With 2 horses to take through the winter and Christmas on the horizon I had a bright idea to save money on bedding and put that saving towards buying Christmas presents. Dustry and Soap have always been on rubber mats with bedding created by Chipmunk Equine, it’s a mix of savings and chopped straw which has also had the dust extracted. I keep them on this bedding because I have allergy related asthma (dust being one of the allergens!) and I can happily muck out both boxes, bank the beds up, and then lay them back down without as much as a sniffle. I also think if it’s that clean and good for my lungs it must be great for theirs too (nothing worse than arriving at the yard to see a big blob on snot outside on the floor when they have got the sneezes!)
This bedding is lovely but at £5.45 a bale it quite a bit more expensive than straw at just £2.50 a bale! So my bright idea was to swap them both onto straw for Dec and Jan to free up some cash….that didn’t quite pan out…
I laid down some lovely straw beds in both boxes, and surprisingly didn’t sneeze so things were looking promising. Both horses walked straight in and took a huge mouthful of their beds completely neglecting their bulging haylage nets! When I arrived to muck out in the morning their stables were gopping! They had both eaten at least half of their bedding and then just traipsed droppings and pee round the rest of the box, it stank, and it took me twice as long as before to clean as I had to take 2 wheelbarrows full out of each box! I decided to try and give it a week to see if it got any better, but my mucking out time doubled and the sneezes and watery eyes came soon after so the straw got scrapped!
I ended up using about 3 straw bales per box per week which amounts to £2.50 x 6 = £15. Compare that to the ‘more expensive bedding’ they were on before where I only ever used 1 bale per box per week, and it worked out that my money saving plan was costing me an extra £20 a month!
I do however have 1 good money saving tip that actually IS cost effective! When I muck out I lift the beds, bank them up, sweep the rubber mats off, leave them to dry throughout the day, and then put the beds back down at night. Now I’m not a huge fan of the perfume ‘Eau De Horse Wee Wee’ so to combat that I bought some Zoflora (as recommended by a forum friend) Zoflora is a concentrated antibacterial disinfectant that smells lovely and fresh. I found an old fly spray bottle left over from the summer, washed it out, put in a cap full of Zoflora, topped it up with water, and hey presto instant ‘stable freshener’! I squirt this onto the rubber mats once the beds are up, and it smells really nice, and when I come to put the beds down again moving all the bedding gives a second burst of fragrance. When I bought it it was on offer in Tesco for just £1 a bottle and so far after 2 months of mucking out I’m not even half way through!