• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.



Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less


  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Straw

    Does anyone here still bed with straw?
    How many bales do you go through in a week/month?

    (Based on horses being out a lot, I know with good mucking I can do 1 bag shavings/week +1 extra a month).

    For any other animals as well?
    "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
    Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
    Need You Now Equine

  • #2
    For us, I haven't found straw alone, to be a good bedding. Local straw all seems to be the shiny wheat straw, so not very absorbent unless you chop it. Chopped straw is equal to sawdust or shavings in absorbtion, very nice stuff. I use a leaf shredder to chop straw, but a if you have farm equipment maybe you have a chopper that will do the job. I chop several bales at a time, store the stuff in a few leaf bags. Chopping really reduces the straw bulk, so you need to do more than one bale. And the chopping can be very dirty, dusty, so I always do it outside.

    I find that it takes a couple bales of chopped straw to fill a box stall, 12 x12 ft, with a nice layer. Then you can easily remove the wet or dirty stuff, put more chopped straw in.

    Using just regular wheat straw, not chopped, the stall can LOOK great, but has almost no absorbtion factor. The wet just runs to the bottom and stays put. Horse may be a stall pacer, totally mix wet and dry, to require removing all the bedding. Lifting out any wet stuff, the puddles stay on the bottom. I had to add wood pellets (had no sawdust which is why I used straw) for absorbtion. So long straw over pellets in wet spots is a nice bed in the stall for horse. Not wet. Shavings are way too expensive for home use here. If I have sawdust, I use that alone, no straw at all.

    We usually only have straw for foaling mares, or when our past sawdust guy got behind on deliveries. I do use straw in one corner over sawdust for the 4-H calves. Cattle LOVE to lay in straw, calves hide in fluffy piles if they have straw.

    I had to get another pitchfork to work the straw with, has 10 steel wire tines. Does well on both long straw and chopped moving, sorting and cleaning. Plastic sawdust fork just doesn't work on straw at all. I found my old pitchfork of 6 tines let too much stuff fall between, so kept picking up the same stuff as I lost it across the stall. REALLY irritating!!

    Straw is pretty cheap, easier to handle than loose shavings or sawdust in some ways, but bulky for spreading on the field. Straw does break down fast when spread. Just not absorbative by itself, as the only bedding used.

    Without a bulk storage place, chopping straw is kind of a pain. Though the chopped straw is a GREAT bedding, equal to sawdust for me.


    • Original Poster

      Wow! Thank goodhors, that was great info .

      I was comparing prices today, I hadn't previously considered switching, but I have an extremely clean mare & with straw at less then half price of shavings which are frequently inconsistent quality and not always in constant supply :S.

      Do you find the chopped straw breaks down any faster?
      "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
      Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
      Need You Now Equine


      • #4
        Chopped straw when spread, is about invisble in a couple weeks. All those cut ends absorb liquid very fast, whether in a stall or morning dew. Helps them break down really quickly. Probably equal to mowing the pasture, leaving the cut stuff on. Cut grass disappears pretty fast too after a mowing. They say if you leave cut grass lay, by the end of summer it equals an application of fertilizer for your lawn/pasture. Just don't cut pasture too short, less than about 5 inches. Height keeps leaves feeding the plant, protects the roots. I cut when grass gets about 8-10 inches tall, to prevent seed development. Going to seed means the plant can shut down, goes dormant for the rest of the season.

        With my sawdust bedding spread, it acts more like mulch, layers stay in place holding moisture for the plants, protecting any bare soil. This is fine, very helpful in hot summer sun, hard rains. Does not break down fast at all.

        Any grass product, hay, straw, chopped or long, just breaks down lots faster, so it doesn't protect the plants and soil very long as a mulch does. They do get their nutrients into the soil much faster this way.

        There are good and less good features to both types of bedding spread on fields. For sandy dirt, heavy clay like mine, the longer lasting wood products take a long time to break down, get the organic material into the soil, but their benefits last longer as well. Quick breakdown of the straw and hay products mean they get into the soil quicker, keeps the fertilizer minerals moving quicker to the plants. However their benefits last a much shorter time, need replacing sooner. Again, looks nice fast after spreading, but not much value as a mulch unless you make DEEP layers to protect the soil and plant roots.

        Each kind of bedding is beneficial to the soil you spread it on, but soil testing will be needed to make sure the correct minerals are available to the plants for pasture growth. With my heavy sawdust spreading, my fertilizer recipe changed. I needed more lime in my mix to free up the available Nitrogen already in the soil. Nitrogen is used to break down wood products, feed the plants. My land is a LOT more absorbative with sawdust being worked down into the soil by worms and time. Straw use could skew your mineral needs in fertilizer order a different way. So soil test TELLS you just what is needed for that field, no wasted money putting on minerals you don't need when you fertilize. Lime does seem to aid in mineral linking, but too much is just not utilized well.

        I got my leaf shredder at a local auction, maybe you could find one on craigslist at cheaper than new prices. Uses weed whacker string, is electric. Or other stick choppers for homes, can work just fine for straw chopping, but any method is dusty. Could be quite worth the chopping effort if you save a lot on bagged shavings. Our farm friends run their straw thru the hay chopper and fill half the mow above horses with chopped straw. They just push it down thru floor holes to bed stalls. If I only had 1-2 horses, I would probably do chopping here. However with our quantity of horses, it is way too much work with the leaf shredder.


        • #5
          I suppose if you have drainage in your barn, the wet running off is not a bad thing. But not everybody has a barn build a hundred years ago...

          We used to do deep litter on straw, worked well, you had a nice soft base, topped each night with a new layer. You could ration the hay a bit more, since they always had something to nibble when they got bored (so if your horse is a pig, gotta watch it, also, you have to know what kind of straw you are using: My sister's gelding is allergic to barley...she found that out right after she had stocked up on barley straw...)

          I do not care much actually for either bedding when it's not deep and fluffy. there is just this wrong feel for me when you can hear the base under the hooves (stalls were paved)

          We generally stripped every week.


          • #6
            I bed on straw over a bag of pelleted bedding (to soak up pee). Horses are in 12/out 12. I go through maybe 2 bales of straw and 2-3 bags of pellets a month per horse.
            Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
            Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
            VW sucks.


            • #7
              I use straw now year round for all horses. I prefer to muck it over a shavings stall. I find it easier and faster than shavings. It also makes far superior compost and I do a lot of gardening.

              I go through for two horses a bale every other day. One mare is a terrible pig...so if not for her, it would be even less. That figures inside overnight or 12-14 hours. Summer time on night turnout it's even less.

              I pay $4.95 for a large wired bale. I figured once that I save $50 a month using the straw over bagged shavings. I did that also for a while and could not stand the dust so switched back to straw. Bulk shavings are about the same in cost but all bulk shavings I've ever gotten were really dusty.


              • #8
                I use straw, I think my barn smells better, I prefer mucking straw. While $5.50 bale delivered and stack its still cheaper than shavings.
                Also removal is great, I get paid for it!!


                • #9
                  I love straw but my gelding is such a pig he eats it all!!
                  I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.


                  • #10
                    I love straw. Use it alone except for the two geldings. They get a 1/2 bag of shavings on their pee spot with straw over top. Straw is very resonable in my area @ $3.00 bale (and they are nice large bales!) so I save quite a bit of $ over the cost of shavings.


                    • #11
                      I bed everything on straw on dirt floors. We do get some pee spots, but I've found that if you rake the broken down straw/hay dirt in to the pee spot, it absorbs whatever lakes they create. In heavy winter I go through 2-3 bales per box stall (12x12). This time of year when they're out a lot, each stall uses probably about half of that. Around here, I get straw delivered for $3.75. I agree with the above poster that it's better for the environment, makes a great fertilizer, I think the stalls smell better in the long run that with shavings. Of course, nothing beats the smell of fresh bags of shavings though!
                      Life is hard. After all, it kills you. - K. Hepburn


                      • #12
                        We layer shavings and straw, deep-litter, and it seems to work extremely well. No "floor" in the barn, just stone dust over gravel over dirt, and the horses are certainly not in 24/7, not even 12/7.

                        My advice would be to get large squares if you can, because the straw has already been chopped, which makes it very easy to spread fresh, and then kick around as it's breaking down in the deep litter, and eventually, it breaks down that much faster in the muck heap.