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Author Topic: Anyone compost?  (Read 675 times)

meely3

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Anyone compost?
« on: April 07, 2016, 06:43:31 am »

 I'm still in the *IF* stages of possibly having horses at home. But once you start thinking about where to put the horses, you think about hay storage, then where does all the manure go. So does anyone compost? Do you use bins? Do you use bins you bought? And how does it work? I'm concerned about fly control, smell control, and not needing a huge construction project. I am not handy. My hubby is not handy. If we try to build something it is going to be very bad. But I was looking at the bins you can buy and they only hold about 200 gallons.
 The biggest one I can find is 240 gallons. So my math says that if you get one muck bucket a day per horse and a muck bucket is 17 gallons that is 34 gallons a day for 2 horses and a bin will be full in 8 days.
 So either this doesn't work, my math is way off, or I need to find bigger bins that I can still get manure into. But I have heard people say that you can do this with bins you buy so I almost think it has to work somehow.
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loneelk

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2016, 07:25:07 am »

We're on 7 acres and we have a tractor, so manure isn't a problem much for us--we just spread it on the "wild" 3 acres.  What I've seen other places that I'd LOVE to have someday is a manure composting setup that uses two or more bins built from RR ties, elevating and constructed so that we could just wheel the wheelbarrow to an elevated portion, dump it into lower portion.  Fill one, then start filling another one.  Ideally by the time all are full, you could unload composted manure from the first one.
What I did when I lived in city limits is that we dumped manure in one "wild" location, just outside our fenced property, and made that manure available free to anyone who wanted to come and haul away a pickup load.  Very best was meeting a fella who was building an adobe house.  Horse manure is a desirable component of "real" adobe bricks, so for a couple of years he hauled away every bit of manure those horses created--all we had to do was call and let him know we had a truckload or more for him to pick up.   
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KysaSD

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2016, 07:51:13 am »

I live on a farm with tractors.  For large amounts, I put it with he cow manure compost.  I currently have 9 horses on my property, and I have real winter.  Except for stalls, there is no manure cleanup in the winter.  I do get a good ring of manure around my round bale feeders.  That il will scrape he spring.  Then I just drag the rest of it and wait for a couple good rains.

I do not stall my horses.  The stalls are for overnight horse motel customers, and for things like holding pens on the day the farrier is there.  For this manure, I will build a bin.  Right now it is just piled, but I want an official bin.  It will be a foot wider than the skid steer bucket, and twice as deep.  I can post photos as I build it.  During the summer, you want to keep it moist.  As it composts, it will shrink by about half.  After it has composted and shrunk, that is when you want it for gardening, or give it to your neighbors.  My son puts the composted horse manure in his 9 commercial greenhouses, so we have a good place to get rid of it.
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melissah

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2016, 08:46:19 am »

Okay here is our horse corral build and some answers to your questions. We do not compost. We live in the desert and don't grow anything.....grass even. We are your typical Southern California horse property. Our whole property is .92 acre...so not even a complete acre. Our house, backyard and pool take up half the rest is where the horses are. They live on half an acre lets say. When we were boarding we got disgusted over it all, sold our house and bought one literally moved 3 miles away to a small out of the way horse community. All are one acre plots of land. We rent a dumpster from our trash company. It get's picked up weekly. I use small muck buckets each morning, one per stall and have a little garden tractor with a cart I take them to and dump them out. My husband has a big tractor he uses every couple of weeks or so to clean up the turn out. Or now that it's getting warmer we will try to keep up in the turn out with me picking up piles here and there. I only clean once in the cold months in the stalls every morning but also after work during summer. Even with all that turn out they still like to hang out in their stalls through out the day. Fly control....I use Spalding Fly Predator's which I swear work. One summer I decided to forego them and it got bad so I ordered for the rest of the season and it literally cut flies by about 75%.  Be careful about manure storage. This happen to our neighbors......literally...we live on the same street. We bought the house and it came with one of those wood buildings you can buy at any Lowe's or Home Depot. That is hay storage etc. Our horse trailer is our tack room. We store some stuff in the hay shed but we get mice so we are careful about what goes in there.

http://ktla.com/2014/07/27/exploding-manure-may-have-caused-fire-that-killed-horses-goats-in-palmdale/

This was the horse area before anything was done. Part of the deal when we bought the house was for them to clear all the brush/debris.


Then we hired a guy with a Bobcat to grade the area....he was a steal at $300.00 and he raised the area the corrals would go.






Then we bought all the panels and corral pipe from a place that delivered it to us. And between David, me, Hannah and her boyfriend we chose the windiest day in the world to put it together. The worst was putting the metal siding and tops on. We were lucky no one was beheaded. That was some scary stuff but we were on a mission.






Then SPOILED Storm got his stall enlarged because he was not adjusting well to the 12x24 stall.






Here is the dumpster to the left....look close.


This is the actual size


And the hay shed from one of those home build stores.


But there you have what can be done and how on a 1/2 acre of land and 3 horses. Yes, this is common because it's all dry lots out here.




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Laurie

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2016, 09:23:33 am »

I don't have time to compost. My horses are on pasture 24/7 and only come in to feed each day then are turned right back out, so very little poop if ever in the stalls.  However, they LOVE to stand under the barn awning right outside of their stalls where I feed them their hay.  They poop plenty there and generally make a mess.  When I'm ready to do the garden, I will look for spots under the awing that are completely dried out, with powdery poop and shovel that into my cart to go to the garden.  I dump some in each hole I dig, then top dress it with the extra.  Occasionally we will scrape the ground under the awing with the tractor and bucket and move the poop to a pile in the pasture, out of the way in a corner .  I have about 12.5 acres and the pasture is far enough away from the house and any neighbors that you don't smell it.  the main thing to remember is not to use and "new" poop for planting.  It needs to be aged and dried out. I had bins once years ago. They were too hard to work with for me. Plus, the older I get the less strength I have to shovel and turn compost, so I just don't do it! ;)
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kckc

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2016, 10:55:56 am »

Meely -- I have  question for you.    How much room/acreage do you have?  Do you have a tractor or any equipment?   I know a stable that just wheels their poop over to a half acre which was lower ground area, spreads it to dry and just keeps layering it.   I also know a couple that pile their manure for local nurseries or garden centers although I here that if chemicals are used for flies or weeds some places won't take the manure.   
If you don't have much land then there are removal companies around that will come out and take off the manure (at least here there are companies).   
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gallatingal

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2016, 10:58:16 am »

We compost in a pile the manure from the stalls that gets "turned" and periodically pushed around with the tractor bucket and then ultimately added to the permaculture garden spots. The paddocks and pastures we drag with a harrow periodically to break up the manure and there it stays. Ultimately becoming part of the pasture soil  :D
We also use the fly predators around the barn and that really does help to keep the fly population down.
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meely3

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2016, 01:08:43 pm »

If this all goes through there will be about an acre that is usable for turnout as well as a small dry lot/ riding area. I don't have anything at all right now. Well, I think I still have a muck bucket somewhere. I'm not sure that a tractor will be in the budget. I have always spread it, and this property has a great spot to fill in some rocky areas which could be then fenced in for turnout. But that is now illegal in our state. You need a documented plan and It isn't allowed to be put on the ground in piles.
 I have been at barns that use the fly predators and I think they work great, so I will probably be trying them myself.  That is such a great set up melissah, do you really fill the dumpster once a week? I might look into that as an alternative, but I think it's pricey and it would be hard to get the poo into a dumpster without a loader. If I can get it even a little composted there are plenty of people who will take it.
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KysaSD

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« Last Edit: April 07, 2016, 01:23:56 pm by KysaSD »
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loneelk

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2016, 05:22:43 pm »

Quick comment about fly predators.  We've been using fly predators here for well over 10 years.  What I found that makes a HUGE difference is having them delivered more frequently than once a month--I'm pretty sure that ours are on a 4 week cycle now, and the outcome is MUCH better.  Sorta depends on rainfall for us, so results may vary a lot in other parts of the country that get more rain.  Ours come from Spalding Labs, arrive right on time, and on the rare occasions that a batch gets lost in mailing or for some reason the eggs don't hatch, they've always been great about sending a replacement shipment.  They also offer bonus double quantities for things like early ordering.  I try to schedule our "doubles" for times when we'd normally expect monsoon rains (normally July into September), because flies tend to be heavier then. We also use bait jars to catch adult flies that manage to hatch in spite of our "fly guys".
Absolutely happy w/ fly predators. 
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kckc

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2016, 05:51:04 pm »

I used fly predators for a season or two... then my horses got turned out 100% so it wasn't useful for me.   The keeping them out of the sun, no fly spray, no feed through wormer... all that is important to read to keep the predators healthy as I recall.

illegal to stack poop?   but people can dump, litter, leave old cars sitting around...   my oh my
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Walkin45

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2016, 05:19:02 am »

I used the predestines, they didn't work for me.
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meely3

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2016, 05:24:43 am »

Yea, don't even get me started....there are probably 30 houses that have cesspools within 15 feet of the river. In a flood zone. But don't make a manure pile a quarter mile away because that is bad for the river. A river that is already full of sewage.
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OldnOrnery

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2016, 08:29:38 pm »

So does anyone compost? Do you use bins? Do you use bins you bought? And how does it work? I'm concerned about fly control, smell control, and not needing a huge construction project. I am not handy. My hubby is not handy. If we try to build something it is going to be very bad. But I was looking at the bins you can buy and they only hold about 200 gallons.
Here, we cannot put manure into any dumpster, so I compost. How many horses will you have at home? There is a simple calculation in the tons of manure produced per horse per year, depending how your horse is housed. Mine are on an acre dry lot with a bedded shelter. So without the bedding, manure and urine alone is 51 lbs per day per horse. That's 18,615 lbs per year per horse without bedding. 18 ½ tons per year for 2 horses. http://articles.extension.org/pages/18868/stall-waste-production-and-management Adding bedding, and you'll quickly double the volume (but make a really high quality compost). That volume and weight requires equipment. My compost pile for 2015 is 12 x 12 x 5 ft. 

I have 3 manure bins built from pressure treated lumber. They are sized to accommodate the 60" wide loader, with 10" play on each side. Each bin is about 8 feet long and maybe 5 ft. high. I sized them to accommodate one winter's manure + bedding if it's horribly wet and I can't manage to get the manure/soiled bedding out into a wind row due to foul weather. If I had a do-over, I'd build a single large, wide bin using concrete block. I run the loader, and it's nice to have plenty of room to maneuver side to side and to back up the tractor. Pressure-treated wood suppresses decomposition. It really needs soil contact to decompose quickly and effectively (the source of organisms). It also needs to be watered, aerated and turned. Turning it within a small bin is inefficient. It's much easier to turn and work the compost out in the middle of a nice big flat area. This cannot be done by hand.

Day in, day out, I pick my shelter and dry lot twice a day (two horses) running my ATV and put that in the bins. When two or three bins are full, I use my tractor to move the manure into a windrow on soil in the middle of an semi-flat area to complete composting. I add some organic stuff to speed up the break down -- lawn clippings, kitchen veggie stuff, feather meal, alfalfa pellets -- to heat it up. I turn the pile several times over the course of a winter (when it rains here). When the texture is beautiful, I cover it with a tarp until it's used in the garden, on the lawns, on the roses, around any trees, in the veggie gardens. That stuff is priceless. The many, many tons of manure and bedding break down into a pile about 4 ft high, 6 feet long and wide.

Equipment for this process: an ATV for daily picking ($5K in 2004) + a compact tractor with a loader ($7K in 2005). The tractor does quadruple duty: mows 15 acres for fire control, moves the manure, box scraper for the gravel road and drag the footing in the round pen. Used tractors are plentiful around here. They come off vineyard leases with about 250 hours. That's a  preadolescent in the useful life of a tractor, under warranty.  They are reasonable to maintain: you do little more than a safety check for loose bolts, change out air and fuel filters and check the  coolant and oil levels. Tractors are meant to run for several years with the owner doing the bulk of the maintenance work. It's not complicated if I can do it. I have a guy out to service my tractor every 18 mos because I'm a safety wing nut. People die on tractors, and I don't intend to be one of them. Running a tractor is hella fun. Who knew?

Flies? Yes. But composting doesn't increase flies. I use fly predators from April through October. I also use fly bags+ sticky sticks inside the barn. You have to manage flies using every available tool. My barn has few flies, according to my trimmer. They make their way to my house that is at the other end of the property. I live in the country surrounded by a cattle ranch and neighbors with horses who do NOTHING to manage flies. It's country living.

Photos: Manure pile from 2015. 12 x 12 x 5, Vizslas for scale. Next, bins I would NOT build, instead make one wide bin using concrete block. Last, finished compost, what's left of 2014 manure pile.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 08:33:02 pm by OldnOrnery »
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kckc

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Re: Anyone compost?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2016, 08:49:55 pm »

lovely explanation on how you handle...  OnO
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