How clean and dry are your horse’s stalls?

I recently upgraded from two equines to four. Shortly thereafter, my checkbook developed a serious leak that lead straight to Tractor Supply. At this point I realized that my bedding plan was no longer affordable! I had been using the TSC shavings (which are ridiculously inconsistent, but they are open when I can get there conveniently) and covering the wet spots with the pelleted bedding. Bulk sawdust is available in my area but I lack a proper place to store it and it takes a lot more time to move it back and forth. I find the bagged products easier to store and faster to use.

My barn is a metal building and the urine smell tends to stay trapped in the barn, my clothes, my house, my hair and skin way more than anyone would like, horses included. Since I just switched to night turn out, my schedule leaves the poor horses in about 13 hours a day now. Not the best situation, but they are not running from the flies or stomping their feet off and each has their own personal fan. Upon reflection, I thought there has to be a better way/product. I researched and looked around and did some cost analysis and read internet reviews. I knew regular straw was out, hemp was interesting but beyond too expensive.. and then I found… bagged newspaper at the feed store 15 minutes away. Cue the music!

Why not?! So I began the experiment. I took the piggiest horse’s stall first. In desperation I had gone to hardly any shavings, lots of pellets in the swamp in the center and basically stripping it daily. Smelly, wet and disgusting. Bleech!

Because I am kind of crazy/obsessive/a horse girl I had to keep track of the whole process. SP = Swift pick 1 bag. Paper is one bag of the shredded paper. Paper is $3 a bag more than SP in this experiment.

Step 1- strip the stall (it is just under 12 x 12)  – 7/29/2017 7:10 pm

Notice chronic wet spot in the center.

Step 2-  Add and fluff one bale of the newspaper  – 7/29/2017 7:16 pm

So, according to the feed store, one bag of the paper is equivalent to two bags of shavings. This is one bag. I did walk around and break up the clumps of paper. Time consuming, but kind of fun. Ok, 6 minutes, but if you have 20 stalls that’s a lot.

But….how is it to pick? How does it hold up? Does it absorb the pee spots? Absolutely no one likes picking up wet shavings only to have a pee puddle left on the stall mats underneath. I am happy to report only a minor learning curve! The paper is very absorbent, clumps more like kitty litter and stays fluffy and dry on the top. So, you have to search for the wet spots a bit. Depending on your horse’s piles, it also might require a little bit of prospecting to get 100% picked up. It is also easy to shake the dry flakes off the fork because they are so light! Oh and did I mention they are lighter to haul around and easier therefore to dump?

Tuesday 8/1/2017 7:12 PM picked after three days in the stall.

Wednesday 8/2/2017 6:53 PM picked after four days in the stall. Not enough fluff left for me so I added a bag after this

Tuesday, 8/8/2017 7:45 pm… 6 more days in the stall… this is what is left.

Tuesday, 8/8/2017 7:45 pm.. I know, I like it fluffy! For comparison…some of the shavings are pushed to the sides a bit in this picture, but this is after I added a new bag. I do actually have feet.

So, as you can see from my crazy notes…. I changed the Donkey’s stall over to the paper on Wednesday the 8th. He apparently is not interested in pooping in the paper. He is peeing normally, but I have only found one pile in his stall since the switch. He is also one that would have huge nasty wet spots. Today is Thursday the 10th and I have not added to his stall. FYI, he is not impacted, he is just running outside and pooping immediately.  I assume he will get past this… at some point.. I mean he IS a donkey, so who knows. (edited…8/10 we had a poop last night!)


Non toxic ink; quick to compost, ph is not detrimental to spreading on the pastures; light weight, very absorbent, not dusty, and so far a consistent product. Unlike shavings, it does not get stuck in your socks… you know right under your arch where you can’t really reach it without taking off your shoe and sock. Also does not do a stealth migration to a far corner of your bra only to make its presence painfully obvious when someone important walks into your cube at work to ask you a question. Ditto for the elastic on your underwear.


Lightweight and tends to be more noticeable when they track it out of the stall. (but breaks down quickly and easily so??) I will let you know how it does in the fabulous gale force winds we get here in middle America when we hit fall.

Bottom line: I like it so far and plan to convert the girls over once I run out of shavings. I have one that likes to nest so it will be very interesting to see how she takes to it.

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Written by HJU Blogger Contestant Hollyn Mangione