The deep litter bedding system


Ah – the joys of picking stalls… it job security, quiet time, a pain in the rear, all of the above. There is one method of bedding and cleaning a stall that may work for you – the deep litter system.


jump to shopping


  • This deep litter bedding method works best with shavings. I have done it with rice hulls and shavings, and both types of bedding are appropriate for the deep litter bedding system.


  • For horses that like to become a toe-dragging tornado in their stalls, this method may not work as their manure may get too mixed in and more difficult to sort and remove.


small kiln dried shavings

Plain old shavings are super for the deep litter bedding system.


So how do you get started with the deep litter bedding system?


  • Easy. Pack your stall FULL of shavings. I mean FULL. I would start with at least 12-18 inches of shavings from wall to wall.  Then bank the walls with more shavings, and go several feet up. The banking of the walls can help to prevent your horse from getting cast, and also serves as your supply of fresh shavings to top off the bed.


horse in stall with rice hull bedding and broom across door

This stall is deep with rice hulls. Pick the gross, add fresh on top.


To clean the stall, it’s very quick and easy. Simply remove the manure and the wet spots.


  • You will need to learn where your horse likes to urinate. To get the wet spot out, gently and carefully peel away the top layer of the bed, remove the wet, and put the top layer back.


  • For this method, do not sift, toss, or move the bedding around. The goal is to have the bottom layer packed down and thick, with a fluffy new top layer.


  • Cover up the dirtier shavings with new ones. This serves a few purposes – to create a packed bottom layer, to keep fresh shavings on top, and to minimize chore time. Some horse people say the deep litter bedding system also “ferments” the bottom layer to create some heat.


  • Refill the banks as needed with fresh shavings.


Do you have to remove the urine spots?


  • Some folks do not remove the wet spots, letting them compact and ferment under all of those daily layers.


  • This can increase the ammonia in the stall (icky and dangerous) and create a nightmare with warped mats or soggy floors as the urine seeps through. This means you are stripping stalls and pulling mats more often.


sweet pdz zeolite and manure fork

It’s always a good idea to treat for ammonia, regardless of what type of bedding system you use for your horse. Stall refreshers made from zeolites eliminate odors safely.


You will save time


  • The downside is that once a month or so (some folks can go a few months, it will vary from horse to horse), you need to dig out the whole stall and start over. It’s up to you to decide if this method works for you, and your horse. I personally love it, and never mind the digging out of stripping a stall. It’s a good rainy-day chore and will give you a nice workout.


  • If you use rice hulls for bedding, this method is the suggested method for installing rice hulls into a horse stall, with the need to clean the wet spots every few days or so. The rice hulls act like a clumping cat litter, and the ammonia is not really an issue for several days.


go shopping button for horse products


Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

33Lb. Bag of Grade A Premium Hemp Bedding
$62.95 $58.95 ($0.11 / Ounce)
03/11/2024 05:03 am GMT
Farnam Chew Stop Aerosol
$19.99 $17.58

Helps to stop your horse from eating the barn and fencing

04/08/2024 09:03 pm GMT
04/08/2024 09:12 pm GMT

Great to use with buckets to discourage cribbing

04/10/2024 07:03 pm GMT
Equiessentials Slow Feed Hay Ball Large
$130.05 $120.20 ($120.20 / Count)
05/20/2024 02:22 pm GMT
04/10/2024 09:08 pm GMT
04/14/2024 02:19 am GMT
Hydrophane Cribox 8 oz. tub - 8Oz

This thick paste discourages chewing

03/12/2024 09:28 am GMT
3.0 CUFT Pine Bedding
$27.56 ($27.56 / Count)
03/11/2024 08:38 am GMT
Centaur Stall Guard
$38.95 $29.99

No escaping, please.

05/20/2024 05:26 pm GMT
03/11/2024 10:09 am GMT
HayPlay Slow Feed Bag XL – GG Equine

One side of this innovative slow feeder is solid - perfect for pastures! It will hold a small bale of hay.

Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

HayPlay Slow Feed Bag – GG Equine - 2 sizes available

2 sizes of this slow-feeding hay toy - snack size holds a few flakes, and the half size holds 1/2 bale.

Use code 15PROEQUINE for sitewide savings on slow feeders and more.

Noble Equestrian Adjustable Wave Fork
$52.95 ($52.95 / Count)

Now picking stalls can be more colorful.

05/07/2024 04:20 pm GMT
Noble Equestrian Adjustable Wave Fork
$52.95 ($52.95 / Count)

Nothing says posh like a gold colored manure fork.

04/12/2024 01:05 pm GMT
Toolwiz Magnetic Sweeper with Wheels, 50 Lbs Capacity

You will be amazed at what the ground will throw at ya.

04/12/2024 12:59 pm GMT
04/10/2024 08:03 pm GMT


Thank you!