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Shavings - Bulk or Bagged

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  • Shavings - Bulk or Bagged

    So we're going to be moving into our new farm in about a week. Initially we'll need to used bag shavings just because we don't have storage space for bulk. My DH and I have been discussing the difference. I feel that bagged are less dusty and it's easier to move bags than shovel the bulk. Obviously bulk would be cheaper. Looking for the experience other's have had.

  • #2
    We get 1/2 or 3/4 semi loads of bagged shavings. We have been happiest with Brightside and Guardian. We have a tractor big enough to offload the 2,000 pound pallets.

    I have yet to see bulk that is in any way close to the quality of bagged.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bagged. I used to work for a trainer that used bulk. They were dusty and filthy. They seem to have half the lifespan of bagged shavings.

      I know this doesn't work for everyone, but I use pelleted bedding and I've never been happier. No dust, incredibly easy to move and store, they last forever, they are easy to clean....

      "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester

      Comment


      • #4
        The convenience of the bagged is worth the cost, IMO. You don't have to worry about covering the bulk, or keeping things out of making burrows, it's easy to transport - even if you don't have a tractor to haul the bags in bulk you can tear down the pallets and move the bags. With bulk you need a wheel barrow or buckets or something to move it, then it's going to be blowing all about, falling on the ground and making a general mess.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Angelico View Post
          Bagged. I used to work for a trainer that used bulk. They were dusty and filthy. They seem to have half the lifespan of bagged shavings.

          I know this doesn't work for everyone, but I use pelleted bedding and I've never been happier. No dust, incredibly easy to move and store, they last forever, they are easy to clean....
          I just switched to pelleted bedding and I have no idea how I managed before! I LOVE them!!!! I use 4 bags in a stall with mats and they last at least 3 weeks! I will never go back to regular shavings!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Angelico View Post
            Bagged. I used to work for a trainer that used bulk. They were dusty and filthy. They seem to have half the lifespan of bagged shavings....
            Interesting. I've been a bulk user for more than 20 years and have never experienced this. I think this may be a supplier issue, rather than a general, across-the-board problem with bulk shavings/sawdust. We get 1,350 cubic feet from American Wood Fibers and the stuff is lovely ... it is the same as what they sell as their bagged product. We have a storage location that is close to the barn, so walking a few wheelbarrow loads over every 2-3 days is not a problem. And one delivery lasts us 14-15 months.

            *star*
            "Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."
            - Desiderata, (c) Max Ehrman, 1926

            Comment


            • #7
              We used to use bulk sawdust with bagged pelleted bedding. LOVED the pellets. I liked the sawdust better because the clean part just fell through, as opposed to having to shake the stall fork to get the clean bagged shavings off.

              Comment


              • #8
                Another vote for bagged only. While I now have my own place, over the decades I never boarded anywhere (& some places were fairly elite) where the bulk shavings were anything but finely cut & dusty. And in more than a few occasions, the shavings contained all sorts of flotsam & jetsam (nails, cans,, plastic bags, etc., etc.) &/or came from questionable varieties of wood. At one boarding barn, they got in a load of shavings made from mixed "hardwoods", & within hours my mare broke out in horrendous hives that remained until we stripped the stall & I bought & bedded her down with bagged pine. Vet did feel that it was due to the "mystery shavings". Who needs that?

                In addition, the bulk piles attracted mice, toads, snakes - you name it. (The local Rat Snakes frequently found the medium of bulk wood shavings the perfect place to lay their eggs. Not that we were afraid of the snakes - just that we found it uber-sad when their nest clutches would end up destroyed from barn workers digging out the (frequently damp) shavings when re-bedding stalls.) Who needs that?

                Have never had any problems with bagged shavings. They're always clean, never dusty, always PINE, easy to store, & because they're bagged, the quality remains the same over time. No deterioration.

                Absolutely no contest for me. Bagged shavings all the way.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've been using bagged shavings for the last year or so. It has become such a huge pain in the butt to p/u bulk shavings and if we have them delivered the cost isn't alot less than buying the bags. Bags are so much cleaner and are very condensed so they go a long way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Bulk shavings here- delivered and put in the barn. Very clean softwood shavings. Same quality as the baled shavings we get around here but one/quarter the cost. You just have to find a supplier with reliable quality. No pests found in the pile yet after 11 years doing it this way. I like the pellets too but they also cost about 4 times as much as bulk shavings. I have tried them all and compared my costs over the years.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Another vote for bagged shavings. The time & aggravation saved in bedding stalls is worth the extra $$. I have worked with both, but find the bagged really help in keeping costs low for me.

                      My method.

                      Take everything down to the mats out once a month
                      re-bed with 3 bags first week
                      add one bag a week for two weeks
                      last week no new shavings (unless stall is nasty in any way)
                      I am the type that spends 30 mins on one stall making sure his home is perfect.

                      So all in all bedding costs me about $30-35 per month.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ShotenStar View Post
                        Interesting. I've been a bulk user for more than 20 years and have never experienced this. I think this may be a supplier issue, rather than a general, across-the-board problem with bulk shavings/sawdust. We get 1,350 cubic feet from American Wood Fibers and the stuff is lovely ... it is the same as what they sell as their bagged product. We have a storage location that is close to the barn, so walking a few wheelbarrow loads over every 2-3 days is not a problem. And one delivery lasts us 14-15 months.

                        *star*
                        You are right there, it definitely is more of a supplier thing than anything. I honestly don't think the shavings were intended for horses, they were what a lumber place had leftover. Not cleaned or anything. They were always different sorts of wood, the only consistency was the dust.


                        I'm glad that someone else here is a pellet person! OP, I highly recommend you give them a try before making a decision.

                        "Pat the horse; kick yourself" - Carl Hester

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My area has several sawmills and some wood products
                          producers so finding someone selling wood byproducts
                          is fairly easy. We us a trailer made from a pickup truck
                          box with solid sides added. I take it to the manufacturer
                          and they fill the box for a modest sum. Then it sits in my
                          barn until empty. Bedding stays neat and clean until used.

                          A friend does something similar using a gravity box.

                          No piles to maintain, no buildings to build, not much worry
                          about animals getting into the bedding. Moderate investment in the transport/storage implement. I wouldn't
                          do bulk any other way.
                          Robin from Dancing Horse Hill
                          Elmwood, Wisconsin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Bagged. You don't have to worry about storing it or it going bad if you don't use it for a while. It won't blow away. Much easier to handle and use. In my experience, it's better quality and less dusty too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Robin@DHH View Post
                              My area has several sawmills and some wood products
                              producers so finding someone selling wood byproducts
                              is fairly easy. ..
                              You have to be careful using sawmill byproducts because there's no real way to know what kinds of wood are being used. Some woods (black walnut, for example) are highly toxic to horses and should not be used in bedding. When you buy bagged, you know what you're getting.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks for all the info. I figured I'd be happier with baged and I think you have all reinforced that. We had talked about putting up a building for bulk storage, but I think that will go way down on the list.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by harnessphoto View Post
                                  You have to be careful using sawmill byproducts because there's no real way to know what kinds of wood are being used. Some woods (black walnut, for example) are highly toxic to horses and should not be used in bedding. When you buy bagged, you know what you're getting.
                                  True, but in this area, lots of people get bulk green sawdust from sawmills. Most of the sawmills are Amish run and they know what can happen from Black Walnut shavings. The biggest mill I use never mills walnut. My first question to a new supplier or to one I haven't used in a while is always "Do you/have you milled any BW lately?" It's a high $$ wood and most of them don't touch it. I did turn away once from a small mill that had custom cut some walnut for somebody- they told me straight up I didn't want any sawdust from them, at least not for horse bedding.

                                  At $5/truckload (you shovel) or $15/load (big payloader scoop), you can't beat the price of bulk. The last load delivered- tri-axle dump truck- cost $300 IIRC. That's a lot of sawdust! I just got a number of a new guy with a smaller truck that should fit down my barn aisle- I'm hoping he'll be reasonably priced.

                                  I don't "store" my sawdust. My barn aisle is sawdust (it was really deep sawdust after that dump truck load!), and I just shovel it in the stalls as needed. Since I'm getting green sawdust, spreading it the barn aisle allows it to dry out.

                                  I much prefer sawdust to shavings- more absorbent IMO and much easier to pick out. I think bagged are much dustier than sawdust. I hate cleaning stalls at a horse show where we've had to use bagged.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by shakeytails View Post
                                    True, but in this area, lots of people get bulk green sawdust from sawmills. Most of the sawmills are Amish run and they know what can happen from Black Walnut shavings. The biggest mill I use never mills walnut. My first question to a new supplier or to one I haven't used in a while is always "Do you/have you milled any BW lately?" It's a high $$ wood and most of them don't touch it. I did turn away once from a small mill that had custom cut some walnut for somebody- they told me straight up I didn't want any sawdust from them, at least not for horse bedding.

                                    At $5/truckload (you shovel) or $15/load (big payloader scoop), you can't beat the price of bulk. The last load delivered- tri-axle dump truck- cost $300 IIRC. That's a lot of sawdust! I just got a number of a new guy with a smaller truck that should fit down my barn aisle- I'm hoping he'll be reasonably priced.

                                    I don't "store" my sawdust. My barn aisle is sawdust (it was really deep sawdust after that dump truck load!), and I just shovel it in the stalls as needed. Since I'm getting green sawdust, spreading it the barn aisle allows it to dry out.

                                    I much prefer sawdust to shavings- more absorbent IMO and much easier to pick out. I think bagged are much dustier than sawdust. I hate cleaning stalls at a horse show where we've had to use bagged.
                                    Can you post a pic of your barn? I'm trying to imagine what that aisle looks like.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've never seen a mill that doesn't know that Black Walnut isn't good for horses. Most mills sell their byproduct to horse people and selling horse people black walnut would be bad for business.

                                      The mills my barn gets sawdust from have "black walnut" days or weeks where we can't get any sawdust. I think they burn it.

                                      My barn can't handle a raised bed dump truck due to the rafters but we get it delivered from someone with a truck that has one of those conveyor belt beds and it gets dumped right in the 12 foot wide aisles. There's enough room to lead horses around it when it's a new load although we do have to dig a stall door out occasionally. The horses get used to walking around the pile very fast.

                                      I would never buy in bagged if I had a choice. So much more expensive.
                                      http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I did the cost analysis for bagged vs. bulk vs. premium bulk. The bagged and premium are essentially the same product - kiln dried, screened and wonderful. The delivered cost of the bulk was nearly the same cost as me picking up premium bulk. The bags were about 2-3 times as expensive as premium bulk picked up. The delivered non premium bulk tended to be wet, which meant it was heavy and while not useless in the stall, not nearly efficient in soaking up additional wet. So, a related benefit for premium bulk is that I use/discard less than half. The stalls stay drier overall and the waste is significantly less since the kiln dried bedding soaks up urine much more completely with less material.

                                        Comment

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