I am almost out of the newspaper bedding already, thank goodness though as the more I use it the more I can't wait for it to be gone. I have gotten extremely annoyed at having to clean the App's stall for a minimum of 25 mins. I am tired of starting to clean stalls at 7:05a and not finishing until a little after 8:00a. I used to clean at 7:10a-7:15a and be done between 7:45a - 7:50a, I want those days back.
I have searched high and low for bedding options without any new options. The only bulk bedding options around are 3 options. Option 1 is a guy that makes mulch and sells stuff on the side, he is local and decently priced however his product is horrible. It is wood chards, many pretty sharp, mixed in with super fine wood dust. I used a 6 yard load when I first moved to MI and hated it, I went and looked at it in Oct and the stuff hasn't changed. You can buy either the wood shards, a mix of chards and dust or just the dust. If the dust was a little more wood-chippy then it would work well but unfortunately it isn't so that guy is off the list. Option 2 is a 100 yard load of wood chips, it sounds like what I want however I have no place to store 100 yards (semi trailer load) of material and they don't sell it in smaller quantities so he is out. Option 3 is the guy I used last year, he is a 1.5 hour drive away and is pretty expensive with his price increase this year. I am keeping him as a backup and will just suck up the price increase if I have to.
I have found several wood flake/shaving suppliers which aren't too badly priced but I am not really wanting wood flakes/shavings. It is another option that I will do if I need to but would rather not. It would be easier to store than bulk bedding but the for the price it would be cheaper to do the bulk bedding. I also looked high and low for a corn cob bedding supplier which is what the boarder really wanted to use. Unfortunately the only supplier I have found is TSC and at $7 a bag it is certainly not economically feasible. Thus I turned to wood pellet bedding, something that came recommended by several people. I have called over a dozen suppliers trying to find the best price and it seems it is $5.50 per bag if you buy a pallet of them. That ends up being 3x the cost of bulk bedding but I wanted to try it out after hearing some of the rave reviews so I bought some for the boarders stall.
I put 6 bags in the stall and expanded it and it filled the stall...just okay. I thought it could have used another bag or two but the boarder said to let it be, if in a couple of days I felt the same then I could do it but to leave it for the night. I am glad I did, after the pony walked on it and it finished expanding those 6 bags lasted me 2 full weeks before I had to add one new bag of bedding. It has made stall cleaning for him a breeze, I can clean his stall in about 5 mins! It requires virtually no sifting as the bedding falls out when you pick up the poo. It isn't dusty either, something I was afraid due to the particle size. The wet spots are easy to see as they are darker and come out pretty easily. The wet spot sticks together pretty well so you can remove about 80% of the wet spot in one swoop after you move the dry bedding away from it. Then you simply rake the rest of the wet/dark into a pile and scoop and out it goes. Pretty easy and definitely easier than bulk bedding.
I have been extremely impressed with the product and, as a result, am going to try putting the boys on it despite the price increase. I want to see if I will use as much as they say I will, 1-2 bags a week per stall at $5.50 a bag adds up fast. So far I am not using as much as expected with the pony's stall so I can only hope. It is also easier to store than bulk, easier to move than bulk and is delivered whenever I need so I went ahead and ordered it and it should be here this weekend. I will do a follow up on it, I will put the App on it next and am very curious how it handles with a horse that isn't as neat of a stall keeper. A side note if you are interested in pelleted bedding, I have had several people warn me away from Equine Fresh which is sold at TSC. I have been told it doesn't break down/expand as well, it gets dark much, much faster and it doesn't work as well as other brands. I am using Wayne Davis which is a Michigan made brand and have heard Guardian is a very highly regarded brand. Here's to hoping it continues to work this well!