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How to Measure a Bale of Shavings
as taken from the Division of Measurement Standards 2000 Handbook, Department of Food and Agriculture

All animal bedding products, including baled shavings, are legally sold by volume - not by weight. Unfortunately, most people cannot look at a bale of shavings before they buy and determine if they are getting the amount of material for which they paid. This bulletin informs consumers how to measure a bale and what recourse they have if they have received undersized bales.

Shovel and broom
Any medium sized rigid container ( ex: cardboard box, rectangular kitchen trash can, etc.)
Any straight edge (ex: the broom handle, your arm, etc.)
Tarps (optional)
Pen, paper, calculator
1) Determine the volume of the rigid container. This will be used as the measurement box and the procedure is known as "calibrating" the measurement box.
To calibrate the box: Measure (in inches) the interior length, interior width, and interior height. Multiply those three numbers together. The sum equals the volume of cubic inches inside the box. To convert to cubic feet, divide the sum by 1728.

Shavings 2) Determine how many times you should be able to fill up your calibrated measurement box in order to equal the same amount of shavings as stated on the bale.
To determine: divide the number of cubic feet as stated on the bale of shavings by the cubic feet of your measurement box (answer as determined by step #1). ( FORMULA: Cubic feet as stated on bale divided by the cubic feet of your measurement box equals the number of times you should be able to fill your measurement box)
(Example: You buy a bale marked 10 cu ft. You have a cardboard box with interior measurements of 18" x 12" x 15". Therefore, using the formula in Step #1, you determine your box can hold 1.875 cu ft of loose material. (18x12x15/1728 = 1.875) You then decide how many times you should be able to fill your measurement box (10 cu ft./1.875 = 5.33) You pour out and fluff up shavings,then measure. You should be able to fill your cardboard measurement box about five and a half times

If the bale quantity is stated in "compressed amount" as well as "loosefill, usable amount," use the loosefill, usable amount quantity. If the bale quantity is ONLY stated in "compressed amount", the packaging is illegal. Call the manufacturer and ask how much loosefill material is warranted to be in the bale.
Shavings Spread tarp over ground in order to catch spills, or select a clean concrete surface upon which to work. Open the bale and pour contents onto the ground. Decompress the material by using your hands to break open the clumps and fluff up the shavings.

Shavings Gently scoop up the material with shovel and place (NOT POUR) shavings into measurement box. Be careful not to further settle the material by bumping, banging, or dropping the measurement box. Handle the shavings the same way a baker handles sifted flour. Continue gently to place shavings into measurement box until box is overfilled. Then run your straightedge along the box top to level out and pour off the excess shavings. Empty the measured shavings into a second pile and repeat process until entire bale has been measured.

Most reputable manufacturers will allow for a ± 5% variance in their manufacturing process. Other factors such as shavings size and home measuring techniques also may affect your final measurement. Therefore, do not be concerned if your usable quantity measures out to be slightly different than the amount stated on the package. However, if you have received only 90%-or less-of what was promised by a manufacturer, call and demand a percentage refund of your purchase price!

If your manufacturer does not want to refund you money, call LONG BEACH SHAVINGS COMPANY for a further list of simple, legal steps you can take to get your money back. Call (800) 439 -5527 and ask for Tamara Scurlock.

courtesy of

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