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Pelleted bedding Vs. Shavings

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    Pelleted bedding Vs. Shavings

    So I bought some shavings for my horses stall. Not a fan of these shavings at all! I use to be at a barn that got bedding in bulk that was decent. You could shift threw it and absorbed pretty well. This stuff from the bag was impossible to shift threw and didn't absorb really well so the WHOLE stall ended up wet before the bedding absorbed it. 3-4 days latter and 3 bags of shavings (expanding to 8 cu. ft) is basically gone. My horse is out 12 hours a day so this is not a good thing!

    So I tried the pelleted bedding tonight. I put in the required 6 bags and moistened the top layer as directed. but I am not sure if I did enough!

    So if people would like to chime in on how much they mist the pellets to "fluff" them. Or if you like them or not that would be great! Also if you like shavings instead why? OR if you use something totally different!


    Do a search on "pelleted bedding" and you'll get pages of answers to your questions.

    I use pelleted bedding in my stalls (12 x 12) for horses in for at least 12 hours a day. I start with 5 bags, wet with hose (leave in piles, spray well, spread out). I'd say that I have about half in fluffed "sawdust" mode, and half in the pelleted state they come in at any one time in my stalls.

    I prefer pelleted bedding, done right. Much easier to clean, less waste.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


      at the stable i am at now they use the pelleted bedding.they have me dumping the bags of pellets in wheel barrow and the completely filling wheel barrow full of water,to where pellets are completely under water.let sit for a good 10-15 minutes and it doubles in size fluffiness.i do find it looses some absorbency,but is alot more comfortable for my horse to lay on,then the hard pellets that havent gotten wet..i use to do what you do too when i used them before by just misting with hose and definitely didn't work as well,but lasted longer,so it does depend on how well you water it and own preference.they aren't my favorite,but not totally off on them either.
      but if i had to provide my own bedding i would pick shavings over pellets..i have also used/bought a shavings/sawdust mixture from my local shavings/sawdust providers.and you'd think it would be really dusty with sawdust,but i never had to water it down or have problems with dust.


        Now that I'm at home with mine I have a dirt stall and I'm liking using a couple bags of pellets with shavings on top. Top is fluffier, underneath absorbs more.
        It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


          I use pelleted bedding in my stall (12 x 16) for 1 horse that is outside unless we have bad weather, then he may be in a few days at a time.

          I lay the bag on the ground, split it down the middle & pour about 4-5 gallons of water in there. I usually use the water I would have dumped from the water buckets.

          Wait about 10 minutes, then dump the bags & spread. I'd say that I have about 3/4 bag in sawdust mode, and 1/4 bag still pelleted (which my horse breaks down by walking on the pellets).

          I had never used pelleted bedding before, but after moving to a self care facility 2 years ago, the BO convinced me to try it & I haven't looked back. LOVE the ease of mucking! Plus my horse tends to lay down & nap more on this than shavings - not sure why.

          FYI, my bedding is on top of a packed dirt stall floor - don't know how it works on mats, but I suspect it works just as well.


            I'll never go back to shavings.

            Revamped the stalls last year and matted them, purposely for making the switch to pellets.

            I dump 2 bags at a time into muck tubs and pour in the water. Let sit to fluff/breakdown while I do other chores. Like Tarynls, I'd say that I have about 3/4 bag in sawdust mode, and 1/4 bag still pelleted once I dump the tub.

            Much easier to sift through thoroughly, uber fast breakdown in the manure pile and much more economical.
            <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


              I just split the bags open with an X, spray well with water a couple of times and dump them out. I like them all to be fluffed. That being said, I've gone back to shavings. One of my horses had a coughing problem last year and the fluffed pellets are rather dusty. I use low dust shavings and one bag of pellets in a stall where my fastidious gelding always pees. Poo in one corner, pee in another. He never walks through it, so it doesn't raise any dust. I do thing that 6 to 8 bags of fluffed pellets make for a very comfy stall...we used to call it the tempurpedic bedding.

              I deep bedded with fluffed pellets when one of my guys had laminitis last summer. That and Ultimates (and a great vet and farrier) and he came out of the episode fine.
              Off Topic Discussion about Life, Interests & Politics


                Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                I just split the bags open with an X, spray well with water a couple of times and dump them out.
                This is how I do them. I call it the "jiffy pop" method as it reminds me of how the Jiffy Pop container expands when cooking (oh, yes, I am really dating myself here!).


                  i'm personally not a fan of pellet bedding. I think that they are always on the flat side. I like the thicker fluffy feel of the shavings. Also, I find that the thicker/bigger shavings don't work as well while the small lighter chunks are amazing. The smaller shavings are like a happy cross between the pellets and shavings.


                    For those of us that live in an area that has a winter, how do the pellets work when it's freezing?


                      Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                      I just split the bags open with an X, spray well with water a couple of times and dump them out.
                      Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                      This is how I do them. I call it the "jiffy pop" method as it reminds me of how the Jiffy Pop container expands when cooking (oh, yes, I am really dating myself here!).
                      Me, too - I like to cut an "X" and I always think of it like Jiffy Pop (Though if it makes you feel any better horsepoor, by all rights I should not make the association based on my age... and yet I do!)

                      Originally posted by dogponyshow View Post
                      For those of us that live in an area that has a winter, how do the pellets work when it's freezing?
                      You switch to Guardian Swift-Pick Shavings! (Basically the same thing as pelleted bedding, but pre-/post-pellet, so you don't have to get it wet). I also take it to use at shows.
                      If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                      Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                        Originally posted by dogponyshow View Post
                        For those of us that live in an area that has a winter, how do the pellets work when it's freezing?
                        Around here, we only have short periods of sub-freezing weather, and I just keep bagged shavings to use then. Not sure what folks with lengthy freezes do...if the stall is pretty well bedded ahead of time, you don't have to add pellets very often, so perhaps it works okay to add dry and mix with the already broken down ones. And the pellets will break down if left dry -- I just don't like to leave them intact like that as they get tracked all over and slide around when on bare mats.


                          I'm a recent convert to all-pelleted bedding.
                          I've used pellets in the pee spots for years as they really win over shavings for absorbency & easy removal.

                          I switched when my feedstore was out of shavings & my stalls really needed rebedding.
                          I used 2 bags each in 12X12 stalls that were nearly stripped and they lasted over a week.
                          I added another bag to each stall about a week ago and they are still clean.

                          LOVE the way manure stays on my fork & clean pellets sift back through.
                          LOVE the way urine stays where it's "put" and I pick out just that spot.

                          I did not soak the pellets, just used my hose on Mist setting, gave each stall a cursory once-over and by the next day all pellets had broken down into soft bedding.

                          I am using Equine Fresh brand from TSC and I don't find it dusty at all.
                          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                            I used pelleted bedding for seven years. Not all pelleted bedding is the same, but I've used American Eagle, Woody Pet, Equine Pine, etc.

                            Pelleted bedding is my favorite for absorption, ease of picking out, and readily compostable.

                            I NEVER wet it first. I picked out the wet and dirty bedding and threw in a new bag of pellets three times a week per stall.

                            However, the cost has gone up considerably in seven years, to more than double what it was to start with. I now use straw over a mat. It has taken me awhile to get used to it, but it's okay. It's much, much cheaper than pellets and its more environmentally friendly and I can get it from my hay guy.
                            Laurie Higgins
                            "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                              I do the same thing as Mosey. I love the pelleted bedding (great absorbency and much softer), but I found that it was extremely dusty (as in, dust was building up on stall walls, doors, buckets, etc). So now I put the pelleted bedding down first, and then put a layer of shavings over the top to help with the dust.

                              For the horse that mainly pees in one spot, I don't wet the pellets down where she normally pees. That way, they absorb more. When we finally get the horses moved to our place, I plan to put mats down as well. At the current barn I board at, the floors are dirt (and not level at all), and I hate that pee tends to soak down into the floors as well- I'm hoping the mats will cut down on that some.


                                I live where it's below freezing for a good portion of the year, so I went with Best Cob corncob pellets. I love the stuff, and it breaks down so quickly in the manure pile I can't believe it.


                                  For those of us that live in an area that has a winter, how do the pellets work when it's freezing?
                                  Some people do seem to have an issue with the pelleted bedding freezing in winter.
                                  I've never had that problem at all, and we can get pretty cold here. Well below freezing for weeks at a time. My pellets have never frozen. But...I have a small barn that's insulated. 2 horses, smallish barn (24x40) and insulated walls usually keep the interior of my barn a minimum of 10-15 degrees warmer inside compared to outside. That might be the reason mine have never frozen. My water/dunking buckets rarely ever freeze inside either. They might get a ring of thin ice along the edges, but it's extremely rare for the entire surface to freeze inside the barn. And even then, it's not thick ice.

                                  I know a few larger barns that use them without freezing too, but 20+ horses inside a building in winter do tend to throw off enough body heat to keep the inside from freezing.

                                  I also don't keep my pelleted bedding damp, which helps keep it from freezing. I only mist it lightly when I'm started a new stall. The rest of the time I just add a bag to the existing broken down bedding and that bedding activates the new pellets. I add about 1 bag per week per stall on average. Sometimes once every 10 days, depends. I keep the stalls pretty deep.

                                  Sometimes now I'm adding a new bag every 4-5 days for my one gelding who is a disgusting slob in his stall. But even in his stall, I can keep it pretty darned clean because of how easy the pelleted bedding is to sift and work with. A shavings stall and that slob would be catastrophic, LOL! I'd probably just cry and strip it daily.

                                  I can't remember the last time I stripped a stall. I keep on top of the bedding all the time, so the bedding doesn't require complete removal. The major slob gets close to getting his stall stripped from time to time...but when it starts getting yucky I remove more than usual and then add 2 bags and it goes right back to clean and pretty and nice smelling in 12 hours.

                                  I use Woody Pet, easiest available for me. It is getting freaking expensive though. It's now $7.80 per bag! Ouch! But it's still the most cost effective due to the smaller amount needed.
                                  You jump in the saddle,
                                  Hold onto the bridle!
                                  Jump in the line!


                                    It depends...For my older guy who is much neater and in about 12hrs/day, the pellets are amazing. I love them, I and set up with about 5 bags and have added less than a bag/week for the last 2 months.

                                    My young piggy horse was on stall rest until recently, and he just trashed the pellets more than I could keep up with. It was easier and cheaper to add about 3/4-1 bag shavings/day and just almost strip daily than to keep him on pellets. Now that he's out for 12, he's gotten much neater, so I may go back to pellets for him.


                                      pellets underneath

                                      I board at a place that uses a reasonable amount of shavings, but my horse is a pig and is on limited turnout so his stall gets pretty wet, pretty fast.

                                      I have started buying pelleted bedding at about $5 a bag, I scrape the shavings away every 2 days and spread about 1/4 bag in the pee spot area. It is amazing how much less shavings are being used every day. The pee goes right into the pellets and it stays there in a clump, keeping the top shavings dry. You don't need to wet the pellets.

                                      I've suggested to the barn manager that they would save on shavings by using just a little pellets as a foundation.
                                      Absurdly improbable things are quite as liable to happen in real life as in weak literature. -- Ada Leverson


                                        I love the pellets too they are awesome. I don't wet them, I find they break down quickly on their own. I usually put 8 bags in a large stall and then add about 2/week. The reason I use a lot is because unfortunately we do not have mats down at the barn that we board at, so we want a little more give in the flooring.

                                        It's great for a boarding situation (for the owners) because those who want to deep bed can without feeling bad/using extra resources and those who prefer less bedding don't end up paying for other's bedding. Lots of the horses on the property are in paddocks or in-outs 24/7 so of course they are a lot less hard on their stalls than ours (which are in most of the time).

                                        Our board includes 4 bags at the beginning of the month, and everything on top we can buy from the BM or BO. I can't imagine using only 4/month but I guess it works for those who are turned out lots!