Although straw is the go-to bedding choice for many farmers, it’s important to have other options in mind if this material becomes difficult to source or drastically increases in price. Moreover, recent research suggests that excessive amounts of straw dust can be detrimental to animal health. Here are four alternative bedding options to consider for your livestock.
One of the most popular alternatives to straw is sawdust. This material is comfortable and can be used for deep littering. It’s also easy to acquire and relatively inexpensive. In addition, you can spread the spent sawdust over your land as compost if made from virgin wood.
However, bacteria and mould can be an issue when the sawdust becomes damp. You can purchase treated sawdust that limits the growth of certain pathogens, but these varieties can be expensive.
Plentiful and cheap, recycled paper is another bedding option to consider. When sufficiently dried, it’s extremely absorbent and easy to dispose of after use. However, make sure the paper has minimal amounts of high-ink or glossy content and is shredded to a sufficient fineness.
Furthermore, keep in mind that recycled paper tends to clump when wet, making it difficult to spread and potentially serving as a breeding ground for pathogens.
Another plentiful and cheap bedding option is sand. Since sand is a non-organic material, it resists the growth of pathogens and has low levels of dust. It also provides good drainage. However, it can increase wear on concrete surfaces and animal hooves. It can also stick to udders and teats, necessitating more frequent washing.
Highly absorbent and resistant to bacterial growth, calcium carbonate is another non-organic bedding option you may want to consider. However, given its highly alkaline nature, it can damage your animals’ skin if used on its own.
If you need help choosing a suitable bedding material for your livestock, the knowledgeable team at Ontario Wholesale Farm Direct can help. We have several years of experience in the farming industry and can use our know-how to serve you.
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