Bedding on a dirt floor

Paints
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Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Paints » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:27 pm

My horse is on stall rest due to an injured suspensory ligament. This happened literally within the first 2 weeks of moving him to a new barn. I am new to this part of Ontario, so I don't know horse people or different barns in the area. There is not the choice of barns that I had where I lived previously which is frustrating..... more compromises. I knew this barn did not bed their stalls very deeply, but they had long turnout and in the summer 24/7 turnout so I made that compromise in favour of the better turnout situation. Very different story when he had to be put on stall rest.

He had originally been in a stall with cement floors and mats, however there was so much urine under the mats - too little bedding and they use a bedding that is half cut straw and half shavings. I do not think it is very absorbent.

Their solution was to move him to a stall with a dirt floor. They practice doing some variant of deep litter bedding - but I am not happy with the results and wonder if what I am experiencing is normal with this method of stall management. They build up a base of the bedding and add to the top. They remove the feces and I was told the wet. What I am finding after 3 months is that the centre where he would urinate most is so wet it squelches. The last two weekends DH and I have removed a wheelbarrow full of extremely nasty, sodden, packed shavings from the center of the stall. I am being billed for extra shavings which I wouldn't mind if he was well bedded but obviously there is a problem.

Does anyone have experience with this type of stall management? What are they doing wrong?

Does anyone have experience with this type of bedding (half cut straw, half shavings?

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Chisamba
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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Chisamba » Sun Nov 01, 2015 2:50 pm

it is, or used to be, a fairly common practice to continue to pack deep bedding over the wet spot without removing all, creating a sufficient barrier with the bedding to the decomposing odors, but allowing the warmth of the decomposition to keep the stall warm. all of this was continued all the way through winter and then turned out in huge amounts in spring, hence the term spring cleaning. was done in colorado, when i lived there, by a number of the barns, as regular winter dirt stall bedding.

another method if deep litter bedding is to remove the feces and the wet, but not to turn or sift, the idea is to have sufficient bedding in the bottom to ferment and create warmth, yes i am familiar with a mix of straw and shavings.

Paints
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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Paints » Mon Nov 02, 2015 5:03 pm

Should the area in the centre where my gelding urinates be wet and squelchy? He always has clumps of wet bedding stuck to his hooves when he comes out of the stall. The base is only about 8" and I have probably upset the method the last two weekends by shovelling out a huge wheel barrow of wet, disgusting bedding.

Do you find the mix of straw and shavings more or less absorbent then the fine shavings?

The barn is trying its best and I want to work with them to find a solution - this isn't working though.......

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Chisamba
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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Chisamba » Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:49 pm

it actually should be deep enough that it does not squelch, and straw is not quite as absorbent as shaving no. either he is one that needs his wet patch picked out a little, every day, and re bedded , or he needs a deeper base of fine shavings before the straw and shavings blend is added over the top. if a horse is a very wet horse, and there are those, then some wet needs to come out daily and more bedding added to compensate. I hope you can work out what is best i the circumstances, being indoors a lot is probably interfering with their usual mucking schedule and they are not sure how to overcome that

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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Dapple Field » Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:58 pm

It might help to get some pellet litter and add to the wet spot. We have a very wet gelding and have had to add the pelleted bedding to the wet spot (about a gallon size bucket's worth) after liberally applying lime, and then covering with ample shavings. If their base is 8 inches that should be enough to work off of but you still need 4-6 inches of fresh shavings over that. Also, it your horse is restless, paws, or stall walks, the deep litter method may not work.

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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Valerie » Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:10 am

The pellets added is a great idea-don't soak them, just put them in the center where he squelches. Then some regular shavings over that. The pellets are easy enough that you could leave a bag there and they can toss in a small bucket in daily.

Paints
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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Paints » Tue Nov 03, 2015 12:39 pm

thanks, I will pick up a bag of pellets and see if that helps. Having him in is interrupting them regular schedule and they have been really wonderful trying to meet his needs.

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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby Tarlo Farm » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:28 pm

The pellets are a good idea. Back in the day, when I boarded horses in my dirt floor barn, I made a kind of a sump (English Drains?) in the stalls. Most horses urinate in the same place. When that place was determined, I'd dig down a couple feet, fill in with a foot of stone, then top with dirt again. That allowed urine to drain well, while keeping a soft dirt surface. I bed in straw, shavings were not an option then.

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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby AmityBee » Sun Dec 06, 2015 10:53 am

Around here this kind of bedding is pretty common but it's done with straw only. We call it "mattress bedding". I do it by choice because I like the way it gives a nice soft/deep mattress for my horse to lie on. I did it on dirt and concrete floors. BUT, it doesn't work for every horse or in every situation.

It should never be wet and squelchy. The horses feet should always be nice and dry.

I pick out poo and wet stuff that comes up through the mattress during the day daily, and then add fresh straw as needed, but you need to keep the mattress as undisturbed as possible or the whole thing won't work. There needs to be a nice packed layer of bedding above the nasty stuff to keep odor and wetness away from the horse. A horse that digs, moves around a lot, eats all the fresh straw or is a pig in general is usually not the best candidate for this kind of bedding or needs a lot of fresh bedding added daily to make it work.

sansa12
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Re: Bedding on a dirt floor

Postby sansa12 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 10:08 am

Hi, I am from Australia. Sorbeo is the most cost-effective, high-quality pellet bedding around and will probably cost you less than any cheap horse bedding on the market.


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