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Horse Bedding Choices

Horse owners have several choices when it comes to bedding, from loose shavings to straw to pellets. Information regarding each of these options is presented below.


Loose or Baled Shavings and Sawdust

  • widely used, long history as sawmill residue
  • shavings are difficult to pick out
  • high consumption and disposal


  • historically plentiful as agricultural byproduct
  • hard to pick out
  • high ammonia
  • some mushroom farm value

Shredded Newspapers

  • from municipal recycling, curbside pickups
  • contamination from inks and other types of paper
  • soggy pick out

Other Materials, Not Widely Used

  • sand
  • corn cob
  • peat moss
  • hemp

Wood Pellets

  • a new choice for the equestrian community
  • adapted from conversion of sawmill residue to fuel
  • fast, efficient pick out
  • low consumption and easy disposal

Wood Sources and Suitability

Hardwoods Used in Manufacturing of Veneer, Furniture, Flooring, Cabinets


must be free from hardwoods toxic to horses (i.e. Yellow Poplar, Walnut)


Not Recommended

Salvaged Lumber


e.g. construction waste, building demolition, landfill sorting, skids


may have contaminants such as treated lumber, paint, metal


Do Not Use

Softwoods Used in Lumber, Primary Paper Production


from sawmill residues when no competing uses, location accessible


for bedding, must have minimal bark and resin


Suitable for Use as Bedding

Wood Pellet Bedding

What is Pellet Bedding?

  • shavings are hammermilled to consistent size, and compacted into pellets
  • wood lignin (a natural binding agent) holds pellets together in compressed form
  • in stall, moisture releases compressed fiber to provide fluffy bedding
  • smaller particles are more absorptive, easier to pick out, and produce less waste

Types of Pellets

Types of Pellets

Consumer and Industrial Fuel

  • hardwoods and softwoods from sawmills, secondary sources, salvaged wood
  • intended for fuel value; can include woods toxic to horses
  • finer particles acceptable for fuel, but potential dust source in bedding

MBC Magnum Horse Bedding

  • uses only white organic softwood (i.e. low bark, resin)
  • higher moisture content than fuel pellets reduces dust in milling process
  • hammermill operation and aspiration designed to capture and reduce dust
  • secure sources of supply reduces the problem that many users of other bedding choices are beginning to experience -- bedding shortages

MBC Magnum Pellets Reduce Dust Levels

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