Wood pellet horse bedding is popular in the UK for owners looking to provide their animals with a comfortable and safe sleeping environment. This article will discuss the benefits of using wood pellets horse bedding, how it works, and why it is becoming increasingly popular among UK horse owners.
What is Wood Pellet Horse Bedding, and How Does It Work?
A wood pellet horse bed is made of compressed wood from trees into pellet form that are more absorbent and easier to clean than traditional sawdust or straw pellet bedding alternatives. Wood pellet horse bedding also helps warm horses in the winter while providing an odourless and dust-free environment. Owners can use pellets in indoor and outdoor stalls and trailers for easy transport. A wood pellet bed doesn’t require chemicals, making it a low-maintenance and safe option for animal owners.
The Many Benefits of Wood Pellet Horse Bedding
Pellets make a suitable bedding material for animals. A horse bed of wood pellets offer many advantages over wood shavings and other traditional lighter bedding options. The following are some of the benefits of using wood pellets.
Temperature Control of Wood Pellets Horse Bedding
Since wood pellets are made from compressed wood, they provide a greater thermal mass than sawdust or shavings. This means that the bed material takes longer to get heated in the summer and longer to cool in the winter, which can be beneficial for some cold-weather habitats (like the UK!)
Wood pellets for horse bedding are 2.5 times more absorbent than wood shavings. One 40 lb bag can absorb up to 11 gallons of water to saturation. When water beads on the pellets, the moisture is trapped and does not evaporate. Large bales of lighter straw can be comparable in price and usage to pellets, but straw is less absorbent than the same weight of wood pellets. Also, wet hay or straw that can’t absorb more liquid is more likely to harbour insects and moulds. So wet horses won’t stop this most absorbent bedding from doing its job.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Great quality wood pellets are highly absorbent, quickly absorbing soiled and saturated spots and odours. This results in a longer-lasting fresh smell in the habitat, (rather than putting up with that nasty ammonia smell when you walk through the stable door) which benefits horses and humans alike. Furthermore, wood pellets are lightweight and easy to store, so cleaning up the bedding can be done quickly and with minimal effort.
Using wood pellets as your horse’s bedding makes it easy to see any wet patches and the like, so you don’t have to look for potentially unhygienic spots that can be missed when alternatively using straw or shavings. You can remove the soiled part of the bedding rather than take the whole bed apart and save time mucking out the stable. With this time saving strategy, you can put effort into other money-earning endeavours instead.
Texture and Consistency
Horses’ feet benefit from beds that don’t move around and have consistent moisture levels – which wood pellet bedding does. Horse bedding wood pellets are similar in size and shape when used in whole pellet form or moistened, sawdust form – making the wood pellet horse bedding nice and consistent no matter what!
Straw is still a staple for horses, but wood pellets are an excellent choice for those on a budget because they are cost-effective and last longer in the stalls. You’ll be using much fewer cleaning supplies when mucking out your horse! These highly favourable, cost-effective solutions make it great for people looking for an economical option for their horse.
Another advantage of wood pellet bedding is that it doesn’t stick to a horse’s fur, blankets and other materials, unlike other bedding such as shavings, straw or sawdust. It is well-known that breathing in fine particles of dust can lead to respiratory issues for both people and animals. Thanks to their minimal dust formulation, wood pellets decrease the number of dust particles in the air, helping to prevent these health risks by improving overall air quality in a stable.
Wood bedding pellets can be composted with relative ease and are biodegradable because they are made with bark from degraded trees. Once soiled and saturated, they can break down into a great by product of natural fertilisers for gardens, making them a highly sustainable option for horse bedding. When composting, the natural decomposition process returns nutrients to the soil, providing a lasting contribution to the earth and protecting important environmental habitats.
Horse bedding made of untreated wood pellets is an excellent choice for any horse owner as it ensures that there is no chemical residue left on the bed. 100% natural pellets provide a safe and secure sleeping environment for your animals and a comfortable and healthy place to rest.
What are the Disadvantages of Wood Pellets Bedding?
Wood pellets for horse bedding are usually the most economical option, especially when you muck your horse, but they require a large amount of storage space if you decide to buy them in bulk (typically half a ton full pallet or more in bulk, rather than 15kg bags other bedding types can come in). Despite these requirements, bulk wood pellets are typically much easier to store than other popular options, such as straw bales and shavings, because they are heavier and denser. This makes them ideal for those with limited storage space. Also, because of the bag packaging in the manufacture and delivery process, it is often possible to store a pallet out in the yard if necessary, and their heavier weight quality will prevent it from tipping even in the harshest of weather conditions, unlike a lighter straw bale/pallet sold of equal quality upon delivery.
Although wood pellet bedding is less aesthetically pleasing than shavings or straw, its many advantages make up for this visual drawback. It does not look to provide the same luxurious feeling of a soft, thick fluffy bed because of the larger fibres (which, in reality, horses seem to be as comfortable as ever with it!). However, the cost savings, sustainable advantages, and potential health benefits associated with wood pellet bedding can be seen as excellent compensation for such a minor inconvenience.
The VAT rate on the delivery of a bag of horse bedding is 20% because horses are considered luxury items. Considering that wood pellets can be used as a sustainable fuel, you may find 5% VAT on the same or similar products. Customers are responsible for paying the correct VAT, so if you buy at a cheaper rate, you risk getting in trouble with the Inland Revenue because you are using it for horse bedding, not sustainable wood fuel.
Tips For Choosing The Right Wood Pellets For Horse Bedding
Choosing suitable wood pellets for horse bedding is essential for your horse’s health and comfort. The best wood pellets for horses are kiln-dried and made from softwood, such as pine or fir. Hardwood pellets, like oak or hickory, can be too hardened and uncomfortable for horses; however, this is also easily rectified with more water added to the bedding. Factors to consider when choosing wood pellets include size, moisture content, dust levels, and price. Knowing what to look for will help you choose the best wood pellets for your horse’s bedding needs.
Do You Have to Soak Wood Pellets for Horses?
Although you don’t have to, pellets become softened and comfier by adding fresh water, making them dry once softened and highly absorbent. You and your horse could experience discomfort and instability when walking on hard, unwatered pellets. An exceptionally comfortable bed for horses is made from thick, soft wood pellets that are shock-absorbing for footing if you add water.
How Many Bags of Pellet Bedding Do I Need for a Horse Stall?
To start a 12 x 12 stable for one horse, 8 – 10 bags of pellet bedding are often recommended. Following the pellets’ softening, there will be about 4 inches of bed material. Wet spots will be absorbed quickly and trapped in the stable below this depth, resulting in a reduction in ammonia levels and the spreading of wet areas. Keeping an average of 4 inches of fibre will result in less bedding being used in the long run.
How to Prep the Stall & Bed Your Horse with Wood Pellet Bedding
Preparing the stall with wood pellet bedding is a unique process but only requires some simple steps to ensure the best results. With the proper preparation, you can create a clean, dry environment that will keep your horse healthy and happy in its comfy beds!
You can start by getting the correct amount of bags of wood pellets for delivery, as explained above. You should then space the bags evenly around the stable up to the stable door. Fold back the plastic on all the bags after cutting them open.
Approximately half of a standard UK bucket will be needed to ‘activate’ each bag of pellets. Allow the pellets to swell by slowly pouring water into the bag opening. The pellets will expand to three times their original size within 15-20 minutes after absorbing the water and become soft.
Next, ensure all the bedding is emptied onto the stable floor. A soft, fluffy, yet dense bed should have formed from the pellets, although some may remain intact – don’t worry, this is entirely normal, even for high-quality bags.
Create any banks that need to be formed in the stable bed by evenly spreading the wood pellet bedding with a pitchfork up to the stable door.
The Muck Out and General Maintenance
Ensure that muck solids and fully saturated patches are removed daily. Using wood pellet bedding will considerably reduce your muck heap because it separates from manure and remains on the floor of the stable, reducing any waste of the bedding, unlike straw. To maintain a clean, dry bed, one or two bags of wood pellets can be added directly to the bed when necessary.
Can Wood Pellets Horse Bedding be Used for Other Animals?
Bags of wood pellets are not necessarily just for the equine market! For poultry, cattle, and dairy, a wood pellet bed will provide the same benefits upon delivery. You can also use it as cat litter! It is essential to consult your local veterinarian if you have concerns about pine sensitivity in small animals, so they may have to be switched back to straw.
If small animals, such as puppies, eat any hard pellets, the ingestion of them could pose a risk. You should soften pellets before use if this is a concern. It is actually more absorbent when pellet fibres are softened, providing more protection against wetness in cages.
Hopefully, this article has informed you of everything about wood pellets for your horse’s bed. A bag of hay and straw from your local supplier is not the only bedding available for your animals! We hope you have learnt something about pellets on the market for delivery, and you can now consider whether this material is suitable for your stable beds.