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Sawdust use on a farm


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A guy on another board was telling a story about these two young kids who show up at a giant sawdust pile (left over from a sawmill at a logging operation), and start shoveling it into the bed of a pickup truck.

 

I was just wondering what use there would be around the farm for a truck load of sawdust.

 

I thought about maybe in the barn or the stable, for the cows or the horses to poop in. And then you shovel out the messy sawdust. But I wondered if that would be a good use. I've heard of hay and/or straw put down for that purpose, but possibly sawdust would be better. Or simply free sawdust from the leftover pile was cheaper than hay or straw from the feed store.

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Having ran a sawmill for 25 years,  you have to be careful when using sawdust.   Walnut will damage the hooves of horses and cows.   Walnut and red cedar will kill a garden as will sawdust that has not had time to composte.  About the biggest use was to decompose dead hogs from hog operations.  Some used it to to keep down dust in outside horse exercise arenas. Another got some to make soft banks for motorcyclists to fall into on his dirt track operation. 

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59 minutes ago, Marshal Hangtree said:

You muck the stalls with it.

That would be

1 hour ago, Alpo said:

for the cows or the horses to poop in. And then you shovel out the messy sawdust.

??

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Warden Callaway said:

Walnut will damage the hooves of horses and cows.   Walnut and red cedar will kill a garden as will sawdust that has not had time to composte. 

Sawmill in Georgia - I'm assuming it was pine.

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I used to get sawdust and chips to till into my garden. It and some sand did a wonderful job of breaking up the clay soil. 

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When animals are kept in a  stall you need an easy way to keep it clean. Doesn't matter if the stall has a concrete or dirt floor you cannot leave urine and poop in the stall because it will cause all sorts of health problems.

 

While bare concrete floors can be hosed off it is hard on hooves and very uncomfortable fo animals to lay on so it needs a covering.  

 

Dirt works but it will become muddy and contaminated so it needs something you can remove that will help keep the soil from being contaminated.

 

The three most common choices are straw, sawdust, and wood shavings.

 

Straw's biggest drawback is that the stalks wick moisture requiring most if not all of it to be replaced every day.

 

Besides the above issues with the type of sawdust it works very well, is easy to handle, and doesn't wick moisture. It is a great choice if you have a ready supply.

 

Shavings are also an excellent choice for all the reasons saw dust is with the added benefit that you can choose the types of trees it is made from. (pine, cedar, and aspen) It is bailed like straw so shipping and handling are easy.

 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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32 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

 

When animals are kept in a  stall you need an easy way to keep it clean. Doesn't matter if the stall has a concrete or dirt floor you cannot leave urine and poop in the stall because it will cause all sorts of health problems.

 

While bare concrete floors can be hosed off it is hard on hooves and very uncomfortable fo animals to lay on so it needs a covering.  

 

Dirt works but it will become muddy and contaminated so it needs something you can remove that will help keep the sopil from being contaminated.

 

The three most common choices are straw, sawdust, and wood shavings.

 

Straw's biggest drawback is that the stalks wick moisture requiring most if not all of it to be replaced every day.

 

Besides the above issues with the type of sawdust it works very well, is easy to handle, and doesn't wick moisture. It is a great choice if you have a ready supply.

 

Shavings are also an excellent choice for all the reasons saw dust is with the added benefit that you can choose the types of trees it is made from. (pine, cedar, and aspen) It is bailed like straw so shipping and handling are easy.

 

Wood shavings for bedding ok but not in the area as it is slippery footing

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I've  been a butcher for 50+ years ,and I can remember when butcher shops put sawdust on the floors to keep them from getting slippery. At the end of the day you could rake the lumps out and re-use it or just sweep it up and put down fresh.

It was surprising how many people would comment that they really missed the smell of the sawdust, after we stopped using it.

Choctaw Jack 

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it is good to see how much we know about horse manure 

as teen I had a horse we used straw . I learn fast clean up every day 

now we have 3 canine poop machines  no straw needed 

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I use fine sawdust to dress around blueberry bushes. It also adds acidity.

Only from spruce, pine, fir, oak and never pressure treated

Edited by Dirty Dan Dawkins
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1 hour ago, Choctaw Jack said:

It was surprising how many people would comment that they really missed the smell of the sawdust, after we stopped using it.

 

We got so we couldn't small the wood unless we made a deliberate effort. Sawmill Mary took a shower, changed into clean go shopping cloths and went to town.   She was in a store and another customer commented,  "Mummm! Someone smells like walnut.". :huh:

 

Pine is not indigenous in our area so the only native softwood is eastern red cedar.   We sawed mountains of walnut. Horse people complained that we didn't separate the walnut from the oak.  And that our mill was a narrow band bandsaw and not a circle bladed mill.  Circle mill make a massive amount of flake sawdust were our mill made much less sawdust about like cornmeal. 

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Were the horse people buying the sawdust from you, or were they getting it for free?

 

I could see their complaint, if they were paying for it. But if they were getting it for free, I would have told them to pound sand.

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1 hour ago, Alpo said:

Were the horse people buying the sawdust from you, or were they getting it for free?

 

I could see their complaint, if they were paying for it. But if they were getting it for free, I would have told them to pound sand.

 

I charged a reasonable fee for interpreting me and having to switch from forks to bucket to load them and then switch back.  Horse people, once explained there was walnut mixed in,  usually just left empty handed. 

 

My biggest single customer was the pig operation guy who got a couple of grain truck loads a couple of times a year. We were just a "mom and pop" operation so didn't generate lots of sawdust. But the problem became,  any large mill operation had all their byproduct commented to biofuel production.  The moochers just lost that source. 

 

We've been seriously retired for 5 years and what's left of our sawdust pile has decomposed and slumped somewhat.  I've taken from it to repair places around the farm.  I am using what's left as a berm backstop on my range. Deer "nest" on it!

 

 

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There was a wooden ladder company in town that used Hickory to make the ladders. I used to get hickory sawdust to use in my smoker. Soak it in water to make it smoke and fill up the smoker. Great for smoking.

Edited by Big Sage, SASS #49891 Life
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2 hours ago, Alpo said:

Were the horse people buying the sawdust from you, or were they getting it for free?

 

I could see their complaint, if they were paying for it. But if they were getting it for free, I would have told them to pound sand.

Or Sawdust!

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Insulation in the walls of ice houses.

There is an old time ice house in Horseshoe Bend, ID that is made like this.
The walls are 24" thick and filled entirely with sawdust.

The ice house held big chunks of ice, even during the July heat.

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THE STORY (just in case anyone is interested)

 

Bob had noticed deer sign around about the sawdust pile. So he smeared some paint on some brown coveralls to make camouflage, put burnt cork all over his face, wrapped his rifle up in brown cloth so it wouldn't reflect the sun, and dug himself a little hidey-hole in the sawdust pile. Going to ambush Bambi.

 

Hour or so after daylight and this pickup truck comes and backs up to the sawdust pile. Has two young lads in it "just barely tall enough to see over the dashboard". And they get 'em a couple shovels and start loading up the truck bed.

 

They was close enough to him that he was afraid they would hit him with a shovel, and since he did not want that, he stood up out of his hidey-hole. The boys screamed and throw the shovels down and run off.

 

figuring there have been so much noise that there wasn't going to be no deer hanging around there, he went off to find him another place to hunt. When dark got there and he went home, when he went past the sawdust pile he said the truck was still sitting there.

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3 hours ago, Badger Mountain Charlie SASS #43172 said:

Glue it back together and make boards????

You could make a fortune selling it to Chinese furniture companies.

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