How can I use fewer shavings in my barn?
You may have many reasons for wanting to skimp on shavings - such as dollars! Small amounts of shavings are also easier to clean, saving lots of time. You may worry about sores, comfort, and safety. (Rightly so!) BUT there are ways that you can make this happen. You will definitely need to know where your horse likes to urinate, and where he likes to sleep. And let’s hope those two places are not the same.
Here are a few scenarios in which scant shavings may work:
-Your barn’s stalls have wall to wall mattresses. These are special flooring systems for stalls that are cushy, mushy, and seamless. For the lucky stalls out there with mattresses, you only need a shavings pile where your horse urinates. Scrape out the urine spots, pick out the manure, and DONE. You may want to add a sprinkle of Sweet PDZ under the minimal shavings to knowck out any harmful ammonia. An old feed scoop works wonders.
The key to easily eliminating ammonia in your barn.
-Your horse has an outdoor run or in-n-out attached to his stall, and he prefers to sleep outside. You can likely determine this by what he is “wearing” in his mane and tail every morning. In this case, you could use an outdoor friendly bedding for the run area and keep the inside area sparsely bedded.
-You would like to limit your horse’s feverish tornado making messy stall antics. Being skimpy on shavings under the feeder or hay location, but banking the area where he sleeps can work for some horses.
This stall is attached to a run and pasture. This particular horse loves to sleep outside (as evidenced by grass stains....) so I can limit the shavings used.
-Your stalls are “dirt” or sand floors and are quite soft and comfy already. A packed dirt floor may cause scrapes and hock sores, so make sure you are more sandy than hard pack.
-You can look for the perfect combo of straw, pellets, shavings, etc. that limit your need to add more every day. Often, straw in the “sleeping” area can last for a long time, and you can use shavings where needed. The use of pellets that expand when wet in the urine areas can also save you in shavings.
Stall mattresses are cushy, and don't have any seams! Great for using minimal shavings.
-You may also figure out that by using the deep litter system in your horse's stall, you can still keep a nice deep bed but you are actually adding very few shavings on a daily basis. Worth a try!
How do you manage to use a tiny amount of shavings?