Caring for horses is not an easy job. Just like any other pet animal, horses require a lot of time and care on your part in order to live a healthy life. While people do take care of keeping the temperature and cleanliness of their horse’s stable in check, sometimes the things that aren’t deemed harmful are the ones that may not be very good for your horse’s health.
A recent study has shown that using wooden shavings as the bedding in a stable may be affecting your horse’s respiration due to the release of ammonia. In order to avoid this, the researchers suggest that you start using peat for horse bedding, as it is much safer than using wood shavings or even straw.
A Stable Free from Harmful Gases
When peat was put in direct comparison with wood shavings as horse bedding, it was found that wood shavings release multiple harmful gases that are not good for your horse’s respiratory system. On the other hand, peat was found to be much healthier in this regard.
The reason for this is the larger particle size of peat. These particles are so large in size that they can’t find their way as easily into a horse’s lungs as the particles of wood shavings can. Apart from being safer than using wood shavings, peat bedding is also more advantageous than using straw. The reason is that straw and other such materials have the tendency to get infested by molds and other microorganisms that are harmful for animals.
The researchers divided a stable into two portions based on the type of bedding. One portion had peat bedding and the other had wooden shavings on the floor. The horses were given equal time in each portion, and this was repeated for 84 days. The researchers collected the horses’ blood and fecal samples every day to analyze the differences. They also evaluated the condition of their hooves, while also noticing for any respiratory changes.
A Major Difference
Based on these studies, it was concluded that a bedding of wood shavings gave off 6-8 times the ammonia content that peat released. The middle portions of the peat bedding were found to be completely free of ammonia. These are very noticeable differences in ammonia levels which are a testimonial to the fact that peat bedding for horse stables in much better for your horses than the more conventional wooden shavings.
Cheap and Environment Friendly
Peat not only plays a part in keeping your horse healthy, it also benefits the environment. It composts easily, and is a great fertilizer. While it costs about as much as wood shavings, it is consumed at a slower rate which means it lasts longer and is more economical in the long run. The only downside here is that peat may be a little hard to get.
So if you own a horse and you see that it’s having problems with breathing, it may be the wooden shavings on the floor that are the culprit. Based on this research alone, it should be very clear that peat bedding is much better for your horses than some other forms of bedding, and you should definitely give it a try.