Anyone who has kept horses is well aware of how labor-intensive and expensive owning a horse can be. While horses are beautiful animals and amazing companions, they require more care than your average livestock. Not only must you feed and board your horses, but you must pay careful attention to their health and wellness. Horse owners are quickly discovering that hemp bedding is a healthy option for their prized animals.
Poor air quality can be a real issue for horses that spend a good amount of time in the stable. Whether it be due to dust particles or unsanitary conditions, respiratory health is a major concern for horses as well as their caretakers. One of the most surefire ways to safeguard your horses from respiratory disease is to use quality horse bedding.
Hemp horse bedding is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional animal bedding that is also beneficial for your horses’ health.
Natural Absorbent Qualities of Hemp Horse Bedding
Many of the traditional types of horse bedding don’t have the absorbent qualities required to ensure a sterile environment in your stable.
Cellulose levels are one of the most important factors concerning absorbency rates for natural compounds like wood chips and straw. Scientific studies report that “[c]ellulose and some cellulose derivatives can play vital roles in the enhancement of the performance of absorbent products. Cellulose itself … can provide structure, bulk, water-holding capacity, and channeling of fluids over a wide dimensional range.”
Levels of cellulose in different types of animal bedding contribute to their ability to absorb urine and animal waste. The more cellulose in a horse bedding, the better the material is at absorbing liquids. Importantly, wood chips are 40-45% cellulose, while straw is between 30-40% cellulose. Comparatively, hemp horse bedding is reported to have cellulose levels of 60%.
Because of its high absorbency rates, hemp shavings for horses keep odors under control in the stable, while also offering easy cleanup. As such, it helps ensure a sterile environment for your livestock.
Beware of Thrush
Thrush is a horse hoof disease that occurs in overly wet conditions. According to research conducted by Michigan State University, “Thrush is the destruction of a portion of the horse’s hoof called the frog. This destruction is caused by anaerobic bacteria and fungi.” Thrush bacteria and fungi grow in areas that are constantly saturated with water.
The best way to avoid thrush is to keep your stable dry and clean. Because of the high absorbency rate of hemp animal bedding, it is the perfect defense for thrush. Not only does hemp horse bedding quickly absorb urine and water, but it is also easy to clean up.
Hemp Equine Bedding is Better for Air Quality
While sanitary conditions related to moisture levels are a major concern for any horse owner, the real danger in the stable has to do with air quality. It is important to note that horses are meant to spend most of their time outdoors in the fresh air. As such, when horses are kept inside during cold winters, it can pose real problems for their health.
Because hemp horse bedding has excellent absorbency rates, it is able to keep harmful ammonia out of the air. Ammonia rates increase in horse stables with the amount of liquid urine and manure on the ground. If this process is not counteracted with proper bedding and sanitation practices, ammonia can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in horses.
One of the major selling points of equine hemp bedding is low dust levels. Importantly, when making animal bedding, manufacturers are sure to “remove harmful particulates [from hemp] that cause respiratory issues.” As such, hemp animal bedding is widely regarded for its immensely low dust levels.
The Horse Respiratory System
As seen with people, a strong respiratory system is critical for the health of horses. Importantly, horses can only breathe through their noses. Therefore, they regulate critical parts of their respiratory system by moving air from their nose and respiratory tract. If their nose gets clogged due to poor air quality, it can wreak havoc on their overall health. In the worst-case scenarios, horses can even have a hard time breathing.
Hemp Horse Bedding is Sustainable and Biodegradable
No matter what the hemp product might be, the main selling point behind it is likely related to the environmental movement. Today, biofuels, plastics, lumber, concrete, fabrics, paper, oil, and many more products are all made from the hemp plant. In just about every case, hemp outperforms other materials in its durability and sustainability.
Hemp shavings for horses are a sustainable and biodegradable product that is good for your animals as well as the environment.
Unlike many other crops, hemp actually makes the environment better when grown. For example, biologists have recently discovered that hemp contributes to bioremediation. More specifically, hemp plants are known to pull harmful metals and chemicals from the ground, leaving the soil in better condition than it was found.
Hemp crops also offer an excellent option for carbon farming. With carbon farming practices, farmers set up their operations in a way that lessens the amount of carbon in the atmosphere – as opposed to contributing to it. Importantly, through photosynthesis, hemp plants sequester carbon from the atmosphere, where it is then returned to the ground when buried or made into products like biochar.
Because it lessens the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, hemp carbon farming will play a pivotal role in reversing global warming.
Another major consideration to make about hemp bedding is the fact it is made from hurd fiber. Until recent years, hurd was considered a waste byproduct of bast fiber production. However, recent studies into hemp hurd have uncovered an array of new uses for this woodchip-like fiber, including animal bedding and building materials.
In using hurd for hemp horse bedding, manufacturers have found a way to turn a waste product into a commodity. Not only does hemp animal bedding made from hurd lessen organic waste from hemp farms, but it also provides another revenue stream for farmers.
Hemp Horse Bedding is Cost-Effective
Because hemp horse bedding is more absorbent than other options like wood chips and sawdust, it needs to be replaced less frequently. Importantly, regularly using less bedding materials on your horse stall will save you money in the long run. Studies even show that hemp horse bedding costs less than both wood shavings and sawdust on a quarterly as well as annual basis.
Hemp Horse Bedding Can Also Protect Your Health
It’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that poor air quality in a barn or stable is also bad for people’s health. Because horses require so much care, trainers, owners, workers, and veterinarians spend a good deal of time with them indoors. Low quality animal bedding can also lead to respiratory disease for people who work regularly with horses – especially during the winter months.
Hemp animal bedding is a surefire way to protect your health as well as those people who work with your animals.
Contact High Grade Hemp Seed with Questions
At High Grade Hemp Seed, we’re thrilled to see so many companies working to develop eco-friendly hemp products. Please contact us with questions about industrial hemp or hemp animal bedding.