Deep littering a shavings bed

Mary Poppins

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#1
So today Ben had his stifles re medicated and it looks like box rest is going to last for a long time. Probably 6 months in total (assuming that we get that far). When he came out of hospital the vets said that he didn't need a particularly deep bed, so I have just been putting a light bed down (over matting) and then replacing when it gets too thin. As we have now found out his stifle is full of fluid, the vet now says that a much deeper bed would benefit him.

So I am considering deep littering a shavings bed. Has anyone done this and got any advice? I am moving him to an outdoor stable this weekend as the vet thought the barn he is currently in was a little too stuffy and he didn't get much natural light. The new stable is a little bigger, has a window on one side and faces directly outside. I think that this will suit him better. I am just pondering on how many bales of shavings I need to buy to set up the deep litter. I currently have 3 in my lorry but I think I will need more than this?
 

carthorse

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#2
It depends on how big your stable is & how much is in the bales, but I'd say at least 12.

Make the bed right up to the door, otherwise it will shift when he moves around & that will mean it takes a lot longer to form a base & also the wet will be stirred through the bed. And to keep the bed decent I'd still be looking at at least a bale a week.
 

Trewsers

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#3
I sort of deep litter shavings with Storm. I found that straw seemed to leg her up and if she did get addled for whatever reason it wasn't doing her leg any good. What I did was gradually transition. There may well be a thin layer of compressed straw lurking! I think initially I used about four Bedmax and then switched to unbranded. I didn't find the Bedmax particularly good and when I was forced to use ubranded because local place had sold out, I was very impressed with them.
I don't have rubber mats - but there is some straw down under it. So far so good for us. I only top up with one bale per week. She moves to a different stable during the daytime though - to give her some variety.
 

Jessey

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#4
It depends on how big your stable is & how much is in the bales, but I'd say at least 12.
In the back of my memory somewhere I was thinking we always used to start a bed with 12 bales, but then thought I must be crazy as that seems loads but perhaps not as you said that too.
 

Mary Poppins

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#5
12 seems a huge number of bales to me. I am not sure he would fit in the stable with that amount of shavings!

He has wet hay as well, and he won't eat the hay once it is mixed in with the shavings. At the moment the stable is split into 2 parts, the back is where the bed is and where he sleeps, and the front is clear of bedding and this is where his hay goes. But I do now think that I need to bring the bed all the way forward so that he has support on all his legs. But then what do I do with the hay? He isn't allowed a haynet as the vet wants him to eat in a natural position. I think I need to invest in a big trug for the hay to go into.
 
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Trewsers

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#6
Must admit hay / hayledge getting into the bed can be a pain. I tried to avoid it by placing all hers on the concrete at the back. Mind you, she is quite a hoover and less and less gets wasted and shoved in. A medium sized plasterers bath might be useful. Or as you say a tub trug?
 

carthorse

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#7
12 seems a huge number of bales to me. I am not sure he would fit in the stable with that amount of shavings!

He has wet hay as well, and he won't eat the hay once it is mixed in with the shavings. At the moment the stable is split into 2 parts, the back is where the bed is and where he sleeps, and the front is clear of bedding and this is where his hay goes. But I do now think that I need to bring the bed all the way forward so that he has support on all his legs. But then what do I do with the hay? He isn't allowed a haynet as the vet wants him to eat in a natural position. I think I need to invest in a big trug for the hay to go into.
It seems loads when you first fluff them up, but once bashed down with a fork & then used for a few days it's nowhere near as many as you think. Put 12 bales in a stable side by side & then imagine that at a quarter of the depth of the bale & suddenly it won't seem as much, for a deep litter bed you need it thick & the base compressed. Bedding down half the stable won't work at all, I wouldn't even bother trying because you'll just end up with a mess.

Could you rig him up a low haybar type arrangement to stop him pulling hay everywhere? I find that with trugs they just tip them over.
 

OwnedbyChanter

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#8
I deep litter on shaving to an extent. Ginger always pees in the same place so I leave that bit alone and clean round it. 12 is a large amount. I build my bed a lot slower and only 3/4 to the front as I have the same problem with the hay. They need to be able to stand all four feet on a bed so bring it as far forward as you can. Think about if only his back where on even if the bed is only 4 inchs high that is putting pressure on the front long term. A bit like standing with one knee bent all the time.

I find the bales are so tightly packed now that 4 will give me a good start and I top up once a week with a full bale, but my stables is not quite 12x12. I do take out the pee once a week which is normally about 2 wheel barrows worth if that but during the week is is less than a barrow a day of just poo. I don't find the wet bit moves after the first day.
 

mystiquemalaika

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#9
Correctly deep littering for the this type of need not semi deep littering, needs the stable filled front to back so he is always supported no matter where he stands. I too would be doing 10-12 to start and id expect to top up at least a couple near the beginning. It's not just about how deep at the start, as Carthorse says it settled and beds down and it can only do this correctly if it can't move as much. It is more about getting complete full coverage allowing that to happen. Especially when horses are in 24/7.
Box pallets make good hay feeder to stop waste or something like a plasterer bath as suggested but it needs to be fairly big and deep enough to work. tub trugs just don't work to stop waste.
 
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Ruskii

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#10
Might not work as your deep littering a stable (btw I back up the claim of needing 12 bales) it'll bed down and you'll need a thick base for the wet to gather on and right to the door too so he's not standing unevenly - but I digress, I really recommend the haycubes for soaking hay and reducing waste, I've always used haylage nets too but baled them up so the string is tied up but they are on the floor, so they were eating from a natural position but as they didn't wear shoes there was never the risk of them getting caught on it.

With the black Friday sales coming up I'd keep an eye out as they usually do a good deal for them then. They are pricey but gosh they save time!
 

Mary Poppins

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#11
Well deep littering went out of the window on the first night as I couldn’t help but take the wet out! I put 4 bales in and his bed is absolutely huge! I will see how it goes.
 

bitsnpieces

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#12
If you find that you don’t get with deep littering on shavings, beddings like Aubiose are pretty good for deep litter type beddings too and once they’re down, they hold the wet right at the very base of the bed and don’t move around much.
 

carthorse

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#13
Well deep littering went out of the window on the first night as I couldn’t help but take the wet out! I put 4 bales in and his bed is absolutely huge! I will see how it goes.
I can't help thinking that if you could find the wet to take out then the bed wasn't deep enough. Deep littering isn't for everyone though, and I it doesn't sit easily with you then going back to normal mucking out is probably the best option - I have days when I think I'll just skip out, but then can't do it!
 
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#14
when I did deep litter in a 12 x 12 stable I used around 10 bales. it was very deep, and after that I just took the poo out and put a thin layer on top i.e just a sprinkle of shavings daily. the wee soaked down into the base. I used Bliss Bedding as it is absorbent, auboise or similar would work, ordinary shavings don't.
 

Mary Poppins

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#15
I gave up on deep littering before I even started as I couldn’t stand the thought of wee in his stable. I am mucking out normally and it’s going ok. I am looking forward to him living out again though if that ever happens.