

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

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
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 

PROCEDURE:
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.


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.


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.


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. 
SUMMARY:
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
lessof 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
