When choosing animal bedding, research shows that the most important factors are: Consistency, Odor control, Absorbency, Comfort/Cushioning/Loft, Ease of use, Appearance. There are lots of different wood-shaving varieties and species on the market. The bedding most widely available and popular is screened, kiln-dried pine wood shavings. Pine has naturally occurring, odor-absorbing oils that have antibacterial and ammonia-reducing properties which give pine its great aromatic scent. In certain areas, other wood species such as aspen, cottonwood and poplar are offered and make very good bedding. These species are essentially scent-free and some customers prefer them for animals with respiratory sensitivities. On the other end of the spectrum, eastern red cedar is used by many horse owners. This species is prized for its woodsy scent (think cedar closets) and odor-controlling properties. Studies show that it also repels flies, fleas and other insects. When choosing a product, it’s important to understand the difference between the grades and determine how the product will be used before making a decision. At first glance, it’s natural to assume the bale with the biggest number is a better value (e.g. 8 cubic feet for the Large Flake vs. 5.5 cubic feet for the Eco). This is definitely not the case if the specific characteristics and benefits of one of the smaller grades are most important. When considering absorbency, comfort/cushioning/loft, ease-of-use and appearance, it gets a little more complicated. Every customer has their own preferences and requirements, which is why American Wood Fibers offers a full line of bedding products. What To Avoid: Of course, all owners of horses, livestock, and pets want to provide a safe and comfortable environment for their animals, while keeping costs and maintenance to a minimum. But there are certain aspects of animal bedding that everyone agrees are undesirable, including: Excessive moisture, Excessive dust, Excessive large or irregular pieces (chunks, sticks, and bark, for example), Poorly-filled bags, Bad seals, ripped bags, Certain species – for example, Black Walnut, which can cause laminitis in horses and should be avoided.