Does anyone else use a deep straw bed system in their stables?

Tiny rider

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Oct 28, 2014
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So, I now have two ponies at home. I also have two kids and my own business, so after a lot of thinking and Googling I've gone for the deep litter system with straw. It takes me literally 30 mins to pick up poos, brush the bed back into shape and then scatter clean straw on top.

My straw is free, as my hubbie makes it, and I intend to muck out when it gets a bit warmer. We can't get the tractor into the stable to dig up the beds, but we can park it outside, and I will then muck the whole bloody thing out in around Feb - NOT looking forward to this, but I'll tank up with Diet Coke and music on my iPod and go for it.

However, it's worked well in one stable - Nemo has quite a thick soft bed now, and it seems clean, he lies down on it, and seems happy with it. (How can you tell if a horse is happy with it's stable!? I have no idea...)

But Candy, my 11.2 hh pony likes to "dig" through hers, hide her poos, and generally make a mess, so it looks like a massive sort of straw porridge. She also has COPD, and after Googling, deep beds are supposed to be a no-no for COPD horses. But she seems fine and has no coughing, although she does bugger all work as no one rides her at the moment, and she spends the life of Riley, lazing around in the field, coming into season and flirting with Nemo, who is confused... How can I stop her digging?!

I look at the lovely clean shavings beds people have and sigh a little. But I would have to BUY shavings, and it must take a while to muck out?

I hope I'm doing the straw bed thing ok - I have no one to ask at home, as hubbie isn't horsey and my MIL who is, is a complete nightmare on a stick (and I have to live next to her...the joys of farming)...

Might post pictures so you can tell me what you think...
 

Trewsers

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I use straw but don't deep litter as such. Every day we take the visible poops out, search for the buried ones and take out the wet patches. I generally put down a fresh slice or two each day - if they've voted with their hooves and spent the night in! Chloe can be quite messy - but I think they all can. Every now and again we take loads of the bed out - it sort of catches up, the wet bits, even though we muck them out daily. I just play it by ear really - I didn't like the idea of deep litter because I wouldn't have any way (like a Bobcat for example) of getting the bed out easily and it would be bloomin heavy!!!
I do "power" mucking out in a morning to get me moving lol and can get both their beds done in twenty mins at a push (if they've been in all night - they free range you see). OH mucks out with me if he's not got a lot of work on (we both work from home).
 

Trewsers

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About the copd - our Chloe had it mildly when she arrived here but more turn out and good quality hayledge have helped her. I still use straw but its excellent quality - I appreciate there will be some dust off it but it really does not bother her and if its not broke then don't fix.....
I had her on Bedmax for a while but it really did not make that much difference. More turnout seemed the way forward and either soaked hay or hayledge.
 

Mrs_T

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Do you have rubber matting? If so, you can get away with using less straw and it can be quite quick to muck out? I might be wrong here, but I think rubber matting is meant to reduce dust too, which might help with the copd? Although if you don't have it, it's quite expensive to install new (my friend got hers on a preloved site though for peanuts!).
 

Wally

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UNless your hubby will take the JCB to it to muck it out at the end of winter, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I hate deep litter, I have rubber mats and enough for them to pee on and it takes me 20 minutes to much 7 of them out. every day
 

Jayne

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I have rubber matting and use straw. I muck out every day, all up wet / poo out , then back down wuth fresh ontop. 10-15minutes depending on how much my hand hurts. ( I had an operation during early summer and it still hurts some. ) [emoji17]
 

newforest

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I muck out in the morning and put the bed up. Skip out afternoon, bed down, sorted. She has a square in the corner.
I think every three/four days I add a slice of straw but mine is in 23/7 as lame.
I don't like deep litter, I like to have a clean dry floor under the straw. Yes you put clean on top, but I actually think you use more?
Regardless of whether its free, I don't feel its that good for hooves.
IMO I thought deep litter meant you did a full muck out at the end of the week, not end of winter. Won't the bed be 6ft high by that point!
 

Wally

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IMO I thought deep litter meant you did a full muck out at the end of the week, not end of winter. Won't the bed be 6ft high by that point!

No, it packs down into a solid lump, if you have a horse who does not box walk and is not heavy on his feet it can make a nice, deep incredibly dry bed, but the mucking out is horrendous unless you have a JCB and a shed you can fit plant into.
 

Mary Poppins

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I don't like deep litter either - the thought of my horse lying down on a few inches of wee just below his clean straw makes my skin crawl. Ben is only in for 6 hours during the day, but it only takes 10 minutes max to much his stable out. Our yard staff muck out 8 boxes each in about an hour, so I think that perhaps you just need to improve your mucking out technique and speed.
 

Ale

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I used to deep litter on shavings but would remove the wet once a week and it used to be 3 wheelbarrows already by then.

Now I have rubber matting and a huge fluffy white bed on top and I do a full muck out every day and a skip out in the evening, I can muck his bed out in 10 mins if I need to but I usually take my time.

I hate straw, even if it was free I wouldn't use it haha.
 

Ale

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I worked on a yard that deep littered on shavings horses that were stabled 24/7. The wet was never fully removed just scraped back every few days. Horrible dirty wet beds that took 5 mins to muck out, if that.
 

newforest

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Ah maybe I am thinking of deep litter with shavings.
The yard horses get done with a bobcat.

As for speed its not important to me. I may even stop for a coffee. But from my point of view its time spent with her and the longer I take, the longer she has for a stroll. Obviously if I was doing it as a job I would be quick.

I don't much like rubber mats, you still have to lift those and if you have gone for cow mats be prepared to slide!
 

Trewsers

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Ah maybe I am thinking of deep litter with shavings.
The yard horses get done with a bobcat.

As for speed its not important to me. I may even stop for a coffee. But from my point of view its time spent with her and the longer I take, the longer she has for a stroll. Obviously if I was doing it as a job I would be quick.

I don't much like rubber mats, you still have to lift those and if you have gone for cow mats be prepared to slide!

Yes yard I was on used the bobcat.
 
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