Just Wood Pellets
|Wood pellets make an ideal horse bedding. Having a high density they are easy to transport and store and when activated by adding small quantity of water they turn back to saw dust but because they are slightly damp no dust is created. Using pellets might require changing how you manage your stables.
The following 'How to' has been compiled from various articles on the web:-
Use 10 to 12 bags of Wood pellets with an typical 12x12 stall, that will last for at least 7 days without re-bedding subject to your horse's excretion patterns and how long it spends in its stall.
Empty a few bags of the pellets into your wheelbarrow and add enough water to dampen most of the pellets.
Watering the bedding before putting it in the stalls will assist the pellets to activate more efficiently, absorb more and last much longer. Pre-watering also stops the horse from crushing the pellets or sliding.
When the pellets have been sufficiently watered, leave the wheelbarrow for at least 60 minutes to allow the pellets to expand back to saw dust. If only a small amount of expansion has occurred increase the amount of water and wait longer.
When the pellets look as if they are expanding and are 'sawdust-like' spread them in the stall and repeat the process until you are happy with the thickness of the bedding.
Alternatively empty the bags on the stable floor and use a hose pipe to wet the pellets. Be careful not to over wet.
DO NOT add too many pellets in the beginning as Wood pellets expand greatly as they absorb moisture. An excessive amount of bedding can make it much harder to clean and won't allow the stable to ventilate properly.
In the event the bedding becomes too dry or dusty, just sprinkle water as needed. The perfect moisture content is reached when the bedding feels slightly damp to touch. The bed should still have some pellets which have not fully activated(about 25%).
Once this bedding process is initialised, you can keep a comfortable base with an even consistency by adding more Wood pellets as needed.
Cleaning your stable will be different from using shavings. . Just take away the solids and the wettest areas with a manure fork. Those who prefer can remove any further wet patches or just mix the remaining wet areas into the bulk of the bedding.
Odour should not be an issue as pine is a natural deodorizer.
If the bedding becomes dusty then sprinkle it with some water. This can be done often, as it will help the bedding to carry on expanding. You will have to add approximately 1-2 bags of fresh bedding to the stable each week.