Straw bedding especially wheat straw was used in virtually every stable some fifty years ago. Horses were mainly kept for hunting, competitions or belonged to riding schools.
Some horses had "hay coughs",now called Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and since the majority of horses were looked after by professional grooms, COPD meant nothing to the average horse owner.
Today's the situation is so different. The growing trend to keep equines as pets and not only as work animals has spurred a growing trend to find new types of bedding.
Straw as Horse Bedding
If clean and dust free, it makes an excellent bed.
amount of waste material generated
costly to dispose
Heavy to cart to the muck heap
Dangers of spores and dust
May create respiratory problems for horse and humans
horses often eat the straw
Findings from other studies have shown that when given the choice of straw or wood shavings as a bedding type, horses spend more time on straw.
Horses appear to spend more time performing bedding-directed behaviours on straw and this seems to reduce boredom in stabled horses.
The use of beddings other than straw may increase the risk of abnormal behaviours such as weaving.
Both straw and wood shavings are economical and easy to obtain. Straw is generally warmer bedding than shavings because it traps air.
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