Changing from shavings to straw

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Mr Tom
28 Feb 2011 15:22
I am thinking of changing from shavings to straw mainly because of cost. I have rubber mats down in any case.

However I think it quite likely that my horse will eat straw as he is a greedy type. Is that a problem?

Your reply much appreciated

Jenny
joallan
01 Mar 2011 12:27
First of all you need to make sure the straw is not mouldy, which could cause respiratory problems.
Good quality straw is often used for feeding beef cattle, it is usually barley straw, ask the farmer if it is suitable for horse bedding.
You can spray the straw with Jeyes Fluid to prevent horses eating it, you will find that you need to throw out more straw than shavings when you muck out.
DressageSpain
01 Mar 2011 15:39
I personally think that in the long run, changing to straw with a greedy horse could be more expensive if you end up with a colic cos he has eaten his bed......

If you have rubber mats down, and are vigilant with the bedding, it wont cost that much to run.
Mr Tom
03 Mar 2011 13:20
"I personally think that in the long run, changing to straw with a greedy horse could be more expensive if you end up with a colic cos he has eaten his bed......

If you have rubber mats down, and are vigilant with the bedding, it wont cost that much to run. "


Thanks for the advice. I asked the same question of expert Robert Fowler on Horse Hero and he replied that there shouldn't be a problem as long as I use good quality straw & plenty of water. In fact he said the horse would probably thrive better,
Mr Tom
03 Mar 2011 13:23
"First of all you need to make sure the straw is not mouldy, which could cause respiratory problems.
Good quality straw is often used for feeding beef cattle, it is usually barley straw, ask the farmer if it is suitable for horse bedding.
You can spray the straw with Jeyes Fluid to prevent horses eating it, you will find that you need to throw out more straw than shavings when you muck out. "


Thanks for the advice. I asked the same question of expert Robert Fowler on Horse Hero and he replied that there shouldn't be a problem as long as I use good quality straw & plenty of water. In fact he said the horse would probably be healthier!
joallan
03 Mar 2011 13:41
Unless you can get straw for next to nothing, which does occur of you live on an arable farm, shavings will not cost much less, you can consider deep litter bedding, but I find that a lot depends on having a big stable and a tidy horse.
Oh when yo ask will eating straw be a problem, yes it will, it can cause impaction colic, which can be fatal.
Horse Hero Guru
03 Mar 2011 22:55
I nearly always use straw for bedding – it is cheap, usually easy to get, rots quickly in the muck heap and makes a nice warm bed. OK, I know horses do not make nests like birds and will generally lie down on a plain bit of earth, but to my mind, nothing looks more comfortable than a deep straw bed with nice banks.

Most horses can be stopped from eating their bed by sprinkling it with a disinfectant solution or even by mixing in some dirty straw with the new. Generally I am not concerned if they do eat some straw. Most of the hay we feed is far too rich anyway as it is cut from grass grown for cows, not horses.

I have not had a horse suffer from impaction colic from eating their bed – impaction colic is far more commonly caused by a horse having insufficient water and/or insufficient exercise. The gut works best when the horse has plenty of opportunity to move around either through work or time at grass to keep . Keeping a horse in a pen little more than twice its own length is basically unnatural. Horses evolved to wander over large areas picking up relatively poor quality food for many hours a day.

The things to consider when choosing bedding are that it needs to be clean and free from dust to avoid breathing problems, and that it is kept clean and dry to avoid a build up of ammonia (more breathing problems!). I am not a fan of deep littering, although when time is tight I will only pick out the wet and dirty bits (including those at the bottom of the bed) during the week, then lift the bed completely at the weekend.
 

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