Poll Recap: Bedding Choices Revealed

Poll Recap: Bedding Choices Revealed

Of the 1,013 voters, 581 (57%) indicated they use shavings or wood chips in their horses' stalls.

Photo: Alexandra Beckstett, The Horse Managing Editor

In last week's online poll, TheHorse.com asked what kind of bedding you use in your horse's stall. Readers cast more than 1,000 votes, and we've tallied the results.

Of the 1,013 voters, 581 (57%) indicated they use shavings or wood chips for bedding. Another 157 respondents (15%) said they use pelleted bedding, while 121 voters (12%) said straw is their bedding of choice. Another 65 readers (6%) said they use some other type of bedding, and 89 respondents (9%) said they do not use bedding for their horses. Additionally, 142 respondents shared comments about their bedding choices.

Many readers said their horses live outside 24/7 and, thus, don't use bedding. Others said they used less common materials, including corn cob pellets, rice hulls, TerrAmigo bedding, NafCorEq bedding, shredded cardboard, peat moss, and shredded paper.

Some readers shared their thoughts on straw bedding for their horses:

  • "We prefer straw and so do the horses. It gives the best bedding and is the least expensive."
  • "I prefer straw, but am not able to find a supplier in (my) area."
  • "We raise wheat straw so it is logical to use it and it is easier to clean and can be spread on fields."
  • "I use straw. One horse is allergic to all forms of evergreens, includes pine. He loves his comfy bed."
  • "I have to use straw pellets due to my horse's allergy to pine."
  • "Finely chopped straw (has) great absorption (with) a few shavings mixed in."
  • "I also use older, more stemmy hay that they have no interest in (eating)."

Others shared why they prefer shavings, sawdust, or wood chips:

  • "I prefer fine shavings for easier sifting."
  • "We buy shavings in bulk from a local mill. Easier to pick stall than with chips."
  • "I use the big shavings and like to keep their stalls fluffy."
  • "I use softwood sawdust from our local mill. It's easy to sift through and it absorbs better."
  • "My horses prefer fine shavings over coarse wood chips."
  • "I use sawdust. I like shavings better but they are more costly and harder to muck than sawdust."

Some readers shared comments—both good and bad—about pelleted bedding:

  • "We love wood pellets. We soak the pellets in water and they make a wonderful bedding."
  • "I think pellets are the most economical, because I think we have less waste with them."
  • "Pellets freeze in very cold weather. Both pellets and shavings become dusty with time."
  • "Have tried pellets ... too expensive and once broken down, they blow completely away on a breezy day."
  • "Pellets: easier to store, more absorbent, cheaper, but a little more work. Worth it!"
  • "We find pellets make the stall easier to clean and produce less bedding waste."
  • "I've found that pelleted bedding is more efficient than shavings when it comes to stall cleaning."

And finally, some readers said they use a combination of beddings for their horses:

  • "I use a combination: shavings on the bottom and straw on top."
  • "Love pellets for the ease of cleaning, but I add some shavings during cold weather for a warmer bed."
  • "Shavings for general use (and) straw at foaling time."
  • "Pellets for the base, then shavings over. Pellets are more absorbent."
  • "Paper at home when they are stalled on mats and shavings when we are at shows stalled on concrete."
  • "In our wet, damp winters in Oregon … we use wood chips in wet spots and straw on top."

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com every week!

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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