The big debate - Shavings Vs Straw

(25 Posts)
bestofbothhovis Thu 04-Aug-16 21:01:35

Up until last year I have always had my horses on straw. It was cheap and I knew no different so thought it was easy too. We moved to a yard where we had to have straw and despite it being more expensive it took half the time to muck out.
I see pros and cons to both but what do you have and why?
Is there shavings that are good but cheap (used to use bedmax)?

New yard do not care what bedding I use now but now I'm stuck on what to do!

britnay Fri 05-Aug-16 07:43:43

I use straw as we grow barley and as a result I have lots of free bales of barley straw to use. I think that it provides a lovely thick springy bed and feels very cosy. I find it pretty quick to muck out. I do a full muck out and pile on alternate sides/sweep out every day to let the floor dry. The only thing that I don't like about straw is the smell and the fact that you need to have a shower and hair wash before going out to do anything else.

One of my liveries uses shavings. I find them quick and easy to muck out and I love the fact that they don't leave you smelly. However I don't feel that they provide as comfortable a bed as it tend to just feel hard when it gets compacted down and her horses don't seem to lie down as much as those on straw.

CatherineDeB Fri 05-Aug-16 07:54:20

I have shavings because one of mine has a dust allergy. I have tried all sorts including hemp over the years (hemp aggravated her allergy).

I deep litter my beds, rubber mats on the floor and I start off with 8-10 bales of large chip Bedmax in the Autumn (they live out in the summer).

At the beginning the beds are ridiculously high but I only remove the droppings. I top up each bed by two bales most months, leaving the wee all winter. The beds don't smell and are always clean on the surface.

Then I get the lovely job of digging it out in the spring. smile

No smells, COPD horse is absolutely fine with it and only two bales each bed per month, normally. If I think that they are not looking deep enough (circa 10") I might add some more but big beds mean no smells.

It has worked for me for years. I could move the others onto straw but at the rate I use it I am not sure it would be cheaper.

bestofbothhovis Fri 05-Aug-16 08:33:00

If I was to deep bed I would use shavings - agree with the no smell. But I do love the feeling of bedding them down to a big soft straw bed

frostyfingers Fri 05-Aug-16 09:33:47

I've used both and do find straw easier to muck out but for the last couple of years have used Bedmax because of storage issues. My horse is only in overnight before hunting so just a couple of nights a week and as I have an enormous stable I use 4 mats in one corner and put the shavings on that so that if he lies down or rolls he doesn't get down to the hard floor. He's a tidy soul so mucking out takes no time. The drainage isn't the best so it can get smelly under the mats so I lift them, swill out and leave to dry every week or so which is a pain - but I think that would happen with straw too.

Best bedding I used (but no good for allergy prone horses) was rape straw as all the bits went to the base leaving nice long stalks on top. The bits then absorb all the wet and it's just a quick sweep out in the morning. Given the choice I think I'd go back to straw personally.

Whatslovegottodo Fri 05-Aug-16 09:38:11

Shavings and rubber matsfor me. Personally I hate mucking out straw and the smell, I find it heavy too. Mats save so much in the long run and make shavings beds much comfier for less bales.

peanutnutty Fri 05-Aug-16 09:42:06

I use straw because I have a fatty who is on hay rations. I don't like 'starving' her completely by having her on shavings and feel happier that she can keep her gut moving with straw if she so chooses.

lastqueenofscotland Fri 05-Aug-16 10:22:33

Shavings with wood pellets underneath

Rosieposy4 Fri 05-Aug-16 14:49:28

Rubber mats with thick bed of shavings or chopped paper on top, no deep littering. Have three on this and very quick to muck out, minimal smells, not too big a muck heap either.

NobodyInParticular Fri 05-Aug-16 15:00:52

Rubber mats, sprinkling of pellets, straw or paper if needed. comfortably thick. It's too easy for shavings beds to get horrid, granted usually when people are stingy).

Jacobbay Fri 05-Aug-16 16:36:53

Rubber mats and a deep straw bed with banks

NobodyInParticular Fri 05-Aug-16 22:35:14

YY big banks. I never understand why people fluff up a 6 inch tall mound and think that is going to do something. Or maybe they do it just for decoration!?

Rosieposy4 Fri 05-Aug-16 22:36:53

Why banks though?
They dont stop a horse getting cast.
Very old fashioned idea imo

Shizzlestix Fri 05-Aug-16 22:52:56

Shavings, maybe some wood pellets underneath for extra absorption.

Mine just eats straw and I find it absolutely stinks. I have rubber mats and use Hunters.

Jacobbay Sat 06-Aug-16 07:39:53

banks because they look so satisfying. I do them for my Shetland too

bestofbothhovis Sat 06-Aug-16 21:00:57

Always bank, got into the habit after working at a yard with old fashioned traditions. Have banked with shavings and straw and think it's much easier to bank with straw but it smells!
Always have rubber matting too

icclemunchy Sat 06-Aug-16 21:10:36

I like wood pellets although fat boys on shavings atm which actually haven't been as bad with just one to mimicking out.

When I was a groom I preferred shavings as quicker to muck out but straw gives such a lovely springy bed

NobodyInParticular Sat 06-Aug-16 23:23:41

I do think banks can help a bit with not getting cast. But not the fluffy cruddy banks that you could just flatten in a second with a pitchfork, they are just decorative. Massive thick banks which are squashed down, have more bedding added then compressed more so that they are huge but fairly solid. Easier to do with shavings than straw, pretty much impossible to do with paper.

bestofbothhovis Sun 07-Aug-16 09:04:25

Agree with you nobody. Always taught to almost "deep bed" the banks so they harden

plominoagain Mon 08-Aug-16 15:25:48

Old fashioned here too - big solid straw banks and deep bedding with rubber mats underneath as well . Have previously had them on shavings when at livery , but I hated it as one just used to walk the poos into tiny shreds so it was a pita to muck out , and the other one refused to lay down on it no matter how thick and comfy I made it .

Suited others , didn't suit me .

ShoeEatingMonster Tue 09-Aug-16 14:43:13

DP refuses to come anywhere near me after I've mucked out because of the stench.
Straw bed + very wet horse + uneven stable floor = very smelly! grin
I love the look of straw but much prefer mucking out shavings. Always used to use rubber gloves and a bucket and it was a breeze!

honeyroar Tue 09-Aug-16 22:59:59

I used to be a big banks fan, (very BHS) but I've come to the conclusion that they don't do anything but reduce the amount of room a horse has in the stable, and that anti cast strips are much more use. I don't believe banks, however big and patted down, can really make much difference if a huge horse leans on them.

Bed wise, I prefer a over the feltlock deep straw bed with rubber mats. It does smell more, but I like the rubber mats to protect from injury if the bed is dug up. I also like beds right to the front of the stable. I can't bear these half beds of shavings at the back of the stable, or sprinkles of beds. It may be easier for the person to muck out, but I'd rather spend an extra ten minutes and have a decent bed for the horse.

frostyfingers Wed 10-Aug-16 21:12:29

My stable is massive, four mats together fill one corner so I have shavings on matting and then at the front by the door and where the haynet is are a couple of more, so he's not standing on the hard all the time. The anti cast stuff looks good - a friend of mine has screwed in battens at intervals all the way round their stable (bit like how you have them on a lorry ramp) and says they are just as effective.

QuestionableMouse Mon 15-Aug-16 23:17:49

Given the choice, I'd go for something like Equisorb (chopped flax). It's light to work with, absorbs really well and makes a grand comfy bed. Good quality shavings would be my second choice.

Butkin Thu 18-Aug-16 13:37:32

We use shavings on ours and when I look after horses visiting from abroad we recommend the same.

We don't have to use Bedmax (although we prefer it for the horsebox) and often find the cheaper value versions just as good as long as dust extracted.

The trouble we find with straw is that it's variable - from delivery to delivery and certainly from year to year. We don't want to run the risk of any respiratory issues by using it. In addition we like to control what the ponies eat and most hungry horses/ponies will tuck into straw.

We have rubber mats in our stables with shavings just in the back half. we do bank a little but more for easy of topping up than preventing getting caste.

We much out twice daily by hand - only removing the full wet at weekends.

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