I'd like to try a new bedding for the ladies. The problem is that the initial switch over will be very expensive.
Here is the deal. We currently use sawdust that is delievered by the dump truck full at $238.50 per load. In the summer each load lasts about a month. In the winter, maybe 3 weeks. We have no place to store it inside so the pile sits behind the main barn. The delivery truck can only get back there (without getting stuck) if it has been dry for at least a week. Right now, the pile itself is causing flooding problems in Flagship's stall. We have our back hoe guy coming to move it further away from the barn. It will be even more exposed to weather and wind.
When the weather is dry, there is absolutely no problem with this saw dust. But, storing it outside during rainy times makes for a lot of extra work. First, wet sawdust is heavy. We move the saw dust by the wheel barrel full. This is NINETY EIGHT wheel barrel loads per week! It takes at least 7 trips per stall. Because it is stored outside, the sawdust is often wet and takes all week to dry in the stalls…the ladies have moist bedding. To make matters worse, we are pushing the wheel barrel through mud. When the saw dust is wet, it is very inefficient and non absorbant. We use TWICE as much as when it is dry.
In the winter, the pile freezes. It takes twice as long to get anywhere as we have to chip away at the frozen stuff.
I'd use straw in a HEARBEAT but until we have a hay shed to store it in, that isn't an option.
Before I left for Florida, the stalls in the small barn needed bedding. I couldn't even get the wheelbarrel through the mud. So, I bought some bagged bedding. In Ms Stalwart's stall, I used straight bagged bedding. Missy had some sawdust left so her's was mixed 3/4 bagged to 1/4 sawdust. Blue's was 1/2 and 1/2. Cruella has a good portion of sawdust so she only got 1 bag of the good stuff. None of these stalls were bedded as thickly as I like. BUT, instead of taking me two hours to bed the stalls, it only took me 20 minutes!
Here is the surprising thing. Ms. Stalwart's stall is STILL very nice! 11 days later! Oh, it needs to be thicker but MY GOODNESS!!! The barn still smells fresh, the stall looks great and my back isn't sore! The others are ok, Blue's needs more work than all of them and Cruella's is getting bare. Besides that, Stalwart's stall is NOTHING to clean! It's quick and easy.
The cost of this bedding is $6 per bag (if you buy 10 or more bags). Each stall could use 10 bags for initial start up. Maybe not that much but the thicker you bed it, the longer it lasts. After that, based on Ms. Stalwart's stall, I can get away with one bag every two weeks per stall. This will actually be less $$$ per month giving me some leeway for, um, less tidy mares.
I'd like to try bagged bedding through the winter. It is SO MUCH LESS WORK. By my calculations, bagged bedding will save me 10-15 hours a week labor!
The biggest issue I have is that even though the supplier, Woodford Spears, says he will deliver this first load free, it will be an $840 initial investment. (we are due to get another load of saw dust so this is $602 more than we would normally spend)…Woodford Spears says we can pay it off on time.
I am asking for help…this change would be very beneficial to the ladies because they will always have DRY bedding. It will help us IMMENSELY as it is so much LESS work. I am guessing it will take 10-15 hours LESS per week in stall management alone! I am almost in tears just thinking about it.
So I am asking for help with the intial cost. ANY $$ amount would be greatly appreciated. You can use our paypal account or send money directly to out supplier, Woodford Spears and Sons,INC, PO Box 143, Paris, KY, 40362. 859-987-2440. If you send a check, make sure you indicate in the memo place that this is for Our Mims Retirement Haven. If you call, talk to Steve Spears JR! The elder Mr. Spears is VERY elder and gets confused easily.
Again, anything you can send, be it even $1, saves me work.