdust floor. How do you keep it clean enough to use in the stalls if you, and presumably the horses, are walking on it in the aisle? Is the aisle all soft and squishy or do you pack it down somehow?
                              Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
                              Thank you for everything boy.

                              Better View.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by katie+tru View Post
                                This intrigues me... I've never heard of a sawdust floor. How do you keep it clean enough to use in the stalls if you, and presumably the horses, are walking on it in the aisle? Is the aisle all soft and squishy or do you pack it down somehow?
                                It's a private barn, my horses don't spend much time in the aisle! But, I first got the idea from a training barn, and the bedding stays clean enough- hardwood sawdust isn't pretty white like pine anyway. Yeah, when we first get a load of sawdust it's kinda soft, but not too squishy because it's sawdust, not shavings. For a week or so I have to turn it a little to speed the drying, but even though it's not free anymore it's still a whole lot cheaper than bagged so worth the effort. The nice thing about a soft (uncluttered) aisle is that I can ride in it if I want to- some training barns give up-down lessons and work young horses in the aisle rather than using the indoor where there's more room for distraction.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks everyone for weighing in!
                                  We got the first load yesterday, and so far so good! I've been using pelleted bedding all winter, and plan to have some on hand to mix with the sawdust if it seems particularly damp, but the stuff I got last night is fairly dry. Just not dry enough to be dusty (yay!).

                                  I may change my mind, but so far I'm thrilled to have something to cut the expen$isve pellets with!