The Ultimate Guide to Stable Matting
No other piece of equipment can add to the quality of life for the animals in your care quite like stable mats. Stable matting plays an important role in the comfort of large animals and helps protect against trips and falls that may cause injury. Horse stable rubber matting is also hygienic, easy to clean, and incredibly durable.
If you’re interested in purchasing stable mats, there are some details to figure out before investing in them. For example, stable mats are available in several thicknesses, ranging from 10 mm to 20 mm. They are also available in different materials, like rubber and foam. In this article, we’ll narrow down the options available to you, and help you find the perfect mats for your needs.
What are stable mats?
Stable mats are antifatigue, high-traction flooring which are placed in animal pens, stables, and walkways to provide a stable footing for your animals. Whether you own cattle, horses, goats, or any other type of livestock, stable mats add to the quality of life of the animals in your care.
There are two types of materials that stall mats are made out of: rubber and EVA foam.
Why do you need stable mats?
When you work hard, you can feel it in your joints and muscles, especially if you’ve been standing on hard surfaces all day. Just like you and I, cows and horses feel the detrimental effects of repeated stress on their joints from walking on hard surfaces like concrete, gravel, and hard-packed sand.
Stable mats help to diffuse the tension of an animal’s body, relieving pressure points in their joints, hooves, and muscles. In fact, stable mats can help large animals in the transition periods of getting up and laying down, as that added traction can steady their hooves and provide grip.
Let’s look at the main reasons you need stable mats on your farm:
Stable mats are more comfortable
In a recent study, researchers sought to understand which was the most popular type of flooring for cattle. They looked at three different types of flooring: rubber mats, concrete floors, and sand. They covered each type of stall flooring with the same amount of straw, and measured the preferences of hundreds of dairy cows. Here’s what they found:
“Cows reclined longer in stalls with soft rubber mats compared with sand- and concrete- based stalls when there was only a small amount of straw in freestalls. When the stalls were all bedded with the same small amount of straw, the cows preferred stalls with soft rubber mats over those with concrete.”
In fact, they also mentioned that if you lay down a bit of straw, cows are more likely to lay down on rubber matting than on concrete or sand floors. Comfortable cows are healthy cows, ones that produce lots of milk and live long lives. Without the much-needed rest, cows are more susceptible to illnesses and injuries.
Also, cows that have been prevented adequate rest will be less motivated to eat, which will have a detrimental effect on their ability to produce milk. It’s a ripple effect: without the much needed calories, cows cannot produce adequate amounts of milk.
Stall mats cut bedding costs
Lately, inflation has been hitting everybody hard. You may have experienced that purchasing straw, wood shavings, and even sand has gone up dramatically. Stable mats help to reduce costs associated with straw bedding.
Ideally, you’ll spend about 25% less on bedding than you normally would, using it only for soaking up urine. With less bedding, you’ll spend less time mucking out the stalls, which adds money into your pocket and helps you to reach your bottom line.
Insulated stable flooring system
Stall mats can get awfully cold in the middle of winter, but rubber and foam mats can insulate against severe temperatures. Whilst concrete and sand radiate cold temperatures and make animals colder when sitting on them, rubber creates a barrier between the animal and the floor, offering another level of comfort. You can rest easy knowing that your animals are warm even amid a cold snap.
Mats are low maintenance, easy-to-clean.
Stall mats can also be hosed down fairly easily, removing any debris, dirt, and bacteria on the mats. With the use of a pressure washer and a mild detergent, you can clean out your stalls and have them ready for more bedding.
Both EVA foam and rubber are nonporous, meaning that water and bacteria cannot permeate the outer shell, so the mats that you purchase won’t become breeding grounds for mould and grime.
It should be noted that you should periodically flip the mats over and clean the undersides. Water can slip between the seams of the mats, pooling and leaving behind harmful bacteria. Conduct a thorough cleaning of the mats using a mild antimicrobial detergent.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to clean stall mats, check out this article on tips for how to clean and maintain a cow and horse stall.
Types of stable mats available
It is important to find the type of mat that you need for your specific needs. For example, larger animals may need thicker mats which provide more cushioning for their joints and muscles. Let’s look at some of the best mats available on Stable Mats Ireland:
Amoebic rubber mat
The amoebic surface texture is a mosaic of raised shapes which resemble amoebas. This type of surface texture prevents slipping for large animals and offers a high traction walking surface. On the opposite side of these mats, you’ll find drainage furrows which aid in the movement of water away from the base of the mats. These mats are great to use on walkways that lead to milking parlours, as they offer superior traction underneath the hooves of cows. These mats are also great to clean, as the surface texture is not raised too much that dirt and debris get stuck in it.
Stud dot mats
These mats offer the best anti-slip protection of any rubber mats available at Stable Mats Ireland, as they feature a distinct stud dot surface texture, dozens of raised points which provide grip underneath the hooves of animals. Perfect for older or less mobile animals, stud dot mats are thick and durable, able to take the wear and tear of livestock.
These mats are also great to use within a workshop, garage, or outdoor walkway because they offer superior traction, even in cold weather. Where you need a bit more protection, stud dot rubber mats are great to give you solid footing.
EVA foam tiles
There is nothing quite like foam to add a level of comfort to your animals. Dense and durable, EVA foam tiles offer superior cushioning ability, cradling the animals and providing a safe place for them to sleep. EVA foam tiles also provide great insulation against cold weather, keeping them comfortable even during frigid winter temperatures.
Not all EVA foam mats are suitable for stable mats
You should keep in mind that there are different types of EVA foam mats available on Stable Mats Ireland, some of which are great to use for horse and cow stalls and others which are not suited for heavy animals. The ultrahigh density 20 mm jigsaw mats offer a density rating of 330 kg/cbm, making them ideal for large animals, whilst other mats available on stable mats Ireland are suited only for parlour pits where workers will be standing on them.
Picking out the perfect stable mats for your livestock can help you provide a safe, comfortable environment, as well as prevent slips, trips, and falls which are so common. Both rubber mats and EVA foam mats are great to use for stable matting, and rubber mats can be used for walkways, service areas, and parlour pits to provide a bit of traction and antifatigue flooring.
Author: David Van Kooten