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Shredded Paper As Bedding?

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  • Shredded Paper As Bedding?

    So over on the money-saving board, several of you mentioned using shredded paper as bedding. I'm intrigued.

    Walk me through it someone, please? From some of the posts, it seems like some of you even shred it yourselves....do you do this with just the average office paper shredder? Where do you get all the paper from? Did you just call up a local newspaper and ask?

    What's it like to muck? Compare it for me to shavings/sawdust/wood pellets? Do you use it WITH something else? (Ie, a lot of wood pellet folks use shavings on top.)

    Thanks! Like everyone else, I'd love to save some extra money, especially since my horses are in more during the winter.

  • #2
    Well, I get mine from work. (reason number #7 that I haven't quit yet. ) We shred a 30gallon trash bag full every other day or so. I am sworn, and background checked, so they don't care if I put the pieces back together to see what they said.

    Mine is the long-shreds. Which are better for warmth and things like foaling, harder to clean as it clumps. It cleans mostly like straw, but the clumps can be a pita. I tend to pull away all but the wet and then respread the dry stuff, some of it doesn't LOOK as nice, but as long as it's dry, it's warm and absorbent.

    I've been using it for almost 10 years now. I have a base of peat moss, then the paper.

    For some horses I put shavings in the wet spot under the paper. For foaling, I still use straw around the edges because I can use the flakes to bank. I actually usually go to full straw for *foaling* then go back to mixing it as I need to add more bedding.

    It doesn't *look* as clean unless you've used excess paper, since the peat moss is dark brown. It's dry and warm, and zero odor though.

    It's a pain if it gets too wet before use, as it's just a big clump of paper maiche. I don't have storage for it, so if the bag's got a hole or something, there ya go. I'm sure if you have storage, that would make life much easier.
    I have often wondered how/where I'd get it if I quit.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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    • #3
      A friend inMaine used shredded paper as bedding for years in her boarding facility. She had access to literally tons of it and she had a "drop off " bin for newspapers, etc. She might have had a hay chopper to shred what didn't arrive already shredded. The down side was that the place was full of blowing strips of paper every so often. Luckily it was biodegradeable, so eventually broke down. Other than that, she used it for years and was pretty pleased.

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      • #4
        Two of the barns I have been at have used shredded paper as bedding, they both purchase a brand called "Stable News" which is a compacted shredded product, in a bag about the size of a regular bag of shavings.

        I don't like it for a number of reasons. It sticks to everything. It puts dust in the coat that grooming doesnt get out.

        It is absorbent and I believe it is more affordable than bagged shavings.

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        • #5
          Yeah, I just locked onto the shredded paper idea from the saving money post. What about toxic dyes? Are they fairly much out of the loop these days? As I mentioned in the frugality post, we have a local non-profit org that hires developmentally disabled persons to shred paper for local businesses that are required to do so (all medical facilities, for one, and anybody else who deals with confidential material). I just called them and they tell me they put out huge piles of bags everyday that they have to haul to the recycling center. AND they don't receive any cash from the recyclling center, so I will offer them some donation, otherwise they are THRILLED that I want to come get it. I am on my way right this minute to go get an entire pick-up load. Thanks all you great posters for such a great money-saving idea! I'll report back on my experience!
          www.forwardfarms.com.
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          • #6
            Like PP I have access to strips of shredded paper from work. Its a pita, but with foals I use alot of bedding, so free made the pita worthwhile. When we don't have foals, I go back to shavings alone. My home shredder is cross-cut and that is nice, it works like shavings. I do use some shavings under the paper as I have 1 mare that floods her stall when she goes and the paper doesn't handle that large quantity at one time. If I could get free cross-cut paper, I would use it all of the time.
            Epona Farm
            Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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            • #7
              I'd say most all ink is soy based these days.

              I have pintos with white legs, and have never had 'grey' legs that people talk about from newsprint back in the day.

              When I spread the stall stuff, it's more unsightly than shavings... but it breaks down fine.

              The most entertainment I had was one year when a mare foaled on 5 years' worth of evidence sheets. I don't know why that tickled me so much, but it did.
              InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

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              • #8
                Well, here's my first report on the shredded paper trial. First thing I noticed was there is absolutely no dust. This might be the bedding of choice for horses with heaves and others with respiratory problems. Second thing: it really doesn't blow around as much as I thought it would (it's windy today) as the paper shreds are somewhat entangled, vs. shavings that don't cling together. Third thing: it has a lot of loft. Which is good. So far, I'd say it is working quite well. Now for phase 2: clean-up. We'll see how that goes.
                www.forwardfarms.com.
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                • #9
                  Once its wet what do you do with it? Compost, dump in the woods or throw away? If you dump/compost how long does it take to break down?
                  “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker

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                  • #10
                    I like the paper bedding. The stuff I used was shredded newspaper and found no problems with dye or discoloring. It does blow around a bit more once you get it dumped in the much pile but if you keep it covered it reduces that. My only advice would be to make sure you always do a good clean. If you just do a quick clean than it is so much worse the next time you go it.
                    Hanlon's Razor

                    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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                    • #11
                      I use shredded paper for bedding. I get some of it from a friend of mine who gets it from the medical office she works with. The rest I shred myself. When I first started shredding I used to use newspaper, but it was constantly getting jammed in my shredder so I started using my junk mail. (Ever wonder what to do with those 4 horse catalogs you get per week. )

                      It takes about 4 garbage bag's full of shreds to fill a stall a 12 x 12 stall to 4-6 inches.

                      I don't think you could say that I'm allergic to sawdust/shavings but the amount of dust in the stalls when I'm mucking would make my eyes watery and itchy, no more with the paper as it's virtually dustless. Which makes it especially great for heaves horses but it's got to be better for horses without breathing problems too. I'm also loving the fact that I don't have to dust my tack room every couple of days.

                      They have stopped using toxic chemicals in the ink a long time ago. So that's not really an issue anymore.

                      The shredder that I use is the Staples el cheapo version. When I bought it, it was the cheapest one staples had. I did buy the replacement option for the shredder and in the year or so I've been doing this I've only had to replace it twice for the additional cost of $5 for a new replacement option for the new shredder.

                      I only have two horses a Morgan and a Shetland, they are out pretty much 24/7 in the summer, unless there are thunderstorms and only come in, in the winter time for wet snows or freezing rain, which seems to happen more and more often here in PA. So I'm not going through the same amounts of bedding that some other people do but that does allow me to shred my own stuff.

                      My compost heap is absolutely beautiful it only takes probably 2 months tops for the stuff to decompose and that is without doing anything special to my muck pile. I just toss it in a pile and leave it alone.

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                      • #12
                        ? For Miss-O

                        You are making paper bedding sound verrrrrry attractive to me.
                        I work for a company that could easily supply me with the 8 bags of shreds I'd need for my 2 stalls.

                        My horses live pretty much like yours and one did have a scary episode of SAD last Summer that seems to have been initiated by cornbcob bedding and is now resolved.
                        Stalls are based with stone screenings, no mats.

                        How do you clean your stalls? Do you removed soiled/wet paper and replace or strip the entire stall & rebed?
                        *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

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                        • #13
                          I clean stalls the same exact way as I normally clean wood shavings.

                          I take out the wet bedding and pick the manure out. I will strip a stall after the horses use them about 3 nights but I certainly don't have to do it that soon. I just strip because I can and I like them being cozy. I admit that I'm more liberal with removing bedding then I have to be because I have such a surplus of it and it's free. It would definitely last longer if I just kept picking out the wet spots.

                          For the wet spots you will probably go through a little more paper then you would with sawdust but that is because the paper is more absorbent, so after mucking IMO you have a cleaner stall because there is less wetness that gets down to the stall's base.

                          If it helps I do have a metal cleaning fork for my stalls. It comes in handy in piercing the clumped wet spots. I'm not sure if a plastic fork would be as effective. I don't have one to try.

                          It really is great stuff I'll never go back. It's worth a try at least.

                          The only thing I forgot to mention before is that cross cut paper is the best. The strips of paper are a real PITA to clean. Very similar to cleaning straw bedding.

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                          • #14
                            Rats!

                            Well, I have the metal fork...
                            But my company doesn't use a crosscut shredder

                            If I can find some cross-cut shredded paper I'll give it a try.
                            Right now I use pelleted bedding for the wet spots (my boys consistently pee in the same place) and pine shavings.

                            But I strip stalls hardly ever - maybe once a month, if then.
                            Picking manure & wet spots daily seems to leave enough shavings for them to be comfy.
                            I replace - about 1/2 bag per stall - when shavings seem thin. Usually every couple of weeks.
                            More often in Winter when I like them to have a nice fluffy bed as they seem to sleep inside more. Less in Summer when they sleep outside 9 nights out of 10.
                            *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

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                            • #15
                              I am now completely sold on using cross-shredded paper for bedding. This type of paper is regular office paper from medical offices, title companies, attorney offices, etc. It is mostly white, but there is pink, yellow and green in there too. My stalls now look like there has been a birthday/pinata party in there with all the colors, but I am finding it to be better than the shavings for absorption and easy to clean up. I sprinkle some straw over the top, but now use so much less and since the shredded paper is free! I can really bed deeply and make it very cozy in there. And NO DUST! The horses haven't given the paper a second look, and I haven't seen anyone, including the foals, try to eat it. I am also using it for kitty litter. The folks at the shredding service are so grateful that I actually come and pick up the stuff. They have been putting it in very thin ply large plastic bags, but I think I will invest in some industrial strength woven plastic bags that can be re-used. An added bonus: my husband now thinks I am a genius. Thanks again to whoever first posted about shredded paper. These forums can be very helpful!
                              www.forwardfarms.com.
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