Wheat straw bedding and partial mucking out were most favorable.
Indoor air quality in horse barns is a concern for both horses and humans. In a recently published study, researchers compared different types of bedding and mucking out regimes used in horse stables on the generation of particle matter and gases (carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, ammonia).
The research was carried out in an enclosed stable which had 5 single box stalls housing 4 horses. Three types of bedding materials (wheat straw, straw pellets, and wood shavings) were used. Each type of bedding was used for 2 weeks and was replicated.
Wheat straw bedding generated the least amount of ammonia, followed by wood shavings and straw pellets. Researchers then further investigated wheat straw and the effects of the mucking out regime on the generation of ammonia and particles.
Daily mucking regimes included no mucking, complete mucking, and partial mucking out (just removing feces). The mean ammonia concentrations in the stalls differed significantly between all three mucking out regimes. The highest ammonia values were recorded when the stalls were mucked out completely every day, followed by no mucking and then partial mucking.
Finally, a 6 week bedding regime without mucking out was evaluated with regard to gas and airborne particle generation. The ammonia values did not constantly increase during the course of the 6 week period. It can be concluded from the particle and gas generation patterns found in the results of the experiments that wheat straw was the most suitable bedding of the 3 types investigated, and that mucking stalls out completely on a daily basis should not be undertaken in horse stables.
To view the full article, go to: http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/ full/87/11/3805.