Stall Bedding Preferences Shared by Readers

More than 1,230 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What do you prefer to use for stall bedding?"

results of poll on stall bedding

 

Results were as follows: 

  • Wood shavings 62.88% (774)
  • Pellets 18.20% (224)
  • Other (please specify) 9.50% (117)
  • Straw 8.45% (104) Shredded newspaper 0.97% (12)

Readers shared what they prefer for using in their horses’ stalls in the comments below.

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  • I use wood shavings with a pellet base
  • easy to store, easy to manage, soak up wet and odor and break down in the compost pile very quickly
  • mats
  • My horse is patsured now but in the past I have lined his run in shed with straw in wet periods.
  • Rice Hulls
  • I generally mix watered pellets and shavings - great combination.
  • sawdust
  • Rice hulls
  • They eat straw, tried but didn't like pellets, shavings are best.
  • corn cobs, pelleted. unbelievably easy to pick!
  • With a just striped out stall I add shaving in with the pellets.
  • peat moss
  • rubber mats in a turn out stall
  • The pooper scooper can get most of the manure but I would like to know about shredded newspaper
  • we use shavings over anti amonia treated pellets
  • sawdust , not the wood shavings its the easiest to pick and does the best at soaking up urine.
  • economical, easy to clan, less waste, drier than shavings,
  • I buy bagged sawdust.
  • I have found that a combination of shavings and pellets work the best for my horses.
  • Easy and economical
  • green fresh sawdust is the best
  • and lots of them! :>)
  • wood chip
  • I use sawdust. My horses don't have any issues with it. I can get it cheaply from a local sawmill.
  • sawdust
  • softer and cleaner
  • its okay
  • Bags are easy to store and move. Pellets expand with moisture. They absorb much better.
  • sawdust
  • saw dust
  • easy to store, absorbent, economical, readily available!
  • I have a percheron and he will destoy his stall. The pellets keep it incredibly dry.
  • sawdust
  • my horses do not stay in stalls
  • extra, extra fine
  • peat moss over rubber mats - highly abent, easily compostable, minimal wastage, bales easy to store,
  • its easy to muck out with, doesnt cost much to replace, my horse loves it becasue its warm :)
  • If I had the money, would use rice hulls-they're fantastic
  • Easy to clean up.
  • bulk sawdust
  • sawdust
  • use straw on top of rubber mats
  • Its cheap, and durable
  • easier to handle and store, more absorbent, smaller manure pile, cost effective, available.
  • wood sawdust
  • pine sawdust
  • use wood shaving at times as well
  • My horses eat the straw & newspapers stain light colored horses
  • I'm finding they are less dusty, easy to clean stalls, with farmers willing to remove.
  • I have no stalls to bed, just a loafing shelter.
  • or sawdust
  • Great when you work full-time. Only need to muckout fully once a week.
  • I really like straw but the cost is expensive and it's hard to get, so shavings are next .
  • Aubiose and Hemcore made from the hemp plant. very absorbant, economical, easy to work with
  • Our barn uses pellets (more economical & absorb better), but fresh shavings sure smell better!
  • Sawdust from white pine, that has been dust remomed
  • Sawdust, it's easy to clean out and smells great.
  • rubber mats work well with a light application of wood shaving. Urination takes place in the run.
  • Pine shavings with pellets in the wet spots.
  • Like rice hulls, but hard to get.
  • Dustless sawdust... it's like 'shake & bake' on poop clean-up!
  • My barn uses pellets but I prefer shavings. Less dust. Softer.
  • absorbent, compostable
  • rubber mats & wood shaving =perfect bedding
  • Shavings most readily available; have dealer who will sell p'up bed load for $10.00
  • Use Thoroughbed shavings
  • i use savings plus some pellets where the wet area is used most.
  • qickest & easiest for stall cleaning
  • Chopped cardboard
  • concrete floors-rubber pads, suncoast lg shaving with a thin layer of pelleted bedding under neath
  • pine, sometimes with a little cedar mixed in for a pleasant smell. Straw with PG mares.
  • sawdust
  • smells nice
  • sawdust - my horses are rarely in, and it is so easy to clean as well as cheap to purchase
  • sand
  • decomposed manure
  • easier to get out the wet and poo.
  • large flake for less dust
  • corn cob pellets
  • sawdust from where pine logs are sawn into rough lumber, it's easy to pick and not dusty
  • corn cob pellets absorb much better than the wood pellets
  • Hunt Club bedding
  • pine controls odor the best and offers best cushioning when straw not feasible
  • coarse sawdust
  • we use shavings, and were a host farm for a 'recycling machine' for our old bedding frm the stalls.
  • sand in paddocks grass on pasture
  • rice hulls
  • deep bedding,very absorbent, smells fresh, easy to clean.
  • sawdust
  • sawdust (not the fine stuff). it's free and cleans up well. horses like it as well. no problems.
  • Rubber mat and large run-out.
  • run in shed w/rubber mats
  • smells great and abosorbs great!
  • sawdust
  • Straw on top of pellets
  • Iike fluffy shaving but they are harder to find
  • I used straw when my mare was in foal.
  • 24/7 turnout 365 days a yr! unless its cold then they get blankets.
  • Pellets make a cleaner stall and less mass to dump
  • Streufex, which is supposed to be labor saving but doesn't seem to be
  • sawdust
  • pellets and kiln dried shavings in combination
  • BAGGED WOOD SHAVINGS ALL SOFTWOOD WITH A GUARANTEE
  • Horse never pees or poops in his bed. Pellets in paddock for pee and poop. works perfectly.
  • found straw hard to clean, my one horse ATE the pellets
  • Wood shavings work the best, and go longer, even though they arent the cheapest
  • rice hulls over pellets
  • corrugated cardboard-half inch squares
  • They work so much better than shavings and are cost effective
  • I buy the premium "dust free" as I have a heavey horse.
  • I find wood pellets to be longer lasting & More absorbent then other types. Reduces cost
  • But can't afford it!
  • ACTUALLY SAWDUST
  • sawdust
  • Wood is so expensive, but we have found paper makes ur pasture look like a garbage spill.
  • we use saw dust from a saw mill close to us. the owner takes great care to sell only what may be use
  • In winter, straw gets too packed and frozen.
  • I mix pine shavings w/ coffee chaff from a local roaster. Chaff is more absorbent, free.
  • Easy to clean; keep good for weeks
  • combined with a good rubber matting-cant be beaten for hygene,efficiency and resporatory health :-)
  • Love the pellets! Saved me $$$ and easier to clean.
  • straw for foaling, wood pellets for others
  • I combine wood pellets and swift pick shavings.
  • Mats and wood shavings
  • Strufex
  • easy sift, 6 to 8 inches deep. love it
  • Peat Moss
  • Would prefer recycled products but no access locally
  • It is dust free, soft, absorbent. Diamond cut is easy to pick.
  • sawdust
  • Combine w/ stall mats + dry pellets on wet spots
  • crushed corn cobs - it is more absorbent and keeps stall dry
  • easy to pick through , very little waste
  • easiest to manage
  • Product right before it would be compressed into pellets.
  • sadust/shavings mix.we need research 4 bedding its EXPENSIVE
  • At least my TB won't eat.
  • A combination of shavings and pellets. The pellets go in the wet spots with the shavings on top.
  • I Hate Straw
  • We only used straw when mare was expecting-pellets moistened are the best for us and horses as well.
  • SAWDUST
  • we use bush grass hay, thick like straw but edible
  • my horse lives outside
  • I don't stall my horses
  • It cuts my cleaning time by half. Cost is same.
  • light soft....picks up moisture and is light and not bulky
  • Woody Pet is the best
  • pellets absorbs urine, and less waste other than removal of wet spots like clumping cat litter.
  • Pellets only work if you purchase the narrow tined pick
  • I put about 6 inches of sawdust down and then add straw on top for the winter. The straw lasts longer
  • bulk
  • easy to clean, smaller manure pile than shavings.
  • pellets are easier to sift
  • finely cut cedar shavings
  • Less time for cleaning stalls, more time for horses.
  • you can usually mix the wet with the dry for longer lasting bedding between total stall cleaning
  • I just LOVE Dry Den. My vet recommended!
  • my horse doesn't have a stall
  • mix of pellets and shavings
  • Pelleted corn cobs under pine shavings
  • don't stall horse, only have stall mats on dirt floor - horses are out 24/7.
  • I feel it last alot longer in the stalls and absorbs more
  • for all but broodmare near foaling, then oat hay
  • rice hulls
  • Using pellets that break down into sawdust saves us time, money and labor!
  • only feasible option in FL!
  • Peat Moss
  • Pine shavings smell great and are affordable at a local lumberyard.
  • Cedar Rest, repels insects and is easy to muck out
  • SHAVINGS! MY YOUNGEST HORSE LOVES ROLLIN IN THEM AS SOON AS I PUT EM DOWN IN BIG RUN IN SHELTER
  • Americas choice saw dust
  • I use a shavings/sawdust combination that works for me. For foaling I use shredded newspaper.
  • 50/50 mix of rice hulls and sawdust
  • Pellets and wood shavings together
  • preferably pine but cedar shavings have a nice aroma for the barn
  • horses are only in stalls at meal time. Dirt is the flooring.
  • Just switched to pellets. It seems to last longer and less disposal. I don't like soaking first.
  • Pellets are much easier to clean ...and FASTER
  • Easy to dispose of-love the mushroom farms, easy to muck, decent price!
  • I love the ease of the pellets, but too expensive and creates dust everywhere, so shavings are next
  • my old horses leave so much hay in the stables its used as bedding started off with shavings.
  • love the wood pellets
  • sawdust
  • I generally use wood shavings in winter as it cuts down on ice balls in the feet.
  • course sawdust
  • Pellets provide the best soak up method, and easiest to clean up,and saves the other bedding.
  • i prefer pine pellets, or other pellets from bamboolike plant, however, i usually use sawdust.
  • sawdust
  • Only clean, dry wood shavings. NO walnut! Pine, cypress, cedar mix.
  • Sawdust. Will try pellets at some point.
  • Pellets are far more absorbent, and make stall cleaning far faster than using straw or shavings.
  • i use and prefer pine shavings. some horses will eat straw, newspaper can stain their legs :(
  • shredded phone books. It clumps up like cat litter when wet.
  • Very difficult to find good quality shavings. Some are so coarse they cause hock sores.
  • pine shavings
  • Hunt Club Bedding (cardboard) Love it!
  • We use chopped straw over rubber matts with some cedar shavings mixed in.
  • half ground paper, half wood shaving
  • Research studies prove that straw produces more REM sleep and better performance.
  • sawdust
  • I like the mini flakes as they are absorbent and easy to sift
  • Love Woody Pet. Easy to use, easy to clean and less mess
  • They break down nice for a nice soft place to lay and are easy to sift
  • the pellets fall apart when sprayed with water and makes much less waste when picking up manure.
  • Get a good supply from a small private mill. Otherwise none available.
  • I also add Stall Dry to help with the moisture issues between the morning and evening cleanings.
  • My yearling horse was allergic to shavings, so I had to switch to pelleted bedding; cleaning is easy
  • Fine wood shavings and pellets
  • we grow it on the farm/cost effective
  • Sawdust - free from mill, absorbs urine great, no heavy horse problems or would use alternate beddin
  • We're lucky to be near a saw mill.
  • wood shavings 'if' we have to use stalls.
  • always did and always will
  • I prefer wood shavings because they are more absorbent and less waste.
  • Easier to clean,and is cleaner when done, less waste
  • quik T pik a fine ground shaving so you never toss the shaving just the manure.
  • saw dust
  • stalls (dirt floors) are rarely used. horses are turned out 24/7
  • composts FAST!, clean, long lasting
  • sawdust
  • actually my horse prefers turnout...hooves down!
  • We dry the horse POO or droppings and use it as bedding.
  • cedar sawdust
  • Pine shavings as dust free as I can get them. Have horse with COPD.
  • I let a thick, soft (but dry) layer build up over a rubber mat - horse loves it.
  • shavings makes it much easier to muck out the stalls and is a good absorbant.
  • do to I can get it cheaper
  • nafcore
  • pine sawdust
  • Wood shavings cover better but pellets are more absorbent
  • we mix in pelleted corn cob bedding because it is more absorbant
  • I also use pellets for absorption, shaving to keep down the dust.
  • Rice Hulls
  • I use rubber mats only. My horses urinate in their runs so other bedding is unneccesary.
  • Straw on top of wood shavings and pellets
  • I like wood shaving over shredded newspaper put down where it's going to get the wettest.
  • wood shavings clean and asorbant
  • rape straw, dustfree
  • My horse lives outdoors and sleeps on CedarRest
  • Low dust (one of mine has respiratory sensitivities), good absorption, but expensive.
  • stall stays drier, less dust
  • Wood shavings used over a Stallskins liner with good drainage underneath.
  • sawdust
  • Be aware of pellets, my horse ate his & died from colic.
  • From a pro-stall clearner's perspective, shavings are easiest
  • We are lucky - in bulk - can be a little dusty - just water them down
  • My horses eat the straw and leave their coastal hay,so it's shavings.Haven't tried the others
  • Nothing, my horse has a pen attached to his stall and I encourage elimination outdoors by no bedding
  • Just rubber mats, sometimes pellets,doesn't do "her business" in her stall
  • We use pine sawdust from the local mill with great success.
  • Bedding pellets caused colic in 3 well-fed horses
  • It takes less time to clean and there is less waste.
  • rubber mats & sawdust
  • Like pellets but straw is cheap and accessible so use that mostly.
  • Rice Hulls
  • Horses have 24/7 turnout
  • cypress mulch
  • I would never use anything else. It is the cheapest and easiest to clean.
  • easy to clean and horses stay cleaner.
  • Dry Nest is the best. Sun Coast is inhuman. Consistency too rough for any animal.
  • 2"of wetted down & dried pine scented pellets seem to discourage pooping on the bedding.
  • You can't beat pellets - but not all are created equal.
  • My horse eats his bedding, so straw's the only thing he can be on! lol, he's a bit food-addicted. :p
  • Woodypet has reduced my bedding bill by over 1/3, + it's easier to clean than shavings. I love it!
  • sand
  • pellets when they choose to be in their stalls 24 hr turnout
  • Sawdust
  • Saw Dust from a local pallet maker
  • rice hulls are great!
  • Hands down these are the best I have used
  • Sometimes hard to find good clean straw
  • Wood shavings on rubber mats
  • economical, easier to clean out stalls,
  • Pellets when the hose isn't frozen. Otherwise cedar shavings. The pellets are great but dusty.
  • rubber mats over 6 inch gravel box, they love it!
  • Unfortunately, right now it's wood shavings over lime aggregate. Dust, dust, dust.
  • wood shavings on rubber mats
  • Easy to clean, economic if cleaned properly, smells good. Neet to watch for dust, though.
  • mixture of shavings or pellets and straw
  • do not use, have run in sheds
  • Clean soft straw or old hay
  • Rubber stall mats w/ 12"-14" of shavings. Stalls cleaned 2x daily.
  • Rice hulls--relatively cheap, plentiful and the horses love to lay down
  • All our horses are pasture horses
  • I put pellets down first and then put the wood shavings on top. Pellets soak up moisture.
  • Corn cob
  • Easy clean up, keeps my horses cleaner, ikeeps them warmer in winter when deeply bedded.
  • sawdust
  • Bagged sawdust
  • Hay- bale it on the farm, most economical for me
  • easy to keep stall clean, don't have to strip very often
  • Pellets on wet spot under shavings
  • straw is cheaper and easy to pick up off the stall floor.doesn't hurt there feetor get cought in the
  • I prefer nice fluffy pine shavings. They're absorbent and bed the stall comfortablely.
  • hay pellets - easy clean up, little smell, some dusting, but no more than our west Texas sandstorms!
  • Easy to maintain and store; smells fresh in the barn
  • Easy to clean and relatively dust free!!
  • I loved using pellets because of the ease of cleaning the stalls but because of the expense I have h
  • Horses are turned out 24/7
  • For outside bedding we use corn stalk bales
  • Other: rice hulls are wonderful, soft, low dust, easy to clean!
  • sawdust
  • good quality sawdust
  • I actually like wood shavings better, but I did a test and the pellets were cheaper for me.

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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