“The most important factor to consider when choosing bedding is the health of your horse. If the bedding is damp it softens the horse’s hooves and provides an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Ammonia is released from the retained horse urine and without adequate ventilation these fumes can be a significant irritant to your horse’s respiratory system. Some horses have dust allergies or other respiratory conditions which can be irritated by dust or mould spores found in some types of bedding……”
Quote from the book “Beds and Bedding for Horses” Author Mary Gordon-Watson, Carole Vincer
(Available from Amazon, about NZ$15.00 plus p&p)
Corrugated cardboard animal bedding has been used for more than fifteen years in the UK and over five years in the USA.
To absorb moisture effectively any bedding material must be dry. Typically NZ sawdust is from green (not-dried wood) and contains 45% - 55% water by weight.
A cubic metre (m3) of sawdust weighs about 370kg. A m3 of shredded corrugated cardboard weighs about 70kg.
Urine runs straight through a corrugated cardboard bed to the stable floor and is then absorbed from the bottom. Leaving the top layer dry and odourless.
“Corrugated cardboard is five times more absorbent than sawdust and shavings”. (EL Johnson, Dept of Animal Science, Uni of Florida study, reviewed June 2003)
Dust and airborne pathogens
Corrugated cardboard is clean, virtually dust-free and odourless.
During manufacture shredded corrugated cardboard goes through a dust extraction process. Unlike many other bedding materials it is completely free of fungi, spores, seeds and parasites which reduces the risk of respiratory irritation and disease.
Overseas experience has found shredded cardboard bedding to be particularly beneficial for horses with COPD, respiratory illness.
In a study of seven bedding products here is what Mary Gordon–Watson said about corrugated cardboard.
“Cardboard is becoming more popular as a choice of bedding. It has the same insulation qualities and storage qualities of straw or wood shavings. For grooming qualities cardboard is excellent, because it keeps horses cleaner than other bedding products. Cardboard is recommended by the ILPH (international League for the Protection of Horses) and veterinary practices.
Cardboard is completely dust free and is an excellent choice for allergy suffering horses. It is easy to store, light to work with, absorbent (5 times more than shavings…6 times more than straw), very warm in winter and can be cheap. (As you use less.Ed) It does not blow about the yard and is easy to muck out.
The most effective method of disposing of the used product is to compost it. It will compost after 3-4 months and makes an excellent mulch. Alternatively, it can be burnt in an incinerator.
As it is full of thousands of air filled tunnels, corrugated cardboard is very insulating and it is also very cushioning. As long as the floor of the stall is dry corrugated cardboard bedding will retain its springy feel with excellent cushioning and insulating properties. Overseas vets recommend it for bedding horses recovering from leg and hoof ailments.
Airlyte bales measure approximately 0.6m x 0.45m x 0.3m and expand to 0.27m3 (270 litres).