Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Changing of the Stalls

This is something we have been wanting/needing to do for a long time now -- switch our current system of dirt and straw stall floors to something that will actually absorb and drain. We checked out some friends and neighbors stalls, and decided to go with a crushed limestone base, perimeter drain tile, and interlocking rubber mats. We bought the mats last summer (YIKES!! That long ago!), and John just got the time to tackle the project last week. Of course, last week we had 90 degree heat and wicked humidity -- this week we have mild temperatures (70's) and no humidity....had we only known, he could have waited a week to do this and saved himself a lot of misery....ANYWAY, he got the old, stinky straw and a few inches of urine-soaked sand/dirt out of the stalls, and prepared it very nicely for the base of limestone and drain tile. Unfortunately, I did not get a before photo, nor any of the limestone part....but trust me, it was a lot of work, and he did a beautiful job!!

The Girls and the Goat Boys had to stay outside for those few days. But they have two evergreen trees in the pasture that give shade, and we made sure they were bug-protected and had plenty of water.

Last Friday with the help of a Serb friend, they finished off the project. Here is Zora, overseeing the progress. The mats are all interlocked, and it is great! Now we can do a periodic hose-down by removing the short section of mat near the door so the water will flow into the drain tile. The only part we are still unsure of is what type of bedding to use. We bought some corn cob pellet-type stuff that you put down and mist so that it fluffs up. They also make this in a pine pellett (I think it is pine....), too. But we are wondering if this is going to prove to be too $$$$.

We are kicking around some ideas -- we hear wood chips/sawdust will work....with all the woods we have on our property, perhaps it makes sense to get a wood chipper and make our own ... ?? I also read someplace that shredded paper works....I used to work in an accounting office, and the number of bags of shredded paper we threw out a day was staggering. Perhaps if I found a local attorney or CPA office we could have a steady supply??? We are just not sure what to do here. I only know we are NOT going back to straw!!!

I think the animals like their new rooms!!


Paint Girl said...

Sounds like a lot of hard work but it looks really great! And you did it the right way for drainage! Looks great!
I wouldn't go back to straw, I have never been a fan of it. We have talked about investing in a chipper because we also have a lot of trees. But since my Arab has an allergy to cedar, we'd have to be extra careful about what kind of wood we were chipping.
We use white shavings, which is pine. So you don't get that really strong cedar smell, they smell good but just isn't as strong. We have had really good luck with the white pine shavings. I use them in the horse trailer and in the barn. Oh, another plus, they aren't dusty! Some shavings can be really dusty.
I have heard of the shredded paper. But have never tried it.
Good luck and you might have to try a few different types of bedding before you find what you and the horses really like!!
Can't wait to hear what you decide to do!

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Paint Girl -- Thanks for the advice. The goats have been eating the corn pellet bedding, so obviously that is not going to work! Pine shavings sound like the way to go....

Desert Rose said...

What a huge project you undertook!!! But now that it is done I am sure everyone will be happier with it...sounds like the goats are!LOL

LuLo Designs/Blue Eyed Tango said...

Thanks for stopping by! We use the wooden pellets for five stalls, easier to sift , lasts longer and easier to store. We only use pine shavings for Romeo but slowly switching over to wooden pellets....he tends to think they're his feed right now and eats them from feeding him for so long by hand the wet pellet feed because of the issue he had. He is a sweetie and we love him...others may not get it but he's special to us! Luanne