Animal bedding material
Create a barrier
Radio interview source: Dr. Dale Rozeboom, Extension specialist, Michigan State University
We use a variety of materials as bedding for our sheep and goats, including corn stalks, oat straw, and grass hay. My daughter, Caroline, pictured here, just finished giving the goats a fresh layer of bedding. When we show 4-H animals at the fair, we buy wood chips for bedding.
Extension Animal Scientist Dale Rozeboom at Michigan State University says the key to bedding, especially in the winter, is capturing air to create a barrier between the animal and the colder surface. He's done research with swine to determine how much of a temperature difference it makes.
"Allowing the animal to lie in bedding actually improves its ability to stay warm," Rozeboom says. "And we talk about a seven-degree temperature improvement in that effective environmental temperature. In other words, the animal feels warmer. Much like when we put on a coat or a jacket, that's what good, dry bedding will do for that animal."
Some animals have thicker hair than others, but bedding definitely serves a purpose.
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