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Hay/Straw
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Old 03-11-2010, 11:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hay/Straw

I read an article yesterday in a working dog magazine containing information on bedding in your dog's area during cold weather, the author kept stating to place "Hay" in the house for your dog's comfort, I think he was meaning straw, big difference. Hay is food for livestock, which contains nutrients and has alot of other stuff thrown in that will irritate most dog's skin, maybe not all. Straw is simply, straw. Which is fine for bedding in your dog's house or area. So when purchasing bedding, make sure you are getting STRAW and not HAY.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

I use hay for my dogs' bedding and have for years - I prefer it, as it beds down softer, stays "thicker" - isn't moved around and to the sides as easily as straw, and is less dusty than straw. It holds in heat better (mainly because it lays down thicker and stays that way) and stays in the dog house better. I can't think of any negatives. I've been told that there are mites in straw - don't know if that is true or not - clean fresh straw would be "fine too" but I happen to have livestock that eat hay and so that's what I have available. I don't bed my livestock on straw either - too much work to clean it.

You are right hay is used to feed livestock and straw to bed, but for dogs this distinction doesn't matter as they are not apt to eat either/or.

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Old 03-12-2010, 02:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

IMO, if you can't tell the difference between the 2, well, educate yourself. otherwise, you get what you get and live with the "consequences".

just as well think milk comes in a carton from the grocery store for heaven's sake.

but, FWIW, i agree with molly re: warm bedding that doesn't "move". but get grass hay, don't be complete idiots and buy premium alfalfa for dog bedding (that's for ppl that DON'T educate themselves).

disclaimer: everyone's different,every climate and DOG is different--use what works.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:02 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

I use orchard or teff hay for bedding for the pups in the whelping box and igloo when they are outside and older. I've never had problems. These types of grass hays are what I have available as I buy them for the horses.

Feed stores may allow you to fill a garbage bag with the loose hay around the stacks. If you just have a couple dogs, it's a waste of $$ to buy a bale. Or if neighbors or friends have horses just ask for a flake or two.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:10 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

On the hay and straw issue as owning a sled dog kennel of 40+ dogs years ago, I was always skeptical about using hay as we found that fleas and ticks could bed and live in the hay, however wouldn't in the straw. I tried hay and it beds down easier, but actually straw doesn't hold the moisture like hay does.

Those are my experiences when living way up north, but now in the south Dog Den's with Cedar insert is just fine!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:17 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

I've always heard that straw insulates better because it's hollow. It also tends to have fewer 'weeds' in it (ie: stickers, poison ivy, etc.). Plus, it's a heck of a lot cheaper and in my experience does not mold as fast as hay does when it gets wet. I do despise all the dust, though.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristen Cabe View Post
I've always heard that straw insulates better because it's hollow. It also tends to have fewer 'weeds' in it (ie: stickers, poison ivy, etc.). Plus, it's a heck of a lot cheaper and in my experience does not mold as fast as hay does when it gets wet. I do despise all the dust, though.

Throw a pile of hay and a pile of straw in kennel and see what the dogs like!!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:36 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

yes that is true, hay does get wet and stay that way - only because the wet goes down to the bottom of straw (so it's still wet in there, just possibly not on the dog) - the good thing is, when you pull out the wet hay, you pull out most of the wet too - where the straw-bedded house will be wet. I do put pine shavings on the bottom underneath the hay to help keep everything dry. I find that straw just moves too much to keep it well bedded - the dog ends up laying on the bare bottom no matter how much straw you put in there. Hay stays down better.

Yes, you need to get good grass hay - or there may be stickers and weeds in there. I've never found poison ivy in hay bales though - rare to find it in the middle of a hay field I would think. The hay I buy for my livestock is brome grass, or orchard grass - nice and leafy and makes excellent dog bedding.

Around here, clean straw bales is MORE expensive than hay, at least right now. I don't know why that is.

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Old 03-12-2010, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

I've used both hay and straw, the hay I've used was alfalfa because that's what I was feeding my horse. Once in awhile I've seen another plant in the hay, but it wasn't anything with stickers or something going to cause a problem for my horse or dogs. I don't have the horse anymore, but I still purchase the alfalfa. I agree with the pros and cons mentioned here. In Oregon I used straw due to the wet issue, with pine shavings mixed in. Here in CA I've used hay since it's more for bedding and it moves around less. Warmth isn't really an issue here LOL And keeping dry is only an issue on occasion.
And like Molly, last time I was at the feed store the straw was actually more than the hay, I don't know why.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Hay/Straw

the straw's more expensive anymore for a couple of possible reasons: first,there aren't many ppl left that have the equipment to make small sqiuare bales, so a lot of the wheat/oat producers have to hire someone to custom-bale the straw, and unless you live in an area that grows a lot of wheat/oats, the freight's expensive. you can get a lot more weight/volume on a truck loaded w/hay than straw; and even though the feed store may sell it "by the bale", they're buying it by the ton.
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