There have been traditionally a variety of bedding materials and bedding routines for livestock and horses. The choice of which is based on a variety of factors, most notably material cost and availability, plus handling, storage and labour requirements.

Some materials have significant advantages over others; however, it is important to recognise that bedding routines are equally as important as the choice of material. Bedding can affect the health of an animal; particularly hoof health and cow’s / pig’s udders.

Dirty bedding can impact milk production through mastitis problems in the herd. The ability for animals to grip well as they lie down or stand will limit the potential for injuries from slipping, and also the incidence of sole ulcers in dairy herds.


The Livestock Team are able to source a wide variety of bedding materials across the country for both farm animals and equine. Sawdust is usually available in Bales on pallets or in Bulk loads.

We have several bedding suppliers from down in Gloucestershire to Cheshire to Suffolk.



Sand is renowned as an inert bedding material for use in controlling pathogen spread in cattle housing - as both a deep-bedded material and a surface bedding material.

If ordered for Livestock Bedding, Sand does not require an “aggregate levy” from suppliers – proof will be required.

Sawdust and Wood Shavings

Sawdust can vary enormously, but when screened and dried can provide an effective bedding material when managed properly. It is easy to use - although some sawdust products can be dusty, it works well with automated scrapers and slurry systems. Damp sawdust is able to support many pathogens so it is essential to keep sawdust dry in storage.

Some sawdust-based bedding products are available which have an incorporated disinfectant, reducing the need for hydrated lime or disinfectant powders commonly used for cattle bedding.

Hydrated Lime and Disinfectant powders

Lime is used sparingly with other bedding materials. It has the potential to dry-out and damage teat and udder skin in cattle and pigs, and so must be adequately covered with chopped straw or sawdust, but is very useful in drying-out soiled wet patches on cubicle beds and controlling bacterial levels.

Branded disinfectants in powder form are available and used similarly to lime to control bacterial numbers in cattle bedding when used in conjunction with materials such as straw or sawdust.