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WOW - bad news about bedding today!

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  • WOW - bad news about bedding today!

    Went to replenish our supply of Boreal wood pellets at the local Agway today and was informed the plant that makes them has closed down for two months for lack of sawdust. They had a few bags of Woodipet, which I don't like and which are much more expensive, and no guarantees even they would be restocked. Pine shavings are scarce and expensive now, too.

    I drove across the state line to a much larger Agway store. They only have 500 bags of Boreal left, so I bought 40 bags (usually only get 15 at a time, tops). Price was still $4.79/bag. Apparently, all wood pellet bedding sources are without sawdust this winter - another victim of the economic slowdown.This will also affect Tractor Supply and other outlets, as well.

    So, what would one do if bedding became unavailable? My horses live out with rubber matted, bedded run ins. I could let the bedding go, but uck! All three use one of the stalls to pee and poop in - disgusting with bedding. Can't imagine it without.

    Suggestions? Cheap, easy to clean, easily composted?

    I have three, so bulk sawdust would be impractical, especially since I have no storage.
    Form follows function, or does function follow form?

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  • #2
    Darn, that's what I use, too! I have probably a half-pallet load....actually probably less than that. But I will be frugal from now on and ask about this when I go to Agway next.

    In your case, I might resort to straw. I hate to say it (and really hate to use it!) but your set up is quite like mine; my two have free access to their matted stalls 24/7 but rarely sleep in them....and I've only seen my mare lay in her stall once in almost 3 years. I hate shavings w/ regard to composting (aka they never break down) so that's my big pet peeve with shavings. At least with straw you could pile it up and eventually dump it on your garden or in our case, we have a "farm road" that is just clay and we mulch it with our manure pile contents after we've flipped them a few times to keep it from eroding.

    Ick. What about....[gasp]....stove pellets? I actually got the Boreal stove pellets once by mistake and they are no where near as good as the all-pine pellets....but in comparison to straw or shavings, especially in a run-in situation....I'd go with them. I have to say that the chances of black walnut in stove pellets has to be very, very, very slim.

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    • #3
      I would have to say the chance for Black Walnut in stove pellets is probably much higher than you think. I would suspect that all the product that can NOT go into stall pellets would be in the wood-burning ones.

      Comment


      • #4
        Interesting news, haven't heard it in our area (Virginia) yet but maybe I should stock up!! I use Guardian pelleted sawdust bedding and love it. The price hasn't changed so far this winter, in our area it's $6 per 40 lb bag, which equates to about a wheelbarrow full of bulk sawdust.

        There is also a pelleted straw product called StreuFex. I tried it in comparison with shavings and the Guardian. The pelleted straw really absorbs the urine and is easy to clean, but it does get dusty after a week or so when it breaks down and it has really fine dust and a peculiar odor. Others on this board have given a thumbs up to chopped straw. The StreuFex is not cheap, in our area, about $7 per bag. There may be other pelleted straw products if you search online.

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        • #5
          Southern States here and at least one of the feed stores are totally out of bagged shavings except for Suncoast (which I use, so I'm fine). They said it would be a couple of weeks. Said that the lumber/house building biz being affected by the economy was the reason. Yow!
          http://www.angelfire.com/ult/irishmosaic/Dublin/

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          • #6
            I'm sure this will make people's eyes bug out, but a few months ago, I moved to a barn that uses only a *very* thin bed of shavings in the back half of the matted stalls. The horses are out during the day, in at night, and the stalls are matted. At first I was extremely concerned about this setup, but the stalls seem to stay dry, the barn has no odor problem, and the horses do still lie down to rest.

            Some folks in our area are converting to paper shavings, too.
            Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gabz View Post
              I would have to say the chance for Black Walnut in stove pellets is probably much higher than you think. I would suspect that all the product that can NOT go into stall pellets would be in the wood-burning ones.
              Well, yes...you would get all the "leftovers"...but correct me if I'm wrong...isn't black walnut an extemely desireable and expensive wood? Not used for burning but for finer furniture? My point is that it would be far less likely to end up as sawdust at all, but certainly would not be purchased for the purpose of being made into stove pellets. So there might be some sawdust that gets included in stove pellets, but by and large, it would be one of the least likely contents of stove pellets?

              Again, I'll stand corrected if people know differently. I researched this high and low because stove pellets are by far cheaper...and many brands are *mostly* pine but won't guarantee that they are ALL pine...I was never able to find anything online about pellet contents but certainly never found a single suggestion that stove pellets were *known* to be dangerous.

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              • #8
                I predicted this very thing 2 years ago and every poo-pooed what I was saying as things werent THAT bad 2 years ago ...

                WAIT

                If you think THIS year is bad, wait until next year and 2011. There will literally not be one single shaving or speck of sawdust to be had anywhere and it has little to nothing to do with the economic slowdown and EVERYTHING to do with Kyoto and Carbon Credits and the fact that the rest of the world except for Canada and the USA are converting homes, commercial and industrial applications to pellet burning tehcnology and their governments are heavily subsidizing the switch over from coal fired to pellet burning tehcnology ...

                I hate to sound like a broken record but make provisions NOW to find alternate bedding supplies and build up a rapport and a history with that supplier be cause you are going to need it in 2010 and 2011 and beyond when EVERYONE is scrambling to find something to be their livestock on

                Yes - *I* sell an alternate bedding - EcoStraw - a compressed straw pellet whose sales are taking off incredibly in the last year. Because these pellets are compressed and not extruded like wood pellets are, their BTU factor is virtually nil and they are of little to no use to the pellet burning industry. It also means you dont need to wet them like you do with wood pellets to make them expand and fluff up

                http://www.angelfire.com/on3/TrueCol.../EcoStraw.html

                In the last 3-4 months I have fielded enquiries from OK, TX, CA, OR, WA and all points east of that. I can easily and economically get product to the east coast and some mid Western States but unfortunately I havent been able to find any cost effective manner to get them further than that

                The predictions are as well that what you are paying for a 3.25 cuft bag of shavings today will be double at this time next year - IF you can even find any to buy

                Honestly - buy my product, buy something else - I dont care, but honestly and truly work your butt off NOW to find something other than shavings and sawdust to bed your horses on. You will be very grateful that you did so ...

                S1969 - way back when when there was no use for sawdust, dust, wood filings, that kind of stuff was swept into the dustbin and sent to the landfill sites. Now - in the manufacturing of composite boards AND wood pellets, every single dust bit and fibre of wood is carefully swept up, sold and sent to a secondary use manufacturing facility. So while black walnut is a wonderful and valuable wood for furniture making, the scrap "bits" have no use other than pellets and composite boards.
                Call a stove pellet manufacturer on Monday and ask them if they can guarantee, in writing, what woods are or are not in their pellets. They cant and wont be cause they dont have a clue themselves what is in each batch and today's batch will be vastly different from what is in next week's batch. And honestly - they dont care. If its wood, and it can be extruded into pellets - they use it
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                • #9
                  Can't black walnut be toxic to horses?

                  http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html
                  ---
                  They're small hearts.

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                  • #10
                    Can't black walnut be toxic to horses?
                    Horribly toxic. It usually results in severe laminitis ... and it doesnt take much either. Literally about a teaspoon full mixed into your 12 x 12 stall worth of bedding would be enough to set them off ...
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TrueColours View Post
                      S1969 - way back when when there was no use for sawdust, dust, wood filings, that kind of stuff was swept into the dustbin and sent to the landfill sites. Now - in the manufacturing of composite boards AND wood pellets, every single dust bit and fibre of wood is carefully swept up, sold and sent to a secondary use manufacturing facility. So while black walnut is a wonderful and valuable wood for furniture making, the scrap "bits" have no use other than pellets and composite boards.
                      Call a stove pellet manufacturer on Monday and ask them if they can guarantee, in writing, what woods are or are not in their pellets. They cant and wont be cause they dont have a clue themselves what is in each batch and today's batch will be vastly different from what is in next week's batch. And honestly - they dont care. If its wood, and it can be extruded into pellets - they use it
                      I believe you. I am not doubting that there *could* be black walnut in pellets and that suppliers will NOT guarantee the safety of their products. Which is why I pay the extra $ for the "equine" pellets even though they appear virtually identical to the stove pellets that are *mostly* pine. I am just saying in practice....I would suspect the amount (if any) of black walnut in a ton of pellets would be very low. And I recall several threads here when I was researching pelleted bedding where some people routinely used stove pellets for bedding without incident.

                      I'm interested in alternative bedding. Haven't researched straw pellets yet but the concept of recycled paper is interesting, considering the mountainous pile of newspapers needing recylcing in my own house.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm interested in alternative bedding. Haven't researched straw pellets yet but the concept of recycled paper is interesting, considering the mountainous pile of newspapers needing recylcing in my own house.
                        If you are inclined to do so, buy a cross cut paper shredder and you can easily make your own bedding and as long as the ink used on the papers is vegetable based (which most are now) you are good to go!

                        And I recall several threads here when I was researching pelleted bedding where some people routinely used stove pellets for bedding without incident.
                        Yup.

                        And Russian Roulette is safe too as long as you dont get the bullet ...
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TrueColours View Post
                          Yup.

                          And Russian Roulette is safe too as long as you dont get the bullet ...
                          But just for argument's sake....has anyone EVER heard of ANY horse that has EVER had any incident from wood pelleted bedding....stove or otherwise? Except for the few that try to eat them?

                          Seriously. I am honestly wondering if the horse owners aren't getting truly fleeced due to an unreasonable fear of black walnut. As I already mentioned - I don't buy stove pellets *just in case*. But I really wonder if there is any reason to really be concerned (any more than a lightening strike?).

                          I'm sure we'll never see actual research showing the wood content by % across 100,000 bags of stove pellets, but I would love to know.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If the pellets originate from the PNW, there won't be any black walnut in them--those are rare, rare trees here, mostly found in people's yards, if at all. The majority of woods used here are Douglas Fir, Hemlock, Cedar, White Fir and various Pines. I use stove pellets for bedding sourced about 25 miles from my house. The housing market crash is definitely making pellet prices rise, and reduce the supply of sawdust used to make them. But...the popularity of pellet stoves here in N.America and, more importantly, in Europe, is leading to a thriving market for stove pellets--driving up demand and cost.

                            Heck, the same plant that makes Bear Mountain makes Dry Den horse bedding pellets--from the same wood sources. ABM out of BC makes stove and bedding pellets, too.
                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                            • #15
                              S1969--I'm with you! How many Black Walnut trees grow in the forests of the East coast or Mid-West?? I'm very serious. What kinds of trees are being cut for lumber East of the Mississippi?
                              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I used wood stoved pellets by the pallet full for 22 horses for 3 years with 100% safety.
                                "If you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there"

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  For those of you using wood stove pellets for bedding, are you using just softwood, or are you using hardwood/mixture?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    What about just plain straw? It's a warm comfortable bed for the horses and one of my favorites. I think straw is way less dusty also than most wood products and while they do have some absorption issues you can put some pellets or shavings underneath for additional urine absorption.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Peatmoss is expensive but mixed with sawdust works well. Look into SoftStall and similiar stall mats.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I agree 100%. If the wood stove pellets are being produced in an area where there isnt a BW tree for thousands of miles, the chances of you getting BW mixed in is slim to none ...

                                        This was posted on one of our Canadian boards:

                                        We have a wood pellet burning stove as our heat source and have been having a devil of a time getting hard wood pellets since mid September! We finally managed to aquire 2 pallet loads (75 per) but had to pay almost $7. per bag - during the summer it was $5.00 per bag. I have been told the reason behind this is that a major plant in Quebec was totally burned in a fire hence the shortage. So, when getting upset about the fact that pellets might be rationed, it is because some of us use them for heat!
                                        There were 2 plants in Quebec shut down a few weeks ago due to a slowing economy (and Quebec also with BC are our 2 major pulp and paper producing areas) and now one has burned down. Combine that with the shutdowns in the USA and it is reaching critical stages ...

                                        As well as the availability and cost of different bedding products, you need to look at compostability and Manure Handling issues as they relate to your area. Its a biggie here in Canada right now - dont know if its the same down in the States as well and is a huge factor in what bedding mediums horse owners choose for their horses

                                        Large flake shavings are the worst culprit. They can take up to 3 years to fully decompose where they are then basically a good, inert, organic substance that can be SAFELY spread on fields and / or used in secondary uses, such as garden soil, etc with the landscape companies

                                        Second are medium flake shavings and straw - up to 2 years to fully decompose and break down. Straw slightly leads the way in this category as it doesnt leach nitrogen from the soil as wood based products would

                                        Third is sawdust and granular shavings products - 6-8 months for them to break down fully and in this category is the ground corn cob bedding as well which again - doesnt have nitrogen issues either

                                        Fourth is shredded cardboard, pelleted paper and cardboard products. They take 3-4 months to fully decompose and be re-used and again - dont have the nitrogen leaching issues to contend with either

                                        (and remember - with the sky high costs of chemical fertilization now, NO farmer in his right mind will put something on his field that he THEN needs to neutralize by added nitrogen to his soil!)

                                        And the best of the lot as far as decomposition rates go are compressed straw pellets, peat moss and hemp bedding taking 2-4 weeks to break down fully before being able to be re-used once again. And with no nitrogen issues at all ...

                                        So - those with small acreages where you need to be aware of how, when and where you get rid of your manure piles - this information is critical, and for those that rely on others to come and take your manure piles away, there are getting to be very few farmers or companies that have the legal space available to them to have a HUGE manure pile sitting there for 3 years waiting to decompose, so they can do something with the end product once again

                                        Gone are the days where you had mushroom farmers clamouring for your used bedding - its cheaper for them now to buy big rounds of straw to use - they dont need your used stuff anymore

                                        A friend of mine had 28 loads of used straw bedding he had to get rid of. 3 days and hundreds of phone calls later he finally got someone to take it all away and it cost him just over $8000.00 to do so

                                        So - all things that you need to look at very very carefully going forward. The cost and availability of the bedding is just one small component in the whole, big picture
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