Straw vs Shavings for Your Stable
Our number one priority when purchasing bedding for our horses’ stalls is keeping them safe, dry, and comfortable. But which type of bedding is best for your stable? Continue reading for more information on the debate of straw versus shavings.
Like most things in the equestrian industry, the price point for bedding is usually a large deciding factor for most horse owners.
Bedding is something that must be regularly purchased; a purchase that’s as much as a necessity as hay and grain. Generally speaking, straw is a cheap alternative to shavings. In some regions, mushroom farmers will actually pay for used straw bedding. This makes using straw bedding more practical, as in this case it almost pays for itself.
In some areas, sawmills will allow you to come and pick up as much shavings or sawdust as you need for an extremely low cost. In cases such as this, it may make more financial sense to use shavings. Unlike straw, there’s no agricultural use for used shavings, so once the bedding has been used, it simply must be discarded.
To find out which bedding option would work better financially for you, call around to local sawmills for discounted pricing, and check your region’s general pricing options for straw. Keep in mind that if you live in a region where mushroom farming is popular, that would help you make back a considerable amount of the money you spend on straw bedding.
There are different practical aspects to each bedding option.
Straw bedding provides more warmth and comfort for the horse, especially in the winter months, but it falls short as far as an easy clean up is concerned. For horses that tend to urinate more and make a large mess in their stalls on a regular basis, the process of cleaning a stall bedded with straw can be quite a nightmare.
For situations like this, shavings tend to work better, as they are more absorbent and are much easier to quickly sift through and clean. In many cases, the practicality of the type of bedding used really boils down to the specific needs of the horse, and the preferences of the owner.
Different Horses, Different Needs
All equestrians know all too well that every horse is different, and so they require different things than the next in order to stay happy and healthy. Much like all horses require their own specific feeding and supplement regimen, it makes sense that all horses require a little bit of customization in the bedding in their stall.
Something that must also be considered when choosing the type of bedding that you will use for your horse is the physical needs of your horse. Straw tends to be much more “fluffy” and cushioned; it is often the only type of bedding used for expecting broodmares, as well as for mares and newborn foals.
If you have horses that have had issues with lameness or founder in the past, it may be wise to choose to bed your horse with straw. The extra layer of cushioned bedding could be the difference between properly maintaining the horse’s health and having to help them manage another health issue.
If you’re considering the debate of straw versus shavings for your stable, take all aspects of the needs of your boarders and horses into consideration; this is the best way to find the option that is best for everyone.
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