Cardboard bedding

Has anyone ever shredded their own cardboard to make bedding?

It’s incredibly uncommon in the northeast , not to mention expensive, but I love the health benefits for myself and the horses.

I assume “they” use a giant machine to do this, but maybe there is a DIY method?

We had one horse who was allergic to pine so we tired the shredded cardboard then shredded paper since the cardboard did not absorb urine readily, then settled on shredded straw.

The shredded straw was low to no dust, also found it to be excellent in a trailer as it has less of tendency to be blown about

We looked at shredding our own cardboard then shredding of paper and… well the workload to collect the raw material to shred and the handling/processing… shredded straw was easier to obtain (about twice the cost of bagged pine shavings) and it was easier to clean the stall.

We were looking at converting our tree limb chipper to chop up cardboard, but never really did any more than thinking about it.

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I tried chopped and regular straw this summer… But it literally rained the entire month of July and all of it molded. I’ll looked into shredded paper… The airlite bedding I was using absorbed urine very well. But I don’t think I can afford it anymore

as a suggestion rather than feed store check with laboratory supply companies as Airlite is very often used a bedding for lab animals (rats or whatever) but the Lab supply near us is a distributor of Airlite (Lab Supply of Texas) priced the Airlite bagged bedding at $10.95 per bag 37-40lbs, without a minimum quantity to be purchased. I could pick it up at their warehouse which is a few miles from us.

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Ok good idea…I’ll do some digging . The closest distributor to me is 2 hours…I just spent close to $900 on two pallets :nauseated_face:. Can’t be doing that

I’m actually doing that - shredding Chewy, Amazon, etc. boxes with a 16-sheet microcut shredder from Costco, and using it to bed a stall and a 3’x12’ chicken coop (also in the barn) for the winter. We probably have about 3" depth in each, maybe 4" in the coop. Note our horses and llamas live outside, so the stall is just used for occasional housing – llamas overnight when they’re wanted the next day, a horse generally for an hour or two except my mare was in for 2 or 3 days with an abscess last month. So we don’t need to replenish bedding regularly.

We are using the stall as an indoor run for the chickens this winter (a covered run is on the list of next summer’s projects) and they seem to enjoy scratching in it. So far the chicken poop isn’t prominent enough to impact the use of the stall for horse or llamas when necessary. We’ll see what it looks like in April. (Northern NH - I hope the lawn will be open & dry for the chickens to go back out to their tractor & poultry net in early May.)

I mostly just shred brown cardboard and newspaper because I spread our stall cleanings on the back part of the lawn and white & colors really show up and look sloppy - a complaint (sloppy-looking fly-away bits from the manure pile) I’ve heard from those who have tried white paper.

My husband complained about the absorbency relative to pellets, but I find it comparable to the sawdust I used decades ago - the urine spreads out a bit on the floor before being absorbed into the bedding, but it is absorbed. It tracks a bit into the barn aisle, but not horribly.

If I were cleaning a stall daily then I think the logistics of creating enough bedding would be overwhelming. But - at least so far - it’s working great for my use.

I’ll attach picture of the coop bedded in the cardboard; I don’t have any of the stall on this computer.


Yes, one good full-sized horse pee would wipe out that entire coop.

Are you doing it for a particular reason (allergy?) or just an experiment?

I suppose it’s also a good way to get rid of paper and cardboard if you have a decent shredder.

Has anyone tried to mix traditional bedding with shredded cardboard bedding?

I’m only asking because it seems like an environmentally friendly way to deal with endless delivery boxes. Shred them and chuck the shreds right into the stalls…

Sometimes mixing bedding can make a nightmare of a stall to clean. But mixing cardboard into sawdust or shavings doesn’t immediately seem like it would be a problem to me.

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No, not in the stalls but in the compost pile the two were mixed. But it is said that the paper/cardboard bedding will decomposed at a more rapid rate than shavings. However that depends upon the amount water that is added either naturally by rain fall or adding water yourself.

We had an usually wet time period when we were composting the two together and there was quicker decomposition… but I believe mostly due to the rainfall keeping the compost wet.

So nothing scientific, just observation.

I use it because I have a lung disease
My company has a cardboard dumpster that is always full. I seriously wouldn’t mind shredding it all day if it saved me $

Well the horses don’t go (or fit!) in the coop! :smile: My husband’s horse is the sort that pees the minute he gets into a stall, and the wet spot after it’s all been sopped up isn’t larger than what I remember with (coarse) sawdust in the old days when I used that.

It is an experiment - just trying to find a use for that cardboard waste and make some free bedding so I can bed the way I like (nice thick layer everywhere) rather than skimp.

I haven’t gotten over the change from my previous horse-keeping life ('70s and '80s) when we got a truckload of sawdust delivered dirt cheap, giving me a pile I could use as I liked without ever seeming to reach the bottom! (I also was using a neighbor’s big old barn so I had a full stall space to store it.) I find buying by the bag from Tractor Supply leads to a complete different attitude - and the local sawmill now charges enough for a pickup load that it’s not a lot cheaper.

I was wondering the same thing - I haven’t had to as the paper is working fine by itself and I have enough for my uses, but the texture from my microcut shredder seems close to fine shavings and I’d think the 2 would mix just fine - but obviously experimenting would be necessary to find out if that’s true.

I found that the cardboard (I was using Airlite) did compose quickly. The downside was that my initial pile was at least 50% bigger at the beginning and I started to run out of space for poop in a shorter amount of time. And you do really need to keep it wet. We had a VERY dry fall and the bedding didn’t compost nearly enough, so it compounded my storage problem.

In the end, I’ve switched everyone back to a fine flake, low dust pine bedding. The cardboard, unless you cleaned everything out, every day, got more dusty than even pine bedding after a while. And its especially bad if you have a horse who walks their poop in, even just a little. Too much waste, and too much of a management issue on my small farm.

I have a lot of space so the size of my pile doesn’t matter. I’ve been using airlite for a while and have zero dust…if there is dust it’s from hay and dirt.

But to get back on track….still looking for DIY cardboard bedding method

Or suggestions for bedding that has zero dust

Ive tried
multiple brand of pellets
Top bedding
Chopped straw
Paper bagged shavings

Hemp is getting a lot of praise around here, but the cost is pretty eye watering. If you want one more thing to try, you could add that to your list.

Many of the Amish farms around here have a big box/shed/trailer by the road with a sign asking people to drop off their unwanted newspaper or cardboard. If your farm is on a well-enough traveled road, that may work as a source. I’m not sure how they shred it after it is acquired, though. You might also be able to work something out with a local store where you can take their used boxes away.

That’s pretty cool! My business dumpster is always chuck full
But I’m starting to think I need a new idea :dizzy_face:‍:dizzy:

Sorry - missed your response.
Yes, I realize that your horse won’t be in the coop; my point was really only that if you used this for horse bedding you would need to have LOTS of it, because one good pee would drench what is shown in that photo (maybe half a pee).

I think shredded paper could work as a bedding for horses but only if you were able to get it commercially shredded. It would be so hard to keep up with the at-home shredding to amass enough to actually absorb a stalled horse, even if only for a few hours. (Just trying to imagine how many boxes you would have to shred to create a bale of cardboard the size of a $5 bale of shavings).

I would call around a bit more; I know a person who worked in the paper industry and he actually brought it up to me not long after this post was made - “do people use shredded paper for horses?” - because there are places (factories, shipping companies, etc.) that bale paper for various reasons, including disposal, so it is possible there could be a source you didn’t know about.

one thing that kept finding in the commercially shredded paper/cardboard were staples and other metal…not a lot but often

also recently I was maintaining our compose piles the layers of shredded paper were easy to see as they had formed a solid hard layer where as the shredded straw had decomposed into dirt.

As mentioned, I’ve seen what a good pee wets, thanks to my husband’s gelding, and it’s not nearly what’s in the coop (1/4 stall). However, I do agree with you that it would almost certainly be unrealistic to use this for stalled horses (as opposed to the occasionally-used stall in our case) if you’re shredding the cardboard or paper yourself - I did state “if I were cleaning a stall daily then I think the logistics of creating enough bedding would be overwhelming.” Not just all the time required, but you’d be very tempted to rush it and burn out the shredder, and that would get expensive fast.

Works for my needs but probably not for what the OP wants . . .

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