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8 Useful ways to Use Wood Shavings on a Farm or Ranch 8 Useful ways to Use Wood Shavings on a Farm or Ranch

8 Useful ways to Use Wood Shavings on a Farm or Ranch

You might not think wood shavings are a valuable resource, but they’re actually useful in many ways. We know our farm and ranch customers are always working on projects, and the odds are you have wood shavings on hand. What can you do with all those shavings? From happier animals to a thriving garden, let's look at some ways you can put those shavings to good use.

What Kind of Shavings Can I Use?


The best kind of wood shavings to use are those from non-treated wood such as pine, cedar, or aspen, to name a few. You can use shavings from most wood, tree limbs, and ground tree stubs.

Don’t use shavings from black walnut trees in the garden, as it is toxic to plants. That is, unless you are using them as weed control. Do not use wood shavings from any kind of treated wood either. This includes treated, painted, pressure-treated, chemically treated, stained or sealed wood, plywood, particle board, or glued wood. Now that we’ve went over what not use, let dig into its many uses.

8 Great Uses for Shavings


1. Animal Bedding. Wood shavings are a fantastic material for animal bedding. Shavings are extremely absorbent and provide odor control and comfort for your animals. Wood shavings can take up to four years to decompose, so they are durable too.

Pine wood shavings are good for horses because they are antibacterial. Cedar is a good option for inside a pillowcase for a dog’s bed because it covers odor and repels fleas and ticks.

Whether you’re using shavings from your own workshop, purchasing them, or acquiring them from a friend or neighbor, make sure they are dried to avoid mold growing in your animal's bed. You can purchase dust-screened wood shavings for horses to help avoid respiratory issues. Keep the wood shavings fresh and regularly replace them as needed.

2. Clean Up Spills. Wood shavings have a very high absorbency, so they are useful if you have a spill. If you have a leak in any ranch or farm equipment such as a lawnmower or tractor, throw some shavings on the liquid, allow the shavings to soak up the unwanted liquid, and then dispose of it. This doesn’t just stop here; any liquid mess can usually be dried up with shavings like spilled milk or urine. If you have a persistent leak, you can place the shavings where you know the liquid will drip, until you repair your equipment.

3. Firestarter. Wood shavings are a great fire starter, and they can also make your fire burn longer. Simply add shavings to your fireplace or bonfire first, then add the logs. Make sure the shavings are completely dry to minimize smoke and try to use the larger and heavier wood shavings for this purpose.

4. Compost. Compost is made of layered green nitrogen-rich material and brown carbon-rich material. The brown layer is made of dry leaves and grasses, newspaper, and wood shavings. The green layer is made of wet items such as grass clippings, food scraps, and coffee grounds. Shavings are a great material for the brown layer because they decompose even more quickly than newspaper or cardboard. This “feeds” carbon to the microorganisms in the green layer.

5. Ice Cover. In the event of icy conditions, wood shavings are a great way to cover icy paths for safer walking. Shavings are also cheaper than salt or chemical ice-melting agents that can soak into your soil.

6. Mulch. Wood shavings are a great mulch for your garden. You may want to add some nitrogen to your garden soil for the first four months or so because the shavings will absorb it while decomposing. You can lay fresh shavings on your garden each year, along with a nitrogen supplement.

7. Garden Paths and Walkways. Shavings are a great option for creating a path or walkway in your garden because they are inexpensive, natural, and easy to keep looking nice. Top your path with a fresh layer of shavings about once a year because the shavings will naturally degrade over time.

8. Garden and Bulb Winter Storage. Wood shavings can be used to store root crops in the winter such as carrots and rutabagas. You can also store flowering bulbs and tubers. In a clean container that is a minimum of five inches deep, place a two-inch layer of shavings followed by your bulbs or veggies (make sure they aren’t touching) and then add another two-inch layer of shavings. Repeat layers as needed. Place the container in a cool, dark place such as a pantry or garage, and they will keep all winter.

From creating a slip-free walkway in the winter to mulching your garden to giving your animals a comfy bed, wood shavings have so many uses- even more than we can list here. If you run out, stop by McCoy’s and we’ll get you loaded up with plenty of fresh wood shavings to keep your farm or ranch running smoothly.