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"Bedding" choice for outdoor area

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  • "Bedding" choice for outdoor area

    Today marks the fourth week of my horses at home on my own property (yay!) after almost a dozen years boarding.

    The two boys (clydesdales) do not have any stalls, but they do have a two sided run-in area off the barn. The previous owner had a small paddock around this, and limed it so it has a pretty decent footing even during the few rains we've had. Our routine has been to let them out during the day to a 2-acre pasture, and bring them in at night to the paddock with shelter and water, and I throw them 2-3 flakes of hay each night to keep them busy.

    After the very first few days I noticed a pattern emerging, and it has held ... I LOVE THEM!!! They have chosen to make two little stall areas of the two corners of their paddock. Not a poop to be found in the whole paddock except in one of those two corners, yay!! The spaces they've made are about 10x10, or roughly the size of the stalls they had at their last boarding barn.

    So I immediately wanted to capitalize on their good behaivor and reward them for it, so I've been cleaning out their bathrooms as frequently as I can. Then in the past couple of weeks, I started taking their uneaten hay (maybe I'm giving them too much but I'm still new at this, trying to figure out what works best), and using that old hay as "bedding." So my routine is to clean out the bathrooms then run around the paddock picking up small hay piles and moving them over to the bathroom areas.

    This has seemed to work pretty well, but now another pattern has emerged ... pooping in one corner and peeing in the other. Say what? I didn't know horses could be as finicky about pooping as ferrets and cats!! I swear, I am not making this up.

    Unfortunately the pee spot has gotten pretty bad already, having gone thru the lime layer and I'm digging up urine soaked mud now. If this is happening after just four weeks, I can imagine how bad it's going to be by Spring.

    Now I come to the questions ... I'm thinking of getting a load of sawdust from the local sawmill, the same one my former boarding barn used for sawdust to do her stalls, and tossing that out there on the pee spot. Am I crazy for thinking of putting sawdust outside in an uncovered area? Or are there better alternatives? How might straw work for this situation? (I've never worked with straw before.) Should I actually put down a rubber mat at this spot?
    I've never understood the insult calling a person a "fruitbat." It's not much of an insult to the person. More often than not, the person’s behavior proves it to be more of an insult to the fruitbat!

  • #2
    try a bag of unwetted pelted shavings first... a rubber mat if not bedded deeply over I would think would discourage the use of that specific spot

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    • #3
      I personally would not put any sort of indoor bedding in an outdoor pee spot. It will get very heavy -- hard to clean. And...I wouldn't be cleaning up urine soaked mud either -- just creates a hole that will get wider and deeper over time.

      What I would do, is keep a pile of stone dust handy -- or some sand or dirt or even peat moss -- and would simply shovel some over the pee spot periodically to help absorb/cover the pee and keep the ground level. Before adding this material I would sprinkle some Sweet PDZ there too to help neutralize the ammonia.

      Once horses decide on a favorite pee spot, they will continue to use it -- and might find a few other spots they favor as well. So.....IMO it's just a losing battle -- not worth it -- to 'clean' pee spots outside. The ground will absorb/filter it with a little help on your part.

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      • #4
        I keep my horse in/out. She uses both in and out depending on bugs/sun/shade/rain, etc.

        I have a crusher dust turn out paddock, quite large, pony-sized riding ring sized. On top of that I have a pile of yellow cedar sawdust. It lasts for years. She sunbathes, rolls, sleeps on it all year long as she is blanketed in the winter.
        Her pee spot is also cedar and it does not get rank. When it was just crusher dust it did smell. I don't even pick up the pee spot, but of course, you could. She dumps her manure as far as she can away from her hay spot, by the gate, always. He feeding spot is in the open stall, so it is not on the hard crusher dust and she can clean up well with no waste. She does a fair bit of walking around the pile and the crusher dust holds up well, drains well.

        She is milk white and stays very clean indeed in her clean environment.
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

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        • #5
          I would not try cleaning pee spots. As suggested, get some crushed stone, limestone would be best, to put over the wet dirt. Add more as needed. Small stone size, stone dust even, would be my choice, less easy to carry off in hooves, will pack better over time. Using limestone should help a bit with the smell as pee drains thru getting nuetralized.

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