Ready to give shavings the boot? If you’ve been thinking for a while, “maybe using chopped up trees as horse litter isn’t the best idea,” you’re in luck. There are a variety of new, environmentally-friendly bedding choices on the market. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of one such choice, corn cob bedding.
Corn cob, ground up and processed into pellets with steam and water, creates an absorbent, biodegradable bedding for horses. The bedding composts much faster than wood shavings (some manufacturers state their bedding composts in as little as six months), giving cob bedding an extra point in the sustainability column. If you’re looking for bedding which is earth-friendly, additive-free, and can give back to your farm in the form of compost, it may be time to investigate cob bedding.
Much like pelleted wood shavings, cob bedding breaks down under the horse’s hooves over the course of about twenty-four hours, and you can speed up that process with a light misting of water. Clean the stall as you would with any other bedding, removing wet spots and manure. Since cob bedding does not contain any deodorizing elements, you may want to sprinkle wet spots with a stall freshener to neutralize lingering ammonia.
Users’ most frequent complaint is that their horses nibble at the cob bedding. In most cases, this tendency ends itself as the novelty wears off. However, as with straw bedding, some horses just can’t help themselves, so keep a close eye on your horses when transitioning to cob bedding. Although cob bedding is a fiber, a constant nibbler could make himself sick.
One change you may have to get used to: cob bedding doesn’t have that pine-fresh aroma we automatically associate with fresh wood shavings. Reports differ on whether cob bedding even has a scent, with some users reporting their bedding is essentially odorless. Others find it has a rather distinctive scent that takes a little getting used to.
Cob bedding is a biodegradable, absorbent, and compostable alternative to wood shavings that could be an important next step in making farms more sustainable. Have you tried cob bedding in your stalls or run-in sheds? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments!