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Pelleted Bedding Reality?

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  • Pelleted Bedding Reality?

    So, how close are the instructions on the bags of pellets to reality? For instance Equine Pine says use six bags to start, add about one bag a week, and strip every FOUR MONTHS? Seriously? If that is right then they will be just as economical as bagged shavings.....

    So I'm experimenting with the pelleted bedding, put six bags in the stall of the gelding who DESTROYS his stall on a daily basis. Misted with water and stirred as per directions. It's been a week and I reckon I'll add a bag today. Still looks great, though!

    Third Charm Event Team

  • #2

    They are WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY more economical than shavings. Shavings would suck away my horse budget in a second, especially with my two messy guys. They still go through more pellets than my one neat horse, but it still takes them a week to destroy the stall as opposed to overnight!

    Personally, I don't mist my pellets...my guys break them down fast enough. They last longer that way anyway.


    • #3
      This has been my experience:
      Stalls look great at first and are super easy to clean. After several weeks, however, the one bag per week deal doesn't cut it. You'll have to get used to seeing dark brown stalls. You'll be tempted to put in 3 bags at once to freshen up the stall.

      Really neat horses do fine with the pelleted bedding. Piggy horses are a nightmare. If you have a big barn, it works for some and not for others.

      Just my experience.....


      • #4
        Love the wood pellets

        I love the wood pellets ~ never thought I would !!! I put them on the bottom and in wet spots and then top with shavings ~ took me a while to figure out the "perfect mixture" for each of my horses and ponies - some just on wood pellets.
        Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


        • #5
          I use Woody Pet because it seems to have more deodorant properties. I don't mist either. I add a bag about every 5-7 days depending on the weather. He is in an in/out situation, so if the weather is bad, he choses to stay in more, and the stall is more trashed.

          Love the pellets!


          • Original Poster

            So many different outcomes it seems!

            Yeah JSalem I'm concerned about the appearance aspect.... I HOPE it keeps looking good, but if it is going to look icky, even if it is dry and fluffy and fine from the horse's POV, my DH will veto their use (although, since this horse has to have a bag of shavings added daily, maybe it is still more economical to add more and keep it looking good!)

            I'm planning on doing another "trashy" horse's stall with them, and one of our "super neat" horses, just to see how they compare.....

            Third Charm Event Team


            • #7
              At first I followed the bag instructions: loaded the stall, and added weekly. Pre-loading the stall proved to be unnecessary. We use two bags of Equine Fresh weekly during the winter, and one in the summer when the horses are mostly out 24/7 but come in to eat. We use Sweet Pdz on the wet spots on the mat, and rake the bedding over the spots. With daily cleaning and PDZ application, totally mucking out the stalls occurs only once a year, when I pull out the mats and clean them. Otherwise, we just clean and powder as we go, and all works out well.
              "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



              • #8
                We have used pine stove pellets for about 5 years now. I have tried about every combination and or way of using them. With and without shavings,water,mats, you name it.

                Messy horse, or one who is inside most of the time. I start with 2 bags. I lay the bags on their sides and slit open, add water to fluff. I can add another bag in a day or two and as needed after. I remove wet spots daily which keeps the pellets a lighter color with more eye appeal. Even adding a bag every 5 days saves over shavings.

                Neat horse, or one who is outside most of the time. I start with 3 bags and remove all wet spots at each cleaning. I may have to add a bag every 7 to 10 days.

                Too many bags at the beginning leads to the stall getting that dark icky look. It is very dry here and old pellets can get dusty. I prefer to keep the pellets fresher looking by adding a wetted bag a bit more often.

                If a stall gets real dry and dusty I just spray it down and stir. The fluff will soak up a lot of water without feeling wet to the touch.

                It is still a big savings over shavings.


                • #9
                  With really serious stall pigs, bed deeper. I have one gelding who's somewhere between neat and average in his stall and one who pay Lord Of The Dance all night long I think.
                  I bed on pellets, pretty deep. I have 10x12 stalls and do sweep back the bedding in the front 2' so there isn't bedding under the dunking buckets/hay nets...that just ruins bedding anyways. The rest of the stall I keep the bedding between 8-10" deep. I add bedding at a bag per every 6-8 days depending. (shorter time if they've been in more often due to bad weather)

                  The neater horse's bedding pretty much lasts forever. His stall is pale colored dry bedding all the time. Even after months and months. And I only add 2 bags per month to his stall! The piggy guy's stall a little darker in color, but the deeper I keep it the lighter in color and less messy it gets. Apparently it's harder to shred poop balls and churn up pee spots when you're almost knee deep in bedding, LOL!
                  Here are pelleted bedding tips I've tweaked over the years and these work great for me:
                  1) Cleaning is easier to do in terms of removing only wet pee spots and manure and not throwing out good bedding because it sifts very easily. However, do not just race through the stall cleaning because it does need to be sifted and/or turned all over the stall. It's tempting to go right for the dirty spots and remove them and go to the next stall, but make sure to turn the rest of the bedding quick and then always recycle the edges against the walls back over the center. This allow the least used pellets to help out the most used pellets in drying back out again.
                  2) Buy yourself a fine tined basket fork. Does a better job scooping and sifting with pelleted bedding. It's heavier to use than a flat fork because pelleted bedding is heavier than shavings and yoou can pick up a hella lot more in a basket fork. If it's to heavy when you scoop oout huge forkfuls at first, don't fill the fork before lifting and sifting. Over a couple weeks you get used to the weight and it's no big deal. You also get nice definition in your arms.
                  3) For really piggy horses you will need to strip and restart every 3-4 months most likely. If enough poop is ground up too tiny to be sifted out then over time it does discolor the bedding and makes the bedding absorb less.
                  4) Always bed deep with pellets. Doesn't have to be super deep with neater horses but don't be tempted to bed lightly. Pellets work with each other, they don't work well if skimpy. It's like clumping cat litter...urine in shallow bedding can pool and spread soaking a lot more bedding before it clumps. In deeper bedding the urine spots stay smaller and contained and easier to find and remove in one big chunk. Easiest way to remove urine spots is to sweep bedding off the top of the dark soaked spot, use the fork to remove clean bedding from around the side of it and then scoop out the dark clumped spot all at once.
                  5) Pelleted bedding is made to work best on mats. Using mats prolongs the life of the bedding.

                  I haven't stripped my neater horse's stall in over a year. It's white, fluffy, dry and smells brand new. My stall slob gets his stall 'stripped' every 4-5 months or so, although I rarely strip his bare but will remove about 2/3 of it and then add a few new bags. But I do make sure to clean his stall well every day and on days he's in that stall gets picked out 3x per day or else it just goes to hell in a much shorter time. If the horses are going to be for the day due to weather and the slob's bedding isn't very fresh and white already I'll add a bag just to keep the bedding from getting ruined. If it gets too deep I bank some.
                  I save a serious amount of money with pellets. I like deep deep stalls and if I did that on shavings it would cost me a bloody fortune. I go through on average 5-6 bags of bedding per month for the two of them. 5 in warm months when they're out longer and 6 in winter when they come in earlier. To keep the stalls the same depth and as fresh and new as I like them would take at least 3 bags of shavings pr stall per week. Probably more than that.
                  You jump in the saddle,
                  Hold onto the bridle!
                  Jump in the line!


                  • #10
                    I have been using pelleted bedding for more than ten years and I would use it even if were more expensive than shavings. So much easier to clean and REALLY get the wet spots out. . I love how the pelleted bedding 'clumps' when it is wet and you can just take the wet spots out. I hate shavings - so wasteful and so hard ot get the wet spots out and separate good from bad bedding. I complain mightily when I go to shows and have to deal with shavings.

                    I use probably 6 bags to 'start' a stall, but add less than one bag a week to the 'neat' ones, and probably 1 bag a week to the 'messy' mare who is a pee machine. Mine are in at night.

                    As far as stall stripping - I NEVER strip my stalls. The other thing I LOVE about the pelleted bedding. I have mats or maybe I could not get away with that.

                    If you want perfect white bedding, you won't like the pellets. But I learned that DAMPNESS/ODOR is the true barometer of a clean stall, not the color of the bedding.

                    When someone has a really damp stall, I put a whole bag in without any water and mix it in. That really dries it up.

                    Normally I slit the bag open, dump in wheelbarrow and add water and then let sit while I do other chores. I use TerrAmiga. I've used Woody Pet, but can't see much difference and just buy what my feed store carries.
                    Donerail Farm


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Zu Zu View Post
                      I love the wood pellets ~ never thought I would !!! I put them on the bottom and in wet spots and then top with shavings ~ took me a while to figure out the "perfect mixture" for each of my horses and ponies - some just on wood pellets.
                      I use the "combo" also, pellets in the wet spots, topped with fine shavings. I only take out the wet spots once a week, by then the pellets are all clumped together, and I get a good upper body workout. The rest of the week I only remove manure. My stalls are deeply bedded now, because I remove almost no shavings.

                      I use one bag of pellets and one bag of shavings per stall per horse per week. Cost her is about $30.00 per week (or $10 per horse per week). Much easier, cleaner and cheaper than shavings alone.
                      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                      • #12
                        I use 2 - 3 bags in a stall to start with, then usually one bag er week (except a few hogs!). I cannot IMAGINE putting in six bags! when that stuff expands it REALLy expands! My stalls are 10 x 12


                        • #13
                          I tried pellets (both Woody Pet and Equine Fresh) for a couple of seasons a while ago and just was not happy with it as bedding. My complaint was DUST - unless I misted daily the dust was really bad. I tried wetting the pellets first as well as not wetting them at all, and still wound up with the dust coating everything. I switched back to shavings and have been using Guardian Swift Pick bagged shavings (very fine shavings) for quite a while which is the best solution I have found - though still not perfect. Everyone raves about pellets but I just couldn't jump on board with it - was I doing something wrong?
                          Second Fiddle Farm


                          • #14
                            I cannot IMAGINE putting in six bags! when that stuff expands it REALLy expands! My stalls are 10 x 12
                            LOL...imagine opening the stall door and having the horse look *up* at the bedding.
                            I use the WP so the bags are only 30#. My feed store carries one kind of generic type pellet that just doesn't neutralize odor very well nor does it "clump" well so I stick with the WP. They did carry another kind for a short while that was great, and 40# for the same price as the 30# of WP but they don't carry it anymore and I think it was nameless because I don't remember a name on the bag.
                            I start a stall with 5-6 bags for the slob and 4-5 for the neat guy. However I don't soak my pellets first. I spread them on the mats in the stall until they're an even carpet of them and then I either use the hose with a sprayer on it or a watering can and lightly mist the top layer of pellets. Then turn them with the fork and let them fluff on their own. That way they only break down about 25-30% or so and the rest are regular pellets so I don't fluff the whole stall at once. My horses might disappear, LOL! That way they activate as needed and the rest doesn't dry out into talc-like powder.

                            Hoser, sometimes it might be a climate thing. I know some folks have a tough time with pellets getting way too dusty if they live in a very dry climate too. I wouldn't think VA is that dry though. The edges of my stalls can get powdery a bit if I'm not mixing the edges in daily though. Pellets are easier to clean messes out of but a little more work in managing the texture of them.
                            I do like really fine shavings though. At least those have a purpose and will soak stuff up. Large cut shavings are useless, they just look huge and fluffy and appease the humans looking at them. But they pck down under the weight of the horse and provide little support or cushion and they don't absorb a darned thing. When my feed store carried shredded shavings I'd buy a bag for each stall to top off the pellets with and the mix was nice. But pellets don't mix well with big shavings and my store only carries the big and medium shavings now.
                            You jump in the saddle,
                            Hold onto the bridle!
                            Jump in the line!


                            • #15
                              I've been toying w/ the idea of trying the pellets as well. My ponies are currently on a sawdust/fine shaving mix. Do I need to strip the stalls & start fresh w/ all pellets or can I add the pellets to the current bedding - gradually increasing the pellet to sawdust ratio? Also has anyone used the corncob pellets or compressed straw pellets? How do they compare as far as effectiveness & cost?


                              • #16
                                I definitely agree that each barn/horse/stall will be a bit different depending on your horse, climate, how long they are in their stalls, etc.

                                I agree that dust is the primary problem but in my case it is because my horses have free access to their stalls as run-ins and at this time of year they NEVER go in. I could continue to wet the pellets down daily but it seems a useless exercise. So my stalls are dry and dusty.

                                However, in the summer heat and winter wind, they get used much more and I have to handle them differently. In summer I have to work harder to keep them dry between the humidity and horses standing in them all day.

                                And my mare is perfect; only pees in one corner. The two geldings I had this summer were pigs and would flood their stalls once a day.

                                A little trial and error will go a long way in deciding how best to bed each stall. But in the end you will have a smaller manure pile and (hopefully) easier stalls to clean which is a great thing.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                                  A little trial and error will go a long way in deciding how best to bed each stall. But in the end you will have a smaller manure pile and (hopefully) easier stalls to clean which is a great thing.
                                  Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

                                  I've always used shavings at the various barns I've been at. Have been following this thread with interest as we look to having our own barn within 2 years AND knowing that we want to be able to compost/use as much "waste" material as possible.
                                  "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                                  "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                                  • #18
                                    This is a great thread. I am going to try this in one stall because shavings are becoming so expensive and one of my horses goes through a bag a day.

                                    I recently wrote an article about bedding and one of the other tips someone gave me was to make sure you are buying pelleted bedding for animal use, not just stove pellets. Some stove pellets are treated with accelerants and some are a mix of soft and hard woods so you can't be sure about the type of wood you're putting in the stall.
                                    Thanks to everyone for all the helpful information. I can't wait to see how the pellets work for my big horse.


                                    • #19
                                      Streufex user here (pelleted straw)
                                      Averaging 3 bags a week top up per horse. And needed 8 to 9 bags to get sterted can't remember precisely. (12x14 stalls)
                                      I do not wet the bedding anymore, only use dry, it was becoming a sticky clumpy mess & smelly, plus borderline causing smelly feet when wetted.
                                      I use 1/3 to 1/2 bag of Dry Stall a week.

                                      I don't find it all that economical, but the respiratory-problem horse does well on it.

                                      Does help keeping muckheap down vs woodshavings.

                                      My local supplier Agway is closing down, anyone knows where to get Streufex in Hunterdon region, let me know...


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by tle View Post
                                        Speaking of the manure pile, I remember hearing somewhere that pellets actually work better in a manure/compost pile than regular shavings. Can anyone confirm this?

                                        I've always used shavings at the various barns I've been at. Have been following this thread with interest as we look to having our own barn within 2 years AND knowing that we want to be able to compost/use as much "waste" material as possible.
                                        I don't have a compost pile, so I cannot confirm. However, I did want to share the results of one of my experiments here on the farm (I have posted this on another thread).

                                        What I do is put the wet clumped up pellets into my Newer Spreader. Then I spread it in stripes in the pasture. I was curious to see if it would help or hurt the grass. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stripes where the pellets were spread were growing thicker and greener than the none-spread stripes. I guess it has to do with the urea in the waste, and perhaps my grass needed it. Also, within a week or so, there is no sign of the sawdust in the field, just nice green grass.
                                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams