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Question For Those Who Use Straw As Bedding

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  • Question For Those Who Use Straw As Bedding

    I am going to a show next month, and the showgrounds require the use of straw only in the stalls. At home, my mare is bedded on the sawdust type shavings, she has never been bedded on straw before. Seeing as I have no experience using straw as bedding, I have a few questions:

    How many average size bales would you put in a 10x10 or 12x12 stall? It will be for 2 1/2 days, 2 nights. I will be on the grounds 24 hrs a day and will clean the stall multiple times a day- she is a bit of a blender! I like to have her stall at home bedded moderately deep to prevent hock sores- she is in a 12x24 pipe stall with mats in front very lightly bedded and the back half bedded deeper- about 5-6".

    Is there anything I should know about using it on a horse that has never been on straw for bedding? I figured I would keep hay in front of her as much as possible to minimize the chance of her eating it, but anything else? Unfortunately I will be unable to test it at home before we go, as it is a serious "no-no" at my barn to use "unapproved bedding", and straw is on that list This is our first big overnight show together- it will be nice not showing out of the trailer!

  • #2
    2 bales should be enough, 3 if you like it really deep (assuming your bales are like the ones back east). Before putting your horse in her stall, shake out the straw really well so it "fluffs" up, There shouldn't be any chunks. Once it's all fluffed up, I like to then tamp it down with a fork forming a mat. This helps keep the horse on top of the straw rather than wading through it. When you clean, use a fork to get the piles out first. Then, locate the wet spot, scrape the good bedding away from the wet spot, scoop out all wet straw, and use fork to rake the floor by wet spot. If she really churns it, you may have to bank all the bedding against the sides to pick out little pooplets and give the floor a good rake. You may want to bring along a container of lime to sprinkle on the floor to deodorize.

    She may or may not try to eat the straw.....just depends on the horse.


    • #3
      Start with one and work up. There is no standard bale, even among small squares - different cereal crops have different weight straw.
      Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!

      Member: Incredible Invisbles


      • #4
        Wheat straw seems less palatable. My horse loves to snarf barley straw.


        • #5
          I would say for a short show,(not bedded really deep) if you are where they use the 3 string bales (California for example) then start with two bales. If you are where the bales are little bitty two string, (like Colorado) you should start with three .

          For fluffing it and cleaning,you need a wide tanged fork, too!
          You cannot clean straw with the shavings apple picker type fork.
          Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
          Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.


          • Original Poster


            I am assuming they are 3 strand bales, being that it is California. I'll take 2 bales and start there, I would rather have more bedding than not enough even though it will only be for 2 nights.

            Should be an interesting show- I just found out that they have fireworks on the weekend since it is at the same time as the county fair. Oh boy.


            • #7
              make sure you leave a few flakes out so you can throw some fresh straw on top

              I hate working with straw!


              • #8
                I bed my whole barn with straw and love it. For a 12x12 for just a few days, I'd use 2 3-wire bales. One to bank the walls with and one for the middle. That should be plenty for your show. IF you have to strip your stall at the end of the weekend, just start with one bale!

                Bring a pitchfork for cleaning as well as a manure rake. Don't worry too much about your horse sampling the straw. They usually eat a bit then stop since their hay is tastier. Here I use oat straw, and the vet said it won't hurt them to eat some since it's basically oat hay without the grain.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Watermark Farm View Post
                  I bed my whole barn with straw and love it. For a 12x12 for just a few days, I'd use 2 3-wire bales. One to bank the walls with and one for the middle. That should be plenty for your show. IF you have to strip your stall at the end of the weekend, just start with one bale!

                  Bring a pitchfork for cleaning as well as a manure rake. Don't worry too much about your horse sampling the straw. They usually eat a bit then stop since their hay is tastier. Here I use oat straw, and the vet said it won't hurt them to eat some since it's basically oat hay without the grain.
                  Yes, the stalls have to be stripped Sunday before we leave. So perhaps one would be best- she will only be in the stall from Friday late afternoon through early Sunday evening.

                  Oat straw- I will ask for that, she does get oat hay as a treat so I won't worry too much about her ingesting it. She might get frustrated looking for the seed pods though!