How do you muck out your shavings bed?

(31 Posts)
Paddlinglikehell Fri 11-Jan-13 23:36:24

This morning I was mucking out ddpony, who is on shavings and I wondered if I was actually doing it the easiest or best way, so thought I would ask the more experienced tack room members.

Currently, I don rubber gloves and pick up the large poos, then go over the top with a shavings fork, before turning over (right down to the rubber mat underneath, removing the wet bits and clumps, before tidying up and doing some banks.

I put new sawdust in (a large block), once a wek and take everything back to the sides, sweep out an allow to air, once a week.

It takes me, around half an hour ro do a fairly large box, hay and water.

Does this sound the easiest way or is there a better/ quicker one.

Many thanks

ponydilemma Thu 24-Jan-13 20:25:03

Wasn't planning a deep litter bed in the field shelter but looks like we're going that way - have been picking out poos and major wet patches then just topping up - looks clean and doesnt smell.

paso Thu 24-Jan-13 16:49:45

I'm a huge fan of a deep litter bed. Before I had children i.e when I had more time I guess, I used to remove droppings and wee daily (was quite neurotic about it and hated it if anyone else cleaned out and it wasn't to my exacting standard!). After my first child was born I had to relax a little and started to leave the wet and just collect droppings and top up with shavings - great, it creates a lovely deep bed with suprisingly no smell of wee. Ideally it needs removing anually (a good days work) but mine has been down longer and is fine. Can't reccomend it enough.

Pixel Tue 15-Jan-13 16:17:38

Last time I had a shavings bed the pony had COPD (RAO nowadays) so I couldn't deep litter, it had to be really clean every day so there was no ammonia. I still managed to give him a deep bed on 1 bale a week, the secret is to not be stingy when starting the bed in the first place. I used to pick up with gloves first as you can get all the little bits (I'm fussy) and all the bigger poos without losing any clean bedding. Put the really clean stuff to one side with a shavings fork, takes about 30 seconds, then you come to a different layer of stuff that is brown and stained but not actually wet. If you scrape it a bit with the fork (or I had a plastic snow shovel that was good) you can bung it at the front out of the way and it will leave the wet patch to be shovelled into the barrow. Normally, because of the COPD I'd sprinkle with some disinfectant and leave up all day to dry, but otherwise you can then brush back the 'brown but dry' bedding to make the base, which will then become the next day's wet patch, and pull down clean stuff on top. Each day I would pull down a bit more of the banks so the top of the bed had some fresh and when I put the new bale down at the weekend I would make new banks with it. If the bed was looking a bit thin towards the end of the week I found that giving the banks a proper shake up helped as they get quite packed down underneath.
It sounds as if it takes ages but it doesn't really once you get the hang of it, not more than ten mins or so (depending on how long you spend artfully arranging flat tops to your banks and 'patting' the bed with the fork to make it nice and level wink).
I don't mind straw, it always looks so cosy when it is deep and fresh, but it doesn't seem so easy to get decent stuff nowadays, plus you need to have somewhere dry to store it.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Tue 15-Jan-13 11:26:57

No. Empty feed sacks, bedding sacks, compost sacks, sheep feed sacks scrounged from friendly farmers... When people take muck from the gate, I have a sign up saying please return empty sacks. People often bring back extra. When we deliver to the allotments, they save the sacks from the last load and we pick them up.

ponydilemma Tue 15-Jan-13 09:36:21

lol thanks catpuss do you buy the sacks?

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Mon 14-Jan-13 15:13:20

Well, you get a bag...and put some muck in it! grin it's then handy for freecycling, selling at the gate or shipping to the allotments. Pick muck up with gloves, don't disturb bed, put it in the sack. It's dead simple. Sweep back every week or so and take out the wet, either put in gateways or muddy spots or pile it somewhere till it dries a bit and burn it!

ponydilemma Mon 14-Jan-13 12:16:35

catpuss talk me through your muck in bags system. we have a horrible old muck heap right next to the field shelter which I want to get rid of. Where do you get your bags, do you put the muck directly into the bags?

ponydilemma Mon 14-Jan-13 12:14:13

I use rapport which is fab and smells nice but too £££ so I've just switched to miscanthus. I go in with gloves and a bucket, rake it over and pick out any obvious lumps of wet. If it all looks relatively clean and dry I leave it and just chuck more on top every now and again. The good thing about rapport is that the clumps of wet are very noticeable, having said that they only seem to poo in there confused strange ponies.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 13-Jan-13 21:30:02

Well our elderly yard owner made ours. He picked the wettest corner of the field and fenced off a 20m square. He put down a tarp, a layer of hardcore and sand clay that he dug out of his rubbish pit and topped it with chippings. It is bloody diabolical!
It floods every winter, the chippings have turned to a peat bog and it stinks!
I'd definitely recommend a high spot. And you really need planning permission for anything bigger than 20x20 (classed as a lunging circle). Adequate to ride in as long as you don't mind going in circles! confused

Loshad Sun 13-Jan-13 21:15:56

catpuss, and anyone else
can i ask you about basic menages.
I only have dmare (dpony is companion only), i need an arena of sorts, for use for 3-4 hours per week by 1 horse.
Has anyone made a really basic arena?
am thinking hard core, well rolled then woodchips on top as cheapest option.
This years wet weather has finally confirmed for me that using a part of a field is no longer a sensible option.

Loshad Sun 13-Jan-13 21:11:08

She doesn't eat the straw beds btw

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 13-Jan-13 21:10:46

All bar one of ours are on Hemp. We have limited space for muck, we bag it and deliver it to a local allotment when the pile of bags gets too high. Straw muck takes up way too much room. The muck goes in the bags, the dug out damp patches go in the field gateways and in the old manège. (ours is very basic, used to be bark chips, now mainly bog/compost!)

Loshad Sun 13-Jan-13 21:10:13

i have mad mare on chopped dust extracted straw (on top of rubber mats) and find that very easy to handle compared to normal straw, more absorbant and less smelly.
Paddling, yes she has a few quirks but i have her at home so easy to accommodate them and she makes up for it by being an excellent really reliable jumper.

DreamySleepyNightySnoozySnooze Sun 13-Jan-13 21:00:53

I much prefer a straw bed (if your horse doesn't eat it), as I find it easier to separate the clean bedding from the wet bedding and the poo. I can thoroughly muck out a straw bed much quicker than a shavings bed., but I find shaving beds are easier to deep litter (skip out daily and fully muck out once a week). I certainly never use a shaving fork, I find them totally useless!

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:52:04

interesting....just read up on hemcore.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 13-Jan-13 20:40:02

Hemcore isn't overly expensive, middle range maybe, and Mole Valley Farmers do their own brand. If you deep litter, poo daily, wet weekly or even 2 weekly it's economical. Half a bale a week maybe. You need to not disturb it though and let the wet wick into one puddle. It rots down really nicely too.

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 13-Jan-13 20:39:33

so how long does it take those of you who use straw.....

the yard i volunteer at most are on straw (some on shavings) - seems to take me ages to muck out straw but putting it down to inexperience! prob takes me 20 mins to do it plus scrub and refill water buckets.

i throw the clean and salvagable into banks, take out poos and wet with use of both a fork and a brush and shovel, then pull banks down a bit, add in a bit more straw and level off....

is shavings easier? ive not mucked out a pony on shavings yet. hope im doing this right....got asked to stay again to today to help so think i must be....

Paddlinglikehell Sun 13-Jan-13 20:33:43

Going to check out Hemcore, but sounds expensive!

I did a 'big' clean today and it wasn't too bad at all. I just need to speed up! Ddpony was sooooo glad to be in early, nothing like happy pony and extra springy clean bed.

Loshad - eating shavings! Very strange pony!

Loshad Sun 13-Jan-13 20:06:26

only have dpony on shavings, as dmare has a screw loose and thinks shavings are tastier than meals or hay hmm
rubber mats, lot of shavings on top. Poos out daily, with a shavings type fork (ancient 20 years = old) and any obvious wet patches, sweep tidy.
Big muck out once a week going through whole bed.
Takes about 5 mins daily, 15 mins at weekend, bed always looks great.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sun 13-Jan-13 12:27:20

Paddling, you need to try Hemcore. Its really soft and springy, and when its fresh and you move it, it makes a faint tinkly sound. confused Its even more lush than shavings!

countingto10 Sun 13-Jan-13 08:16:47

Rubber gloves to pick out the poos and a garden rack to rack the bed - mare pees in one place so rack away top to get to wet and shovel out. Do not rack clean up the banks, don't like to disturb the bed too much so she can't churn it up. Can't get on with a shavings fork.....

I'm on full livery so shouldn't really muck out but am quite anal about my bed hmm

Paddlinglikehell Sun 13-Jan-13 00:54:58

Thanks for the replies, looks like I am not far off what others do.

I have only just bought a shavings fork, but must say I prefer gloves and a normal fork to be honest. Maybe I should sweep out more than once a week, although she usually weeks in the same places.

Vicarinatutu - I find shavings much easier than straw, I do a friends horse in the next box sometimes, her horse is on straw and it is fiddly, although I am quick doing it as I am more used to it.

I agree there is nothing like a lovely shavings bed, sides patted with the fork on top of the banks, I even make a pattern on the top of the whole bed! Sad!

miggy Sat 12-Jan-13 23:16:58

I swopped to wood pellets a few years ago, they don't
Look anything like as nice as shavings but we have rubber mats underneath. Can muck out in ten minutes flat, fab. Much cheaper too.
Have ds's little shetties on straw as they roll about so much they get too much dust in their coats, takes me as long to muck them out as it does three normal size ones on pellets.

CatPussRoastingOnAnOpenFire Sat 12-Jan-13 23:11:45

Vicar, if you have a pony, there's a chance it will be a greedy bugger and eat its straw bed. A non palateable bedding saves on worries about them being fat gits or getting colic.
I can't believe how many people use shavings forks and do the throwing it up the banks malarkey! Such a waste of effort!

Big poos picked up with fork, then throw clean bedding up into bankings. I don't take out all the wet every day as my mare wees for Britain - I tend to leave her with a 'day' bed of thin shavings as she turned out for a few hours during the day, then I pick out the poos again at night and pull down some of the bankings to make a nice night bed.

Getting through two bags of shavings a week at the moment. Grrr

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