I am currently reading Eco-Horsekeeping by Lucinda Dyer. One of the Chapters in her book is about First Priority – All Things Manure. In it I learned that you do not want to spread fresh manure in your pastures! I protect my horses from internal parasites by worming regularly. I did not know that spreading fresh manure on their pasture/turn out can reinfect them! Manure needs to be composted at least 30 days to process and for the natural heat generated to kill to destroy the larvae and internal parasite eggs.
We have already set up one compost pile about 6 ft. in diameter by about 3 ft. tall with manure. We will start another one shortly. Three should be enough to rotate and turn with the tractor.
One other neat thing Lucinda shared is a great way on a small horse farm to compost to share with your friends and neighbors that sounds great too!
- Start with a muck bucket and a contractor trash bag and fill it with manure ( not too much so you can’t pick it up. Lucinda suggested about 8 to 10 piles.
- Then tie the bag and put air holes in it two at the bottom and two at the top. Not big like with a screwdriver, hoof pick, etc. The holes let air in and moisture out.
- Put the bags in an out of the way place. Linda says she normally has 20-30 going at one time.
- She says to pick each bag up once a week and shake it for about one minute.
- Then spray them all with a little water for a couple of minutes (if it has been raining no need).
- You should have compost ready to use in about a month to give away!
A couple of other facts I learned is that straw and shredded newspaper composte quicker than shavings and that wood pellets break down finer and faster than both. I love the wood pellets myself!
Did you know that composting will cut your manure pile in about half, that it reduces flies, and it also kills weed seeds too!