Bedding for broodmare stall

Taylors, SC

Calling all DGers w/ experience w/ broodmares!
I have taken down the wall btwn 2 stalls and made the "birthing stall". I put in the wheat straw (which is what I read I should use as bedding for a birthing stall) and settled my mare in her new "digs"for the night last night.
This morning I went to clean stalls and I must tell you, this wheat straw is the worst bedding I can imagine! It doesn't soak up urine hardly at all------and you can't really pick the manure out of it (you just have to take the whole are up.)
Please, please give me some other ideas that work better. I can not imagine using this stuff for weeks on end!!
I have always used pine shavings and I have read they are not acceptable for use in a birthing stall---but surely there is something to choose from other than wheat straw?!?
Share w/ me what you use, please.
TIA

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Ask your vet about it first, but the Dept of Ag impound I visited near me this past weekend had this cool bedding....I forgot what they called it, but it's like pellets that you spread in the stall and then wet it down a little and they expand. Then you add a little dry to it and it was awesome. Let it sit and hour or two and it's dry. They say they use much less than shavings and it has a lot less dust.

I used shavings. As long as you have decent ventilation, I think shavings are fine. I am no expert though! I am going to try those pellet things though next......


So tell us more about your mare and the sire! What are you expecting? Any pictures? :D

This message was edited Feb 28, 2006 7:40 AM

Temecula, CA

Hi, Elizabeth F,

Basically, you're right--wheat straw is a royal pain (and we use it anyway; guess that does not speak that highly about our intelligence.)
I have heard about the pellets that Jenks mentions in the post above...people either love them or hate them, but I have no experience with the product. Back to straw...after quite a few years of babies, I decided that a "substrate" of shavings and then a lot of bedding straw on top was not a bad solution. The shavings kind of wick away the moisture. A (metal) pitchfork is an absolute "must" for cleaning the straw. The shavings and the straw should not (ideally) be mixed, since the shavings are smaller and tend to "stick" to the afterbirth, get into the foal's nostrils and so on. But as a "base" they are nice, and using some also means that you don't have to use as much straw. If you have any plants that need compost, the dirty straw works well, also. I am writing this as purely my own experience with broodmares and bedding, and as always, there are many different ways of proceeding, and personal preferences. Our foals usually "graduate" to shavings after a month of age, or so. Don't know if this helps, but there are two foals coming "any day" , here at Sunsprite Warmbloods, and we have bedded the pregnant mares on the stuff I have written about here, and I do know exactly what you mean about cleaning the straw. If you decide to continue, I just want you to know: "This, too, shall pass!" Good Luck! Pam

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Mrs. Pam!
You've been busy out there? ! Nice to see you!

I can't quite bring myself to switch to the pellets. Mucking them is uhm......not real fun-nor easy. I may do a layer of the straw on top of the shavings this go round. I think my mare is going to make me wait until March 14th......

This message was edited Mar 3, 2006 8:06 PM

Temecula, CA

Hi Jenks,

Yes, I can say, with a totally straight face, that I really have been busy. Tax stuff and a very sad outcome on a filly (she has lost all vision in one eye, but at least we have saved the actual eye...I am completely heartsick about it, but her attitude has been so wonderful that I should follow her example, I guess.)
I don't want to talk about anything else, though, before congratulating you on that extremely handsome fellow, Khaos! What a charmer. He's a pistol...and such lovely, straight legs, right from the get-go. I know that you are very proud of him and enjoying him, and I have really loved watching him develop. I have been watching him more quietly than I normally would have done...I was going through all kinds of emotional stuff in relation to Darmera's accident, and then one of the workers at the ranch went home for a while (new baby), and on and on. So, CONGRATULATIONS, and I look forward to seeing all his adventures and shenanigans.
I guess that there will be a bunch of us on the same wavelength (i.e.: sleep-deprived), waiting for a foal or foals to come into this world. There are two mares in our barn who should be foaling pretty much the same day..."sometime" between tonight and the fifteenth or so, and I guess Elizabeth's mare will do the same, and then there is your second mare. Here's to all the Pisces babies still to come, and of course the best of luck to all of you/(us).
Greetings to all the horsey midwifes,
Pam

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

I'm sorry to hear about the filly, but at least you saved the eye! My paint mare lost an eye to infection after a thorn right before I bought her. Before that, we just could not justify a payment plan on her at the time she was overpriced (kick ourselves now as she wouldn't have had the incident had we gotten her). Then she fell through the trailer on the way to the University. Quite the story. Her price was reduced dramatically after the incident and I was able to buy her straight up! You'd never know it to ride her though, no matter what side she's on the wall or fence, trail or ring. No matter! I now find myself wanting any animal who's lost sight or lost an eye now.....

Temecula, CA

Well, I guess we're temporarily off the subject of bedding, but I'm so glad that you wrote me about your paint mare and how well she has done with one good eye. Falling through the trailer sure sounds horrifying, as if a thorn and subsequent infection weren't enough! Several people have told me how well horses adapt to this kind of thing, and the good news (I guess there's always a silver lining) is that she will be put under saddle with one eye, and will therefore, (theoretically) know no other way of going, which seems a lot easier for her than having to re-learn stuff in a whole new way...It certainly seems that there was a silver lining for your mare, as well- namely, that she got to you faster that way.

Darmera is out in the "large paddock", which does double duty as our arena, and this is the first time she has been allowed out, other than the round pen. There are horses on two sides, and she has rolled and played and in general has kept herself out of trouble, so it's a lovely thing to watch.

Again, Jenks, thanks for sharing your mare's story. It is one of the really positive aspects of DG- the sharing of experiences. Looks like we're in a "race" for the next baby's arrival...another shared experience!

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

I forgot to Thank you for the comment on Khaos as well! So, Thank You! LOL

The only difference Lacy had was she used to be a kind of a non herd member. Just stayed to herself and ate last. Now she is boss, even when I boarded her in a pasture with others. And on the trails now she has to be first. She is quite the witch to other horses, but she was good with Khaos. Though she did teach him some manners even if he's learned her can get closer to her on her blind side. It's really funny. I should rename him Lacy's Shadow! He's obsessed with her. He's going to go grey too. His mane is turning dark and where his foal coat has shed around the eyes I'm starting to see grey hairs!

Taylors, SC

Hey Jenks and Pam, I am so sorry to have seemed to completely fall off of the earth in regards to this topic. I appreciate your responses and help, unfortunately my comp went to be worked on and we were without it over a week.
I appreciate your thoughts on the shavings under the straw, my vet actually mentioned some breeders use that technique. I have also heard about the pellets too recently, a friend said they were carrying them at America's Country Store I believe. They are certainly worth investigating further.
My mare had a colic incident last Sat morning. It was caught early---in fact she had been pooping up a storm all night so it had to have just started when I went out. But she wasn't diving into her hay, she was pawing and laying down. Loading her on the trailer brought on a small poop, walking 30 min and we had another right before the vet arrived. A banamine shot from the vet and she was all better. I upped her alfalfa (per vet's recommendations) from 4 lbs a day to 6 lbs (in addition to her timothy hay). Knock on wood, she has been fine since.
This is gut wrenching!! And her due date is not until mid April! I believe she'll foal early--famous last words, huh?!?
I'll keep you guys posted!
Elizabeth

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Oh wow! Scary~! Both of mine scared me like that. The foal can sometimes get in a bad spot in there, but I call the vet anyway for a shot of banamine with a little bute too. I started giving them bran mash once a week after that or if I notice they're not drinking their normal amount of water that night.

I thought I had one due on March 14th! She's all bagged up(as of Wednesday) and ready to go, but no waxing. Last night I laid my head on her and wrapped my arms under her belly until I felt the foal kick. It's much quieter than Khaos was. She or he finally kicked a few times and I went to get out last year's calendar. Her last breeding date was April 4th, so 345 days later would be around March 27th!

I can't believe I made such an error! April is not so far away! It will be here before you know it!

Taylors, SC

Gosh Jenks--you only have another week to wait (if that!) Please, please let us know what your mare has this time around. Khaos will have a playmate soon!
E

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Oh, no worries! I'll bore you to death with pics!

Taylors, SC

You have no idea how much I enjoy seeing those pics while I am waiting not-so-patiently for my own !

Social Circle, GA(Zone 8a)

Well Pam should have delivered a few by now.....I hope she can post some pics!

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