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bedding on straw -- what if he eats it?

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  • bedding on straw -- what if he eats it?

    I'm contemplating using straw for bedding because it will compost better, and might be cheaper. Not sure how it works out, but bagged shavings are expensive!

    However... Patrick cleans up every last bit of his hay as well as anything else that looks remotely edible, so I'm pretty sure he's going to try to eat the straw.

    I'm guessing it won't kill him, but what's your experience? Does it cause problems?
    ... and Patrick

  • #2
    When I had a 26 stall barn I used shavings (cheap in that area at that time...a semi-truck load dumped in a couple spare outside stalls cost me about $350 and bedded the entire barn for a month or more)...partly because of availability and cost but also because there were several horses that just ate the straw...just extra lo cal groceries...and they were costing more than using shavings. Only used straw after that for foaling mares (and then on top of shavings). Won't hurt him. You might put his hay in some kind of a net or feeder to keep him busy eating it longer (esp during the night) so he doesn't eat the straw as much.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    Northern NV


    • #3
      Yep, some horses will nibble on the straw when they run out of hay.

      Nope, it won't kill him.

      Yep, if he really gets into eating his bedding it might cost you more in the long run.

      And FWIW, there's a learning curve to learning how to bed and clean a straw stall. You'll need a wide tined or 3 prong metal fork.

      Have you tried pelleted bedding? A little more expensive per bag in many areas but once a stall is started you'll use a lot less bedding and it actually saves a ton of money overall. Works best on mats though.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • Original Poster

        Thanks! He's locked in his 12x24 run-in shed at night. I bed half of it, the other half is the dining area (and it does have rubber mats.)

        Hm. I was going to start another thread looking for the equine equivalent of popcorn -- low calorie fiber to give him something to do instead of trimming the trees for me. Maybe bedding on straw would serve both purposes.

        I did grab a bag of Equine Pine at TSC last weekend. Actually for the cats based on another thread here, but I'll put some out in the shed and see if I like them.
        ... and Patrick


        • #5
          Careful when you first switch over . if your horse pigs out on the straw he could get an impaction.( ours did)


          • #6
            I asked for my Clydesdales to be bedded on straw inbstead of shavings after one of the geldings managed to get a puncture wound right at his hock joint, and the only possible "culprit" I could find was a shard of wood in the shavings. The two geldings never seem interested in eating the straw but my mare, who was overweight after having a baby and then being stall-bound right after the birth (she got kicked and had a shattered splint bone) decided that the straw was eatable and,m therefore, she would eat it. So she is back on shavings. I know eating a little straw is probably not going to cause a problem, but consuming a whole stalls-worth could lead to an impaction. Of course, the mare is the one of my herd that is NOT insured!