When it comes to providing your livestock with bedding, making sure it’s clean, absorbent and comfortable is a must. There are several options for materials that you can use to place under your animals in their enclosure to ensure overall well-being. Organic materials are usually best, as they contain lower levels of bacteria counts, resulting in better air quality and less discomfort (and will consequently result in less sores and other harmful ailments). While the type of flooring, animal breed and population density of animals in the enclosure matter when choosing the right bedding, here are a few good organic options to consider when making an informed decision for your furry friends.
Vegetable Litter for bedding
Plant litter is arguable the least harmful option for the environment, as it’s ecological and biodegradable and can be a great solution for your poultry flock! It’s mainly composed of natural elements, like wood chips, hay or pellets and is mainly used for animal enclosures.
If you opt for a wood-based litter, it’s recommended to use soft wood that’s specially treated for composting purposes if you want better absorption quality. Like wood shavings, which are both absorbent and comfortable for farm animals. An interesting aspect of plant litter is that it doesn’t produce much dust, which benefits the respiratory health of the animals.
Hay and straw
Hay or straw are also materials used to create bedding for farm animals. Hay is cut and dried legumes and or grasses and is commonly used for feed, but lower qualities of hay are great for bedding purposes. Ensuring the quality of the hay is not palatable so animals don’t consume it.
If you’re considering using hay or straw, it’s important to know that there’s a bit more upkeep required due to the lower levels of absorbency than some other litter options. Another thing to consider is to ensure the quality of the hay or straw is older and dry when you are spreading it, as old hay may give off dust, resulting in potential respiratory damage in animals. When they have a high level of humidity, the risk of mold increases which rapidly grows bacteria that can be harmful to your animals.
Within the vegetable little category, you can also find peat moss as an option. This type of litter is becoming increasingly popular, as it tends to be more absorbent than wood or hay and it helps eliminate the amount of flies in facilities. Peat moss has a controlled PH, which helps to reduce odors and the amount of ammonia in the litter. This bedding has even been known to help improve areas of animal health, including udders, legs and airways.
Store Manager, Antigonish NS