As we know that wood pellets are widely applied for power generation and heat supply as a kind of renewable energy source. However, it is known by less fewer people that one can also make pellets as bedding with a pellet mill. We know little about bedding pellets. Are the raw materials the same as those applied for fuel pellets? What are their competitive edges over traditional animal bedding? How to use animal bedding pellets properly? You may find answers in the following.
What are Animal Bedding Pellets?
Just as their name implies, animal bedding pellets are the pellets used as animals’ bedding. Same as wood pellets, they are manufactured in a pellet mill through refined processes, such as grinding, drying, pelletizing, cooling, etc. Here we demonstrate some of their parameters.
Pine shavings and sawdust
Are the raw materials of wood pellet bedding the same as those of wood pellet fuel?
Although both animal bedding pellets and wood pellets are made in pellet plants through similar production technology, they do not share the same raw materials. More exactly speaking, those for the former are not as wide as the latter.
Since livestock or pets need non-toxic and bacteria-free living environment, the materials that may lead to their death or diseases are forbidden to be used.
1. Threat of hardwood:
Such hazard exists in black walnut tree (Toxic, may cause laminitis or founder), red maple tree (Impact the normal oxygen transportation of animals and accelerate their respiratory rates ), black cherry trees (The hydrogen cyanide formed in animals’ stomach results in the color change of their blood) and oak tree (Almost all parts including acorns, buds and leaves are toxic to animals). We can see all of these belong to hardwood, which explains why most manufacturers avoid using hardwood shavings and sawdust to produce animal bedding pellets. In case that any of the above should be mixed in, this is a brilliant choice.
2. Threat of softwood:
Compared to hardwood, softwood is much milder when it comes to pelletized bedding processing. However, there may be also one problem: allergies. Some animals are allergic to cedar, while some to another. This hidden danger should be paid as high attention as that of hardwood.
3. Threat of other factors:
Apart from raw materials categories, the dust, water content, mold and oil in pellets also can impact the bedding in some degree.
Therefore, after brief analysis, the question of proper raw materials arises. Proved by test and using experience, pine shavings and sawdust which are free from toxins and allergies are most appropriate for producing wood pellet bedding for livestock and pets. (That’s why animal bedding pellets are also called pine pellets bedding). They’re now widely applied by producers and animal keepers.
What are the Advantages of Pelleted Livestock Bedding Compared with Conventional Animal Bedding?
Before the research and production of wood pellets, farmers used to use straws, shavings or other agricultural wastes as animal bedding, which not only takes keepers much time to dispose of the waste but also is bad for animals’ health. For example, the use of straw may lead to strong odor and dangerous bacteria; The tannin, resins and lignin in shavings may make animals get sick. Besides, the decomposition of them needs even months of time, which plays no role in soil health. By using pellets as animal bedding, none of the above won’t become a problem because they have the following characteristics.
The liquid each pellet can absorb is about four times heavier than its own weight, making the waste amount half of traditional animal bedding.
2. More environmental:
On one hand, stall bedding pellets are made from the sawdust and shavings left behind in forestry industries, so the pollution resulted from their burning and piling can be avoided. On the other hand, the amazing waste disposal ability of wood pellets makes the place where animals spend most time cleaner and cozier.
3. Less odor:
Most urine produced by animals can be absorbed in time, so the irksome smell will not exist anymore.
4. Higher fertilizing value:
Compared to wood chips or straws that have longer decomposition time and invaluable de composer, wood pellet bedding are more precious for animals manure used as final fertilizer. With an ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen, animal bedding pellets make an excellent kind of additives whose quality determines whether the fertilizing compost pile is good or not.
First, less dust exists since the pelletized bedding is thoroughly screened, which eliminates chronic respiratory problems and eye irritation. Second, a large amount of urine is held, slowing down the inversion from urine to ammonia which may cause various health issues, such as cough, dizziness, weakness, tdyspnea, etc. Third, damp condition may lead to mud fever, hrush or diarrhea, while using pellets as bedding can not only protect animals from these diseases but also keep such insects as heteroptera and flies out of stalls or cages. Fourth, no chemical additives or adhesives are contained, so animals won’t get ill because of intake of such substances.
6. More time and labor saving:
Instead of several times of disposal daily, only once is required when using pellets as animal bedding. The quicker cleaning work enables one person to take only about five minutes to maintain the prepared stalls or cages per day.
7. More convenient:
Same as the competitive feature of pellet fuels over traditional ones, pelleted livestock bedding is much easier to store and deliver. 40 pounds of pellets can be held in one bag, which saves far more storage space than straws or shavings.
How to Use Pelleted Bedding Pellets?
Producing or purchasing pine pellets bedding is one thing, while using them is another. Proper application amount and method can provide your animals with absolutely comfortable living atmosphere. The following can be referred to for relative information.
1. Amount: Generally, 10-12 kg of livestock/pet bedding pellets are required for per square meter. The concrete amount may differ according to personal situation, such as the habit of your animal, the climate in your local place, etc.
2. Period: Remove the little amount of waste each day. When necessary, add some pellets on those previously placed so that the stalls or cages can always keep dry. Replenish the bedding every 7-15 days. (Decide according to the specific bedding condition.)
Steps of Application
1. Before all other operation, clean up the stalls or cages first in order to prevent the impact of previous dust, dirt, wood chips or manure.
2. Moisten the pellets with appropriate amount of water. This can be done either in a handcart or in the place where animals live.
3. After about 20 minutes when the pellets become softer, spread them evenly into stalls or cages.
A cozy, odorless and antibacterial home for livestock and pets is not only a key to their fast and healthy growth but also an assistant to save keepers from unnecessary troubles. Among all choices, animal bedding pellets can successfully set the stage for such a home because they‘re odorless, bacteria-free and environmental friendly. With the help of them, less than ten minutes is required to maintain the stall or cage per day. However, for normal functioning, please use them correctly and do not mess with those applied as fuels.