Deep litter bedding system Mixing bedding Bedding for a horse that box walks
QWhat are the pros and cons of a deep litter bed? Nora Wansworth, Fife
ADeep littering is when the soiled areas of bedding are removed daily but the bed itself isn’t lifted. This allows for a deep bed with a dense base that develops over time. Many owners find this is an invaluable time saver when juggling horses, work and family life. It can also be more economical, with only a small quantity of clean bedding added on a regular basis to freshen the bed, rather than adding full bales after every muck out. A key consideration in the longevity of a deep litter bed is the type of bedding used — poor quality bedding that breaks down easily can introduce high levels of dust into the stable environment and have a negative impact on health, particularly from a respiratory point of view.
One of the biggest challenges to manage is the build-up of ammonia generated by the soiled bedding. If this is left in the stable and the bed gets wet, it can have a detrimental effect on both respiratory and hoof health. Another aspect to consider is the digging out of a deep litter bed — many owners deep litter through the winter and dig out the beds in spring, which allows the stable to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before the process restarts the following season. Management of the stable environment and the use of a good quality, dust-free product is the key to a good deep litter bed. A bedding that is dust-free and made primarily from pine helps to control the level of ammonia, which in turn gives the best chance of avoiding health issues.
A well-managed deep litter bed can be very effective for both horse and owner
BeddingLUCY WARD regional sales manager for Bedmax Shavings Ltd