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Composting horse manure.

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Composting horse manure.

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 1/30/2011, 2:35 pm

So, I've been lazy about turning the compost pile all winter, and want to get it going again to produce as much of my own compost as possible for the spring beds. The local mounted police stable gives away free horse manure by the truckload, and the sanitation department gives out free composted yard waste. What's the best way to add these components to my kitchen scrap/leaf compost. I know I'm going to need at least a second bin of some kind, and would like to go with a pallet or wire frame construction for the second one, as opposed to a second plastic bin. Should I shovel out the contents of my current bin and intermix the two, then start adding to both and turning?

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Old Hippie on 1/30/2011, 3:09 pm

That is what I do with mine when I want to get it going in spring.

Two bins are really nice. Mine are made out of old pallets I got at work...saved from the landfill. You know me......cheap is good but free is better. We put lattice on the outside of the bins and I plant sweet peas on the outside or any kind of climbing plants to camouflage it somewhat. On the street side I plant tall sunflowers to screen it from passers by. I always have one pile that is 'cooking' and the other one I am adding to.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  camprn on 1/30/2011, 3:53 pm

I have 2 bins. The pallets are held up by metal fence posts. I can remove the middle pallet (which is just wedged in) to make moving the pile a bit easier.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Odd Duck on 1/31/2011, 2:33 pm

@The Cat's Other Mother wrote:So, I've been lazy about turning the compost pile all winter, and want to get it going again to produce as much of my own compost as possible for the spring beds. The local mounted police stable gives away free horse manure by the truckload, and the sanitation department gives out free composted yard waste. What's the best way to add these components to my kitchen scrap/leaf compost. I know I'm going to need at least a second bin of some kind, and would like to go with a pallet or wire frame construction for the second one, as opposed to a second plastic bin. Should I shovel out the contents of my current bin and intermix the two, then start adding to both and turning?

I would check the compost before deciding to mixing or adding anything else. Part, or most, of your compost may be ready to use. Mother [Nature] takes care of things, even when we think she's sleeping.

I usually turn the top 1/4-1/2 of the compost (down to where things aren't recognizable any more) into my empty spot and that's the start of the new heap. If there's lots of bits that you can still tell what they are, then layer that with manure (or other "green"). Then continue by layering up all the rest of your new ingredients you've gotten from all sources.

If you find that ALL the old heap has too much recognizable bits all the way through, then you can layer it all up as a "brown" just as if you were starting over. MOST of the time, I find that at least part of the heap is ready to use, even if it's only the bottom few inches.

Your composted yard wastes from the city may be too woody to be a really good veggie compost at first. I've found that I much prefer the quality and texture (and it grows veggies much better) if I compost that type of once composted yard waste again, with manure or whatever other green source you have available. This was the main type of compost I started with (due to cost) and it was AWFUL by itself!

Depending on how your city produces it, yours may be just fine. Or it would work when mixed with other composts. It wasn't so good for me, but it is fine now that I've supplemented with plenty of organic fertilizers, and added loads of my homemade compost.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  WardinWake on 1/31/2011, 6:16 pm

@The Cat's Other Mother wrote:So, I've been lazy about turning the compost pile all winter, and want to get it going again to produce as much of my own compost as possible for the spring beds. The local mounted police stable gives away free horse manure by the truckload, and the sanitation department gives out free composted yard waste. What's the best way to add these components to my kitchen scrap/leaf compost. I know I'm going to need at least a second bin of some kind, and would like to go with a pallet or wire frame construction for the second one, as opposed to a second plastic bin. Should I shovel out the contents of my current bin and intermix the two, then start adding to both and turning?

Howdy Cats:

Sounds to me like you have a very workable situation with the mounted horse manure and the composted yard waste. If you can set up a two or more bin system go ahead and mix or layer the two sources in one bin and turn it from bin number one to bin number two on day one and then back to bin number one on the next day. By using this system we get a hot/steaming compost in three to four days. In a proper hot compost pile you will be able to see steam as you turn the compost. In the best of times you can get usable compost in 14 days but if you still get steam keep turning until the compost goes cold and there is no recognizable items left. If you have the time before planting by all means add in your current compost pile and it will get well mixed in with the new compost as you turn it.

We currently use a 4 bin system with each bin 4 feet wide X 5 feet deep and almost 6 feet high and keep one bin empty so we can turn each full bin into the empty one as we work (we have plenty of yard space).

Like you we have access to all of the free horse manure that we can handle and now plenty of goat manure as well. We have been collecting leaves, lawn grass and just about everything that I can get my hands on all year. When last counted we had compostable items from 13 sources. Keep you eyes open and don't be afraid to stop and ask if you can have someones raked leaves for your garden. Most folks will be glad to let you have all they have raked up and they have already done the hard part - the raking. You can get many freebies this way and make some new friends in the process.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  jercarol on 3/17/2011, 6:40 pm

I was lurking and say Mary's response. Thanks, I can use the info also.

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manure with or without shavings?

Post  SueB on 3/17/2011, 6:55 pm

I am just getting started with my compost. Since I board my horse, I can bring home what I want quite selectively. Any guesses about whether I should go for the muffins, or should I include the shavings used as bedding. My guess is the shavings will include more urine (?ammonia). Would this be good or bad?

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manure with or without shavings?

Post  ribarr4 on 3/17/2011, 9:50 pm

You can include some shavings. If they are urine soaked I wouldn't use more than about 10% of the mix. Some people are against using wood in the compost pile, but I use mine from our chicken coop all the time.

Hope it helps,

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  camprn on 3/17/2011, 10:05 pm

@ribarr4 wrote:You can include some shavings. If they are urine soaked I wouldn't use more than about 10% of the mix. Some people are against using wood in the compost pile, but I use mine from our chicken coop all the time.

Hope it helps,

+1 on the shavings. I would use stall litter in my compost pile, however I would not put wood chips into the compost.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  boffer on 3/17/2011, 10:11 pm

@SueB wrote:I am just getting started with my compost. Since I board my horse, I can bring home what I want quite selectively. Any guesses about whether I should go for the muffins, or should I include the shavings used as bedding. My guess is the shavings will include more urine (?ammonia). Would this be good or bad?

It's all good once it is composted. Wood products will rob nitrogen from surrounding soil as they decompose.

Another consideration is that wood chips in bedding will decompose more slowly than manure.

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Caution

Post  ander217 on 3/18/2011, 9:45 am

If using horse bedding, just be careful not to get any that might be contaminated with chemicals or medications - fly spray, wormer, etc.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  The Cat's Other Mother on 3/22/2011, 11:41 pm

@ander217 wrote:If using horse bedding, just be careful not to get any that might be contaminated with chemicals or medications - fly spray, wormer, etc.

That never even occurred to me. Shocked Too late now, but maybe I'll ask if they use that stuff in the stalls next time I go for a load.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/19/2012, 6:27 pm

I am new to horse manure. A friend's daughter rides almost every weekend, so I decided to go along and collect horse manure. I picked up a five gallon bucket of the 'green' looking horse manure. I got home and I dumped and mixed it into my compost pile. After a week I turned my pile over and the green 'balls' of horse manure were still intact. So now I am trying to break them apart as I turn the pile. I think it was a mistake just to dump and mix it into my pile without breaking them apart because it makes more work for me. I'd like to get more of this fresh horse manure so I can use the compost in the spring, should I still get this 'green' horse manure or should I be looking for a dry manure? The 'green' horse manure looked grassy, no wood shavings, and didn't have a strong smell to it or flies buzzing around it.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  plantoid on 11/19/2012, 7:02 pm

Chuck a bucket of water over the " cobbles " and cover the heap , it will soon break down ... keep the pile damp & covered but not sopping wet from then on .

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/19/2012, 7:35 pm

Oh, thank you so much, Plantoid. It will also be easier to stir it around before I add to my compost.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  camprn on 11/19/2012, 8:13 pm

Patience Grasshopper! Wink

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  landarch on 11/21/2012, 12:35 am

My prime set up would be a 4-bin area...one for layering new materials as they are available, one for compost in progress, one emtpy for rotation, and one for finished compost i don't want to add to so it's ready to go.

And while I'm dreaming, I'd have a small tractor, maybe an old Ford 9N to help turn the piles.

Check with multiple horse facilities in your area...some give their manure away so frequently that it is always on the fresh/ green side...some have piles that have been sitting for a few years and the manure is almost composted already (manure, clean straw, wood shavings). I use a bit of both, mixed with shredded leaves, kitchen/ garden scraps, lawn clippings, and coffee grounds.


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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/28/2012, 5:30 pm

My horse manure is finally unrecognizable in my compost. I removed the "cobbles" with a rubber-gloved hand, then I dissolved them in water and returned it back to the compost, water and all. I wanted to go back and get some more but I was informed that all the horses got their worm shots this week. What this means to me is that they got medicine in their system. Something I hadn't thought about before. Which brings me to these questions: The horses are getting their shots in May of next year again, should I wait until April to get more horse manure, before they get their shots or abandon this horse manure completely?

So far my compost/horse manure pile is teeming with earthworms. And I'm not really going to use this compost until my spring planting. Will that be enough time for the compost to be safe?


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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/29/2012, 1:04 am

That's good they let you know they gave their horses shots. I know there are people on here who know this answer better than I do because they have horses. I have read that they give their horses their de-worming shots and don't use that manure. When they feel the medicine has had time to get out of the horse's system, they they start gathering the manure again to use. Now the big question someone can hopefully answer is how long do you wait. You may be able to call a large animal vet to ask them or call the horse place back. They may know. I'm sure someone on here has the answer. You don't want to risk killing those wonderful worms you have. Great job on your "done" compost!

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Roseinarosecity on 11/30/2012, 1:03 pm

I followed through with Triciasgarden's suggestion about asking a veterinarian about the length of time the worm shot is in the horse and this is what he said,

"the common wormers used today are well absorbed and then inactivated by the animals metabolically so little or none passes through. And even then you would only have trace amounts in feces for only a day or two post-administration."

And, he is a horse veterinarian so I feel comfortable with his answer and using the horse manure.

I appreciate this forum for helping me out with this topic.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  ericam on 11/30/2012, 8:52 pm

Thanks for sharing that info, good to know!

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  quiltbea on 11/30/2012, 10:26 pm

I'd still not use the horse manure for a few months after shots. That vet is probably like the garden worker at Home Depot who 'knows' that you only need ONE type of compost in your garden and not five for good results. Do you want to chance it?

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Triciasgarden on 11/30/2012, 10:56 pm

I would agree with Quiltbea on waiting a few months. I'm sure the vet would think it leaves the horse's system fast, but if any is left and it is in the manure, then I would think your garden worms would be affected. Maybe the newer wormers are metabolized quicker, but me not being any kind of expert, I would err on the side of caution.

I think it was Plantoid who mentioned something about de-worming his farm animals and waiting to use that manure until he was sure the meds were out of the animal's system. Maybe he will see this post and comment or you could contact him directly and ask him to give us his opinion.

I like these discussions because we get lots of ideas and opinions.

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  plantoid on 12/1/2012, 4:31 pm

Twas not I yer Onner ..... I'm not guilty . Laughing

I dont know at the minute if the animal wormers do kill off earth worms .
The animals worms live in the gut eat the stomach lining eat , the digesting food etc.

I tried to get an email sent to Pfizer who make a horse worming preparation to ask . spent ages and ages making sure no dyslexic slipup's and good grammer etc
pressed send and nothing happened . tried copying it and sending via my own email system the internet had gone to sleep for a while so i went off to bed at 02.15 hrs

One thing I do know is that several of my compost bins have each had three or four 3 gallon buckets of neat green horse muck cobbles in them that has come from recently wormed horses .. there is plenty of red muck worms in it after three months of composting and leaving it to ripen .
My gardens don't appear damaged from using this compost ther4 are zilions of muck worms and a shed load of big fat lob worms . It doesn't appear to have affected me .. ( HONEST ! Wink ) because of eating the produce out the gardens .

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Re: Composting horse manure.

Post  Triciasgarden on 12/3/2012, 11:29 pm

Oops, wrong person! I am so bad about that! Thank you for working on getting in touch with Pfizer! See you gave us good info anyway so maybe my mess up turned out ok after all! Smile

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Re: Composting horse manure.

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