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My 4 horse facility uses a mixture of bagged Corn Cob bedding and fine pine shavings. We have had a few bags that became moist in storage, and when used in the stall, had molded "clumps." Of course the large clumps were stripped out. However, I wanted to research/be more informed about how toxic this mold could be to my horses. If a bag is found with moisture which molded, should the entire bag be disposed of, or is the non-molded portion of the bag ok to still use? The molded clumps are always removed to prevent a horse from consuming it, but what about the dust?
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Hi Jessica, this is a really important question. It is timely as we have been involved in a great deal of research on corn and other grain substrates over the past year. One of our other product lines is 100% natural cat litter. While our primary litter is pine based, the category itself uses a great deal of corn.
We have been asked to produce a "safe corn" litter so we went into heavy research and development mode. In the process of developing a 100% natural pine litter that clumps without the need for chemicals in the recipe - we got involved with an R&D group that has done in depth testing on corn based substrates. Any of the grain substrates, whether corn, wheat, soy are ripe for potential molds, micotoxins and even more prevalent - pests. Remember what happens to corn meal or oatmeal in the pantry when the little wormy bugs show up - this actually happens in grain based litter and bedding if they don't have any protective formulation - most do not. I don't have toxicity studies on mold from corn bedding but as you know we go to such great lengths to avoid any mold in the horse stall that while you remove the clumps - you'll still have shedding of the spores that remain in the stall. Symptoms can be minor to severe from mold so if possible, I would not use a bag that is moldy. As you can tell, I am not a fan of grain based bedding under grain consuming animals or close contact situations without protective formulation - and combined with the risks associated from allergens, molds and pests, if you don't have to use it I still recommend pine. While corn that is dried and processed can be very absorbent, it does not have the ammonia controlling benefits of pine. For added absorbency, if you haven't already tried a pine pellet this might be an option for you. If I can provide any additional information from our research partners - I'll post any info I can gather. Claire