What are the main end-uses for wood shavings and the softwood industry’s by-products?

The main by-product of the softwood lumber industry’s finishing of wood is “sawdust” mixed with “shavings”. As left by the lumber-mill, these shavings are dusty, dirty, and filled with debris (bulk shaving providers often ship unscreened product directly from the lumber-mill). However, all Champion Shavings products are 100% screened before leaving the plant. Before we package our shavings we separate the finer, fluffier peices from the coarser pieces according to our strict specifications. The shavings can then be used by numerous sectors of animal industry, including:

  • Equine farms
  • Poultry farms
  • Dairy farms
  • Show Pigs
  • Small animal pet markets (gerbils, hamsters, reptiles, etc.)

Should equine shavings be kiln-dried?

It is a matter of choice. Some clear advantages of kiln-drying shavings is that the resulting chips are very dry, highly absorbent, and keep the bag from “sweating” (moisture that can develop in the bag after packaging). However, the drier the wood, the smaller the flakes tend to be. Champion Shavings has strict specifications for all flake sizes and moisture content.

Is blown-in or dumped shavings a quality product like bagged shavings?

We believe that using a bagging line that dust-screens goes a great distance in removing extraneous and harmful dust particles. If you choose to use un-bagged (bulk) shavings, you must be prepared to accept dust (a known carcinogen) and possibly debris (which may be uncomfortable for your horses or other animals) in stalls.

Which is better: paper or plastic bags?

The advantage of plastic is that the bag is weatherproof. Our water-repelling plastic cannot be affected by rain or snow. Another advantage to plastic is that we “heat-seal” the bag closed, as opposed to paper bags which must be stapled: a potential danger to your horse if the staple is lost in the stall. Plastic bags are also much stronger then paper, and do not easily tear. If you drop a paper bag onto the floor it could easily break. However, our durable plastic bags allow for rough handling multiple times before use.

Why are some shavings bags heavier than others?

This has to do with the amount of sawdust in the bag, plus small pieces, as well as large pieces AND the thickness and size of the actual shavings pieces themselves. If one bag contains dust, it will be heavier than one with no dust. If one bag has fluffier, thinner pieces it will be lighter than the one that has smaller, thicker pieces. Moisture content is also an important factor to note. A bag of shavings that are not kiln-dried can weigh up to 30% more than a bag that contains dry shavings. Don’t be fooled by a competitor telling you there are more shavings in a heavy bag. Shavings should only be measured by expanded volume. If you would like more information concerning compressed and expanded volumes of shavings, please visit the pages below for more details:

United States:The Weight and Measurement Act

Canada: Measurement Canada

General Information: Units of Measurement

What is the difference between volume and weight?

Do not be confused by these two measurements of weight when it comes to bagged shavings. Weight is the force exerted by an object; pulled by gravity. Volume is a space measurement. One can never guess the actual weight of a bag by looking at the volume, and every bag of the same volume will (more than likely) have different weight. Why? Because fluffy shavings with no sawdust will be extremely light compared to a bag of pure sawdust. It has to do with the density of the contents.

Weight can, however, be affected by moisture. For example, one bag may have a 3.4 cubic foot (compressed) bag of pure (yet wet) dustless shavings which would equal the weight of a 2.8 cubic foot bag of pure, dry sawdust.

Particle size and moisture – They are the great tricksters in the shavings business… Don’t be fooled! Ask for the best when ordering shavings: Extremely dry, dustless, fluffy shavings packed in heat-sealed, plastic bags.

How do residual moisture levels in the bag effect dust levels?

It is important to note that dust (even if screened at the time of bagging) is constantly produced while the bag is in storage and in transit due to the friction of movement. This means that even the highest quality of shavings can  ‘self-produce’ dust. However, if the contents are both air and kiln-dried then dust levels will be held to a minimum.

If green shavings (non-kiln dried) are in the bag then dust is automatically held in check due to the elevated moisture content.

Why are there different sized shavings bags?

The bagging machines are designed to bag one size. They bring about a compression ratio of somewhere between 2:1 to 3:1, depending on the condition and age of the machine. This means that a bag with 3.25 cubic feet compressed started with between 8 and 10 cubic feet uncompressed. Similarly, a 2.8 cubic foot bag starts with between 6.5 and 7.5 cubic feet, and so on.

What should I always look for in a quality shaving?

  • Equine-quality shavings only.
  • Dust-extracted.
  • Dry; below 16% moisture content.
  • Plastic bagged.
  • No splinters, wood chunks, or stones (debris).