straw or shavings?

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Jo~*, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

    559
    0
    0
    What works best for you straw or shavings? My 2 girls are only locked up at night so I don't need to bed down a large area with a lot of bedding. I have always liked straw but I find it harder to dispose of because of the larger volume of it. So what do you guys prefer. Also will the goats eat the shavings? Cedar or pine if you use shaving? Or can I just put lots of sand in the stall and not use straw or shavings?
    Thank you!
     
  2. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

    1,837
    0
    0
    Not much help here. The only time I use bedding is during kidding. My kidding pens are on concrete and I use straw only. Mainly because I'm lazy and don't want to clean the shavings out of the pens after kidding or off the kids when their born. Straw is soooo much easier and lighter to clean out than shavings.

    My loafing shed has sand in the summer and mud in the rainy season. I tried all kinds of bedding in the blasted shed and since the moister comes up from underneath....I spent too much money and time bedding it. Sand/shavings (which are a PITA to pitchfork out when wet and packed)/ and straw on top of those two. I finally hauled in SB2 and built it up about 6-8 inches. Now, it stays a lot drier and is hard enough to sweep the berries out in winter. (Yeah, Vicki, I'm waiting until after National expenses to mention I want a leaf blower! :lol)

    Oh, and cedar??? it smells good for oh, about 1 day...then it smells like urine. Not worth the extra expense.
    Kaye
     

  3. goatkid

    goatkid New Member

    2,730
    0
    0
    For me, it depends on the time of year which I prefer. When it's warm out, the goats don't need bedding that they can snuggle in and keep warm, so I use pine shavings. The are less bulky and don't get as smelly. They actually seem to keep the ammonia odor down. In winter, I put down a layer of shavings and top with straw to keep the goats warm. Our winters are much colder than yours. I also like straw in chilly spring weather for the babies. My goats don't eat pine shavings, but they do eat straw. When bedding with pine, be sure to use the shavings and not wood chips. One of my kids got a wood chip lodged in her throat at a goat show that used them. She needed a vet to dislodge it. Kathie
     
  4. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

    559
    0
    0
    Kaye, What is SB2 :???
     
  5. old dominion

    old dominion New Member

    154
    0
    0
    We use straw because we put layers of straw over layers of straw to keep things clean then take a tractor and clean the barn once the straw builds up. Shavings only come in bags here and is expensive and saw dust you have to be careful that it is kiln dried because of some type of mastitis does can get from green pine. I think the key to shaving is to make sure the manure is dispersed so it doesn't clump up. A lady I know would take her pitch fork daily and move the sawdust around just enough to keep things from clumping. I would only use straw during kidding as the having stick to the wet kids. Like most things in goats the answer to what will work for you is a combination of what you can get, cost, labor, and personal preference.

    Jolene
     
  6. I use both straw and shavings. I like both, and they both have their pros and cons here. I use shavings underneath straw in the winter. I use just straw for kidding pens. And in the spring, summer, and fall, I'll use just shavings. Shavings are easier for me to clean out then the straw.
    So you could get a bag or however many and try it. If you hate it, you'll know it and you wont use that bedding again. If you like it, you can stick with it if you want. What works for one person doesn't always work for another. :)
     
  7. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

    559
    0
    0
    Well it definitely looks like it a personal choice on this one. When I had horses I most always used shavings because it was lots easier for me to deal with it. It composted down under the redwood trees pretty fast. Straw on the other hand just sat there for months. I was just worried that the goats would eat the shavings and have it bad for them. I live right on the coast and it never gets really cold so warmth isn't really an issue.
    Thanks.
     
  8. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

    16,497
    4
    0
    Yep what you can get locally and what you use your end product for. Straw which I tried for 2 years is just way to much man power for me and has to be composted to go in the garden and around trees etc.. Shaving I can pick out nasty places, replace it with clean and take it right to the garden to mulch around plants.

    Now nothing is prettier than straw and putting it in as your top layer when you have customers out during kidding season, yep it's pretty, but I don't think straw does anything for us down south where we don't need to keep them up off the ground from the cold...unless on concrete. Vicki
     
  9. paulaswrld

    paulaswrld New Member

    629
    0
    0
    Here in TN, and I am right on the Cumberland river, it get really muggy and I had been using shavings. I recently tried to switch to straw because it was less expensive and seemed easier for me to handle....well, the ammonia smell has been horible. I am going back to shavings... the straw just seems to get wet in the barn and hold onto it. It just seemed to absorb the humidity. I had really hoped that with building the new barn on dirt floors it would be much less work than the old barn with wood/rubber matted floors, but we are still having to use a lot of bedding to keep the girls on dry ground. I guess it is just much more fun to pee in the loafing shed than the paddocks.

    Paula
     
  10. Ravens Haven

    Ravens Haven New Member

    642
    0
    0
    My girls get nothing in the summer at all except for the hay the drop and that gets cleaned out every week or so. It is hard ground and can be swept or raked clean, in the winter we try to keep straw down but wow what a mess to clean in the spring so I am not sure what to use in the winter just yet. Our barn is completely open on all sides except one and in the winter we use a drop cloth on one open end and they are survivors now if we had snowy nasty winters like some we would have to rearrange that scenario but this is what works for us.

    Autumn
     
  11. hamilton40

    hamilton40 New Member

    90
    0
    0
    We stay dry pretty much all year and never get enough rain or cold at any one time to need either one. I use straw for kidding areas but thats about it. For the ones of you with the bad ammonia smells I have the same problem in my rabbitry. After I clean it I put a couple of the large bottles of straight lemon juice in a pump up sprayer and spray it on the ground after I clean it up. It gets rid of all the smell and rabbits kept inside a closed barn can really get strong pretty quick.
    Clay
     
  12. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

    1,837
    0
    0
    It's a clay type gravel that hardens like concrete. Think road base on gravel roads. ;)

    In the horse stalls we used shavings,only. Bigger chunks of manure..easy to pick through with the stable forks and depending on sex of horse...geldings/studs clean the middle of stall...mares clean next to the wall. ;)
    Kaye
     
  13. mill-valley

    mill-valley New Member

    1,045
    0
    0
    I use both at the same time, always have and they seem to do fine. I use sawdust from the local sawmill, and spread enough straw over top that the goats aren't in contact with the sawdust. They will nibble at it but I don't think they eat enough to do any harm...I've never had one have problems from it. I have a concrete floor so the sawdust soaks up the wet and odor and the straw keeps the top layer dry. We don't let it accumulate though...we clean it out every 2-3 weeks during the summer and about once a month during the winter.
     
  14. SamSpade

    SamSpade New Member

    8
    0
    0
    I use hay drop only + my dirt floors are above the surrounding grade. ie For each goat shed, I build a box about 12" high and mound local soil (as sandy as possible) about six inches deep to keep them out of any moisture from rain and melting snow and to provide drainage for urine. Our hay feeder drops outside their area and I store it up for two or three weeks, then cycle out the old bedding for new. If I let it go a lot longer (six weeks +) it can get wet and heavy like some have mentioned. But three weeks isn't long enough for it to get bad. And I cycle the goats into a new shed each time also, letting the chickens scratch and fluff it before I tackle getting it into a compost bin. Chickens do a lot of the work and add their own to the mix ;)
     
  15. Bella Star

    Bella Star New Member

    1,273
    1
    0
    I prefer pine needles , it's natural ,it stays dry,stays fluffy and poop goes to the bottom and under the pine needles and it's free but take's work to rake the needles to use.

    I like the shavings for delivery as the kids dry off really fast,the shavings stick to placentas and easy to drag out.
     
  16. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

    559
    0
    0
    I wish I was able to "harvest" all the spruce needles that we get from the trees but they are small. I hate them for the most part they get in my garden (lettuce) all over the truck all over the roof of our house in my eyes and the fish pond my coffee.
    I wish they were pine trees instead cause I like your idea!
     
  17. Liberty Alpines

    Liberty Alpines New Member

    142
    0
    0
    I use shavings, and they have always worked well for me. It's probably more of a decision of what's in your area and what is cheaper. I have tried to train my girls to stay out of the barn except when eating alfalfa or if it's raining. They even prefer to sleep outside! Usually if there are lots of nice green leafy things growing in the pasture they prefer to be out there anyway. Suits me - alot less stuff to rake out! But I do like to use the shavings so all of the pee and stuff isn't going into the dirt and staying there. It gets mostly on the shavings, and I rake it out every Saturday. That way my dirt stays nice - my goat area hardly ever smells. Kristin