Bedding with straw, info please

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Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
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I tried bedding with straw about ten years ago one winter.

My quarter horses literally ate their bedding over night. Not sure what kind it was.

I also had trouble finding a way to dispose of it, so I ended up having to burn it every week in a pile.

Since then, I went back to shavings.

I'd like to try using straw again for the minis to see how it works with them. I have a couple of bails set aside for Holly.

Problem here is that I found it for $4.00 a bail but I think if I look around I can find it much cheaper, I hope.

What kind is best to get? Oat or wheat?
I had the same problem as you did Marty. I would put down a fresh layer at night ....wake up next morning and its all gone! Also its hard to clean and when it gets wet free pee ext. Its even harder to clean up. I been using drystall for 24 hours and its working great!.

Im not sure which one would work better right there w/ you on the $4.00 a bale ...its only about 1.50 -2.50 up here.
We prefer oat or barley straw. It's generally softer, and the horses enjoy munching on it--we've never had any eat so much that it causes them any problem.

Earlier this spring we got some oat straw that was quite coarse & yellow (yellow because, I think, it had rain on it in the swathe before it was baled--it was dark yellow as in weathered, not a deep golden yellow as in very ripe). It wasn't great bedding.

Recently we got some round bales of winter wheat, and it's nice fine, soft straw. We also have small squares of plain wheat, also quite fine & soft. Both make real nice bedding.

So, it just depends on the quality of each kind of straw available, but if it's all good quality, oat or barly is our preference over wheat.
i hate using straw and only do it for mares that are foaling. Its so much harder to clean and doesnt decompose like shavings do.

We always put a layer of shavings underneath the straw and that does help keep the smell down and make it easier to clean
I have used both barley and oat. My girls do go through it and eat the heads that are left but have never eaten it all as long as they get free choice hay. I like it nice and golden and clean, no dust or green stuff.

I get the bales for $2 from some guy Bob knows but here locally at like the Agway it sells for $6.99
. I know because I was out and needed one bale for the filly with the eye trouble. Talk about sticker shock, but it was and is lovely straw and I needed it and she was worth the $7.

I use a nice thick layer of sawdust covered with ALOT of straw for foaling. I also keep a sheet in my foal kit cuz they can fool ya. My Techno showed no signs and I was sure she wasn't in foal after having her on straw for a month, so I stripped and rebedded her stall one day with sawdust and she came in, threw herself down and proceeded to foal. :new_shocked:Melody. I ripped off my shirt and put it under the baby. Thus the sheet, very handy for those sly girls. Keesha was on straw for over a month, her colt was very late.
Be very careful with Wheat- I won't use it as the people round here seem to think that Harvest time is a race!! Consequence??? Wheat grain in the straw- horses cannot digest unprocessed wheat- it has been responsible for many deaths and is, I am certain , responsible for the myth that straw eating colics horses. I use Barley- Oat IMO, does not make a good bed as it is not porous. Oat straw is a cattle feed over here, it is never used for bedding. For a ten X ten stall you will need two - three bales to set the bed, depending on the size of the bale. Tamp it down well, so it does not slide around. Fluffing up a bed is no good, they need it well laid. Once the bed is laid you need only take out the poop and the wet spot each day- Marty you will just have to grit your teeth but taking that bed up every day is a waste of time, effort and materials, and is why I hear people saying there is so much waste with straw!!! Once a week, YES even in your heat!!!, you take the bed up, putting the clean in one corner, the damp in another and the cr*p in the wheelbarrow. Put the damp on the bottom layer, then the stall still smells of Holly. That way she will not find it necessary to make it as dirty as she possibly can!!! Put the clean on top of that and a good half bale of new straw on top of that. Through the week I usually add one to two sections of clean a day- so in all I will use one bale per stall per week after initial laying of bed. This is the simplest way to keep a horse and a stall both clean on straw, and even Marty the happy house (stall??) wife, happy!!!
[SIZE=14pt]Use oat straw if you must use straw. I use shavings on the bottom rather than sawdust which is too fine for baby to inhale, then I put HAY over the top so id doent matter if mom eats some.[/SIZE]

i wont use straw. I hate it. I have used for foaling grass hay around here people just bale up there pasture and call it grass hay it isnt like timothy or orchard or anything. It was cheap and I used that so if the horses ate a bit it wasnt a big deal. Much softer then the straw as well
I buy shredded newspaper to put on top of shavings for foaling, it works great and is very easy to get rid of like shavings are.
I am a woody pet convert COMPLETELY. We used it for the first time this year under our regular hay bedding for foaling and LOVED it. Even Barbara, who is smartly cost concious and FREAKED about the initial cost, changed her tune completely when she became the chief pooper scooper. There is no comparison as far as ease of cleaning and reduced wasted bedding. I'm not a mixer though. If it's wet, it comes out, just like you would do with kitty litter.

As a few others have stated, I also foal my babies out onto flat bed sheets. Even if we miss them though, they have a very absorbent underlayer of the woody pet and the nice, clean, fluffy hay on top. Straw costs as much as good hay here, so they might as well go ahead and eat GOOD bedding!

For the show horses and other barn kids, they have rubber mats in the front half of the stall (where they eat and drink) and woody pet over dirt floors in the back.
I've never used straw but have been in barns that did.

The ammonia smell if you didn't keep the stalls pristine was horrible.

Pee seemed to puddle under it rather than absorbing it.

Disposing of it was a problem. it doesn't decompose on a manure

pile like shavings does.....

When Zoe is ready to foal I just take orchard grass and spread it

out in her stall. She ate lots of it.

When she stopped eating it and swirled it into a nest I knew she

was ready to foal. Seeing as she gives no other symptoms, that is

now my due to foal sign from her.......

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