Pellet bed maintenance- beginners questions

Casey76

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Morning everyone :)

I've had my pellet bed down a month now, and I need to ask a few questions.

1) Bed depth - how deep do you make your beds? I'm on concrete, and my mare constantly moves the bed around, to the point of creating bare patches. The initial depth of bed was about 3ins.

2) Bed colour - is it normal for the bed to go brown (I have friends who manage to maintain a sparkly white bed). Currently the droppings are skipped out at least 2x per day, and the wet taken out once a week.

Would having a deeper, more stable bed (no pun intended lol), help to prevent the movement and therefore mixing everything up?

PS I'm on full livery, so the YM and helper do the majority of the mucking out.

Thanks :)
 

jenni999

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I have rubber matting so I have about 3 inches depth. I would say you would need more on concrete, I think the rubber mats help to hold it in place. I suspect the colour is down to the quality of the wood used in the pellets - if you're on an "economy" one then they are more brown than the "premium" ones.

Bit surprised you're on pellets and full livery - hope you get a reduction for not using expensive shavings !
 

Casey76

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I have to buy my own bedding (on top of livery charge) as the yard only offers straw (and Full livery in France, isn't like Full livery in the UK... :) )

You might be right about the quality thing. Just as I had bought my first batch of pellets as an experiment (bedding pellets and fuel pellets exactly the same), the shop changed their supplier and the new fuel pellets they get aren't as nice as the first make.
 

NOISYGIRL

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Defo put more bedding in, the more you have the less it will move about, only take out the wet when it needs it and don't lift the bed fully only where the wet needs to come out then replace with a bag of pellets. They will go darker over time but should stay dry if you don't disturb the rest of the bed
 

darrylskelton

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We are using pellet bedding on 10 horses now, all have rubber matting beneath. Typically bed depth is about 3 inches and overall it seems a good product. However one horse in particular has managed to turn it brown whereas all the others are keeping it looking very good. Strange thing is the one messing it up used to keep regular shavings the best, not sure if he is just a bit unsettled at the minute.
 

ReggieP

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We're also in France. The best pellets have the German "DIN+" quality standard. These are drier (less humidity), have less dust and less chemical content than "standard" pellets, but surprisingly they are not more expensive. We are currently buying from VALFRANCE. For the UK, I do not know what standards are used, but from what we have seen at various UK livery yards, as in France , there does seem to be a large variation in pellet quality. BTW I would recommend using rubber matting. It requires much less pellet bedding and is more comfortable for the horse. The problem we have seen is that the more cushioned (but smaller) rubber matting (e.g Fieldguard) tends to be kicked up by some horses (but not all). In these cases we've had to revert to using the more traditional, larger and heavier cow-type mats.
 

joosie

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LOL, another one in France, there's a few of us around aren't there!

We use a thin bed of wood pellets on rubber matting and do a proper muckout (wet included) every day to keep the bed as fresh as possible. TBH I wouldn't want to use pellets on concrete, if I HAD to put up with concrete I'd go for a big thick straw bed but personally I'd advise getting hold of some rubber mats :) Then you can keep your pellet bed fresh and not too deep and if your horse does scrape holes in it at least they're standing on matting.
 

Casey76

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Thanks for the Info. It was the German pellets I bought at first, and they were really nice. Good to know that I may be able to distance buy them :)

I could get rubber mats, would prefer the modern EVA ones though! Any ideas if I can buy these here?

I took Tartine off straw as she was eating it to nothing every day, and even though she wasn't gaining weight, she looked very pot bellied due to all of the extra fermentation.

I'll try a deeper bed while I research eva matting.

Thanks all :)
 

p87

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You might want to see how the bed is being mucked out. A lot of people give up on pellets because they think they are rubbish, when in actual fact they are just making a mess of mucking out! Seen this happen so many times. Another common mistake is to mix dry pellets through the bed... they won't break down properly this way, it's a complete waste. Pour one bag of pellets into a wheelbarrow and cover with water. Once fully absorbed (pellets should crumble - you might have to mix it through a few times) pour into the bed.

I have two beds on wood pellets and rubber matting, bedding is about 4 - 6 inches deep. I don't lift any wet out EVER - only poo. Mix the wet through with a huge patch of dry bedding and the wet will absorb. Any clumps of bedding - wet or dry - toss on the shavings fork to disintegrate them. Be careful not to confuse clumps of bedding for clumps of poo!

My beds are both bone dry (to the point where I spray with a hose every month or so to keep dust down) and mucking out both stables only fills half a wheelbarrow!

If you find a pellet bed difficult to keep then you're not doing it properly, it's honestly the easiest, cheapest bedding. We bought a palletful last November and still have half left. There's maybe 67 or so bags in a pallet, at around £250. We have plenty left to do us not only this winter but next as well. I've seen people go through one pallet for one horse in a matter of months.

One pallet, two beds, three years... pretty good :)
 

ReggieP

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T

I could get rubber mats, would prefer the modern EVA ones though! Any ideas if I can buy these here?

EVA matting was banned in France and a few other countries towards the end of 2010. It reportedly gave skin rashes and caused breathing issues. The ban was originally for children's play areas, but the consequence has been that nobody now sells it in France for any purpose. Other types of rubber mats (tapis / dalles caoutchouc) are widely available, although generally we find the prices cheaper in the UK.
 
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