Sunday, February 13, 2011

Manure Management

I received an e-mail from Bill asking me “what do I do about all the manure generated by my horses?”.

Great question. Manure Management can be a problem when horses are not in large pastures. Keeping horses in small ranches and farms necessitates the removal of manure on a regular basis to keep the smells down; minimize your fly problem; and reduce the chances of your horses transmitting worms to each others or getting manure packed into their hooves where bacteria can grow and eat away at the hoof sole.

I see a lot of horses kept in bad conditions,..stalls too small and full of manure; dangerous objects around; and horses with feet that haven’t seen a farrier in many months it not a year or more. Makes me madder than hell, but County Animal control services are under manned and under funded, and have to compete with crimes against persons for resourcing.

My horses generate about 2 cubic yards of manure each week. We clean our stalls and corrals twice a day or even more often in some cases.

I built a “U” with telephone poles and rail road ties to create a ramp that goes over a concrete pad with a dumpster where we dump our manure for removal by a disposal company once a week.

If you live in an area heavy with parasites, such as mosquitoes, you may have to spray insect killer on your stored manure to reduce the threat of parasite breeding and subsequent diseases like West Nile as well as the general fly problem.

When I ran a large horse stables, with 38 to 50 horses, you can imagine the amount of manure we generated. I had the manure dumped into a manure pit, where during the summer months we sprayed it twice a week and once a week we took the manure and spread it in a very large arena where it air dried very quickly and combined with the sand, provided a decent footing for arena events such as barrel racing.

A good resource is the e-book, Managing Horses on Small Properties.

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