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How deep for pelleted bedding?

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  • How deep for pelleted bedding?

    For those of you who use pelleted bedding, how deep do you have it? I've started with pelleted for the winter, since my horses are in more due to the rain. I have about an inch over mats. I wet it first before putting it in. But it seems like when I go to clean, it's just one giant pee spot. A lot of damp, not a lot of super wet. I'm taking out the damp, but removing a lot of bedding. Today I put a couple more bags in there to make it more like 2 inches deep, maybe 3. Hoping that keeps the wet spots more concentrated.

    Part of my problem is that I have two horses in a small paddock with access to 2 stalls. They seem to prefer being in one stall (based on bedding removal!). They do eat the hay out of both stalls but must use the one for most of the peeing. So maybe it's a lost cause.

  • #2
    For starters, it isn't safe to let two horses get inside such an enclosed space with a resource (hay). Either put each horse in his own stall and shut the door, or leave them out. You are asking for big time vet bills any other way.

    Now to the pelleted bedding. For summertime, we put in about an inch, but then they are only in to be fed or if there is a truely horrible storm wherein we are worried about large hail. If they are really going to be IN, then you need more. How much more depends on where in the country you are and how long are they in the stalls and other factors (temperature, does the horse lie down or are they a stall walker or ...)

    I find that it works well to not wet the bedding fully, so that there are still some pellets. It will absorb more that way and last longer. You have to get it to dry out in the stall too. If it is soaked with water, it isn't going to absorb any pee.

    Beyond that, you need to find out if one of your horses is producing excessive amounts of urine, as this indicates a health problem like IR or Cushings.

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    • #3
      There's two schools of thought on pelleted bedding:
      Lots of places keep the pelleted bedding pretty low...this way it takes 2 minutes to clean but you waste more bedding.
      Others bed pretty deep, which is what I do.
      In at least 4" of bedding over mats, the bedding acts just like a cat's litter box with the scoopable litter. The pee stays in one area and kind of clumps. In shallow bedding the urine spreads on the mat and soaks a *lot* more bedding because the puddle spreads faster than the pellets can soak it up.
      How big are the stalls and how many bags of bedding are you using?
      In a 10x12 with mats you'll want at least 4-5 bags per stall...which will give you a fluffed up bed of about 5-6" deep. In a 12x12 you
      ll want 5-6 bags.
      A good way to activate a stall that's going to have 2 horses urinating in it is to open half the bags needed to start the stall and spread them over the mats dry. Then using a watering can or hose with a sprayer...spray the pellets with about 1/2 gallon water per bag. Yeah, you can use a gallon or more per bag but then you're also using up a lot more of the pellets' absorbing capacity. Turn the pellets that are damp and give them 15 minutes or so to fluff a bit. Then pour the other half of the bags into the stall and stir them up one more time.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!
      ...Belefonte

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      • #4
        We vary depending on the horse. We use up to 6 bags for a 12 x 12 stall. We do pick the stall several times a day (night turnout) and at night check (day turnout). We wet them pretty thoroughly so they are fluffed up. We have one guy who has not had any added to his stall in 3 weeks (but, he won't pee in his stall unless he absolutely has to!) When we have a really cold snap (pellets freeze as soon as water hits them) we throw shavings on top of the pellets. Works fairly well.

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        • #5
          Do the horses ever look to eat the non broken down yet pellets?

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          • #6
            Only one of mine tried it a couple times...and then only because I was adding new bedding while he was in. According to Pete...a big bag being emptied of pellets in a stall meant feeding time. He turned right around and grabbed a mouthful, started chewing and then tried spitting it all out again.
            Second time he did the same and spit it out again. After that he just ignored the Yucky Fake Grain I was pouring out, LOL!
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!
            ...Belefonte

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            • #7
              My horse never tries to eat the pellets. Matter of fact, he doesn't eat any grain he spills into the bedding. According to him, the pelleted bedding is nasty stuff and you do not want it in your mouth.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Susyq, I have actually found that mixing pellets and shavings works well and offers a bit more bedding. I put the pellets, not water down were they tend to go to the bathroom and on the top, normal shavings. The pellets pop right through the normal shavings making it easy to find. One of my guys actually goes directly were the pellets are, he finds them and uses that spot to pee.

                Just another thought, idea. Have fun !

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                • #9
                  My theory is that one bag might last say two days. Five bags would last at least ten.
                  The pee clumps better and you get the advantage of a bigger, deeper bed. Once fluffed up it is mazing how far they go. Course, as the stall gets cleaned out, more is added, but my point is that useing less pellets is not really a savings. I add at the front, clean out from the back and push the more used stuff to the back where they leave their manure.

                  I do think they have the ability to keep the feet drier in the winter. My farrier says my horses feet have improved since I used the pellets.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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                  • #10
                    I use 5-6 bags per 12 x 12 stall, and it's probably 3"-ish. I liked 8 bags a lot better, but that got pretty expensive.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We use 8 bags/12x12 stall over mats. The horses all sleep flat out every night (guess it's comfy? Or we have lazy horses ) and you waste much, much less bedding with so much volume to absorb and clump immediately. It's a bit of a hassle picking poop piles with so much extra bedding (especially right after a stall strip with a full eight bags just added) but only for my horse that tends to walk his hay/poop/pee in circles and really mix it up.

                      Plus, my grey horse stays much more white!

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                      • #12
                        Huh. We don't wet. Dump em in a pile in the center of the stall and let the horse spread them by walking, and break them down themselves with pee or feet.

                        And yes, my TB tried a bite of them. Did not enjoy.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MistyBlue View Post
                          In at least 4" of bedding over mats, the bedding acts just like a cat's litter box with the scoopable litter. The pee stays in one area and kind of clumps. In shallow bedding the urine spreads on the mat and soaks a *lot* more bedding because the puddle spreads faster than the pellets can soak it up.
                          Agree with this 100%. I really found this out before I bought pellets by the pallet load (85 bags) and would skimp or run out before my next trip to the feed store. If they get too thin, one good pee will drench the entire stall as it spreads. Deeper is better; the "clump" will be sort of *vertical* and easy to remove.

                          As for the two horses in one stall, thing, my stalls are open all day for a run in; one stall for each horse. When we had an elderly gelding my mare would stall with him EVERY single day. You couldn't keep them apart and we never had any issues. But it does depend on your herd. She will NEVER let the new gelding in her stall, and I'm sure if he tried she'd take a big bite out of him.

                          We do find, however, that they sometimes take turns using the same stall as the "toilet". Different issue, though.

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                          • #14
                            We've just had a VERY humid/wet summer and fall. I just switched to the straw pellets......and when it's really humid, I feel the straw bedding holds the moisture too.........so it doesn't clean as easily. However, my shavings did the same!
                            www.flyingcolorsfarm.comHome of pinto stallion Claim to Fame and his homozygous son, Counterclaim. Friend us on Facebook!https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Fl...04678589573428

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                            • #15
                              We keep about 3 inches in our stalls, for our horses that are stalled 10-14 hours per day (day in summer, night in winter). Really, it's 2 (end of week) to 4 (beginning of week) inches.

                              Once you have that base, we've found we only need to add one bag to each stall per week (Sundays ). And we have two horses that do their best not to pee in their stalls, so for them it's even less. My standing order is 15 bags per month for 5 horses, and most of the time that works out fine.

                              I wet down stalls once, sometimes twice a week to minimize dust. A little more for the horses that don't pee in their stalls.

                              We had a real problem with two of the horses eating the pellets when we first made the switch a few years ago. After about a week they figured it out.
                              "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
                              <>< I.I.

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