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View Full Version : Do you remove manure from pastures and how often?



eventergrl
Jun. 30, 2010, 10:55 PM
I never have at our stable, but am considering doing so. Well really I would like to hire someone but not sure if anyone would be up for that.

So my question is, do you think it is really necessary to remove the manure from pastures and if so how often should it be done? And I am not talking small one horse turnouts but larger fields that can range up to 5 acres.

deltawave
Jun. 30, 2010, 11:06 PM
I pick up the dirt sacrifice paddock every day (unless it's snow covered) but not the two grass pastures. I do harrow them very thoroughly about every month or so; the horses have a couple of preferred "potty" areas where they do 90% of their pooping and although the grass of course is dense and green there they won't touch it. So I make sure to harrow it really well and keep it mowed, and that leaves the other parts of the pasture good for grazing.

Just too much work to pick up poop on 8 acres of grass--not enough hours in the day. :)

shakeytails
Jul. 1, 2010, 03:09 AM
Never. They're turned out for a reason- to minimize poop picking. The bush hog does a fine job of spreading piles. Between the pastures and paddocks, I have about 20 acres with horses on it. Ain't no way I'd even consider it!

TrueColours
Jul. 1, 2010, 07:51 AM
Once or twice a day in my 3 dirt t/o paddocks - without fail. Once a day in my 2 smaller grass t/o paddocks as well

When we start fencing off the larger areas this fall (my hay fields currently) I will probably "spot" pick them out but no way I can drive up and down effectively picking out something that size

And for me - they are turned out for excercise and fresh air, etc - not necessarily to minimize poop picking ;)

I HATE HATE HATE seeing foals lying down in piles of manure, covered in flies, or the horses standing in it because there is no other option for them to stand in a clean area. I went through that long enough when I boarded out. I swore I would never allow that once I had my own place

And at the 50 lbs per mature horse per day they eject out the back end, it adds up REAL quickly if you dont deal with it on a daily basis ...

Bluey
Jul. 1, 2010, 09:01 AM
I feed twice a day and clean the little corner I have designated for a bathroom and all use when in the pens,
In the pastures, since we have 30 acres per horse, no, you could not find the piles, would take long time to get around in a grid to pick them all up.:lol:

Here is a pasture vacuum for those with little pastures that need to be picked up::)

http://www.pasturevacuums.com/products.html

PRS
Jul. 1, 2010, 09:10 AM
I have free range chickens that pick through and spread out the poop so I rarely feel the need to pick it up. We harrow about once a month.

Lori T
Jul. 1, 2010, 10:28 AM
Yes, weekly. It helps control parasites and I think it just looks horrible to have piles of poop everywhere, not to mention reducing the fly population.
I used to drag, but with 5 acres divided into 2 pastures and 6 horses, I don't have the room to let the dragged pastures sit for any length of time without grazing. I recently attended a lecture by a vet who discussed parasite control. She said that unless you are letting a dragged pasture sit, you aren't controlling the parasites. She said the best control is to remove the manure.
Before it got so bloody hot by 7am, I would spend about 10 minutes every morning before work picking up manure..it really isn't that bad since my horses seem to have designated potty areas, but with the heat, I now do it just on the weekends so I am not sweaty before going into work.

carolprudm
Jul. 1, 2010, 10:36 AM
With a dozen horses on 15 acres, never, except around the barn

hundredacres
Jul. 1, 2010, 10:59 AM
I clean the sacrifice paddock a couple times a week (once a week really well, half-assed the other times)...but I don't clean the pastures because the horses use specific areas away from where they are grazing. If I were to harrow that area then their grazing places would be contaminated. Every now and then I will clean if I see a new horse doesn't really know it's supposed to go "there"...and I will move their manure to the right spot and eventually they get the message. Sounds strange but it's worked so far (could be a fluke?). We also rotate pastures so the manure spot gets some drying out time when they are in another field, and the guinea will pillage the manure and the piles disappear.

ReSomething
Jul. 1, 2010, 11:34 AM
Yes, weekly. It helps control parasites and I think it just looks horrible to have piles of poop everywhere, not to mention reducing the fly population.
I used to drag, but with 5 acres divided into 2 pastures and 6 horses, I don't have the room to let the dragged pastures sit for any length of time without grazing. I recently attended a lecture by a vet who discussed parasite control. She said that unless you are letting a dragged pasture sit, you aren't controlling the parasites. She said the best control is to remove the manure.
Before it got so bloody hot by 7am, I would spend about 10 minutes every morning before work picking up manure..it really isn't that bad since my horses seem to have designated potty areas, but with the heat, I now do it just on the weekends so I am not sweaty before going into work.
Agree with this, although if you harrow when the outdoor temp is high enough, 90's I think, the eggs are less able to survive.
We pick the smallest pasture once a week, the other two not quite so much and the manure tends to get spread by the mower.

sisu27
Jul. 1, 2010, 11:40 AM
We pick our dirt paddock (app 100X200) every day (2 horses). It's just too gross not to.

One of the horses (my thbd) goes out on grass from around 8am until 7pm every day and then back into the dry paddock. So really it is like 1 and a half horses pooping in there every day. Guess how many poops on average in 24 hrs?

All the others are out in large grassy paddocks either 1 or max 2 per paddock. Those do not get picked.

easyrider
Jul. 1, 2010, 01:43 PM
Yes. Two horses right now, sacrifice paddock and five pastures for rotational grazing. Every day, and the sacrifice at least twice a day.

CamdenLab
Jul. 1, 2010, 03:00 PM
For larger pastures, I recommend harrowing the field once a week to once a month, the more the better. By spreading out the manure, the sun will kill the nasties in there, it won't kill the grass by smothering (like when you leave the piles laying around) and will fertilize your fields. For a smaller pastures, paddocks, drylots, etc. probably pick it at least weekly.

Equilibrium
Jul. 1, 2010, 03:13 PM
My 6 acre field with 2 mares and 2 foals gets the high traffic areas done once a week. This is in the vicinity of where they eat as they tend to stand around and wait at feed time. I have 3 smaller paddocks done daily. I don't think it gets hot enough to kill parasites effectively here by spreading them out. The three smaller paddocks take 20 mins to do per day so it's no biggie. Looks better, is better for the horses, and better for the paddocks.

Terri

filly78
Jul. 1, 2010, 05:13 PM
We have about 3.5 acres of turnout with 2 horses. One horse is out 24/7, the other comes in at 8AM and goes out around 6PM. We have 5 turnout fields, but only open a few at a time for the horses to graze. We pick our fields daily. I can't imagine what our property would be like if we didn't.... The only time we don't pick up poop daily is in the winter if there's snow on the ground. That makes things really difficult.

ryansgirl
Jul. 1, 2010, 06:31 PM
I try to daily - I have two horses on a 4-acre grass field. Unfortunately the barn owners are NOT good about mowing it so it is hard to get to certain places but I do pick the areas that my two regularly graze in. Doesn't take long at all as long as I maintain it :).

Equibrit
Jul. 1, 2010, 07:35 PM
I harrow and then rest the pasture in rotation.

Bluey
Jul. 1, 2010, 07:48 PM
We have dung beetles, that make short shrift of any pile laying around very long.:)

Hampton Bay
Jul. 1, 2010, 08:28 PM
I don't pick the pastures very often at all. I used to, but it just got to be too much work, with 4 oddly-shaped acres and 4 horses.

I have started feeding whole oats with my alfalfa cubes, and the birds seem to be flattening the piles for me. With the heat here, the worm eggs aren't going to last long once the piles have been broken up and spread a bit.

baysngreys
Jul. 2, 2010, 03:14 PM
I'm fanatical about harrowing. At least once to twice a week I drag all the paddocks and break up the piles.
Watch the weather and get it done right before it rains.
Birds help once it's spread out.

I do pick out run-in sheds daily.

Eventaholic
Jul. 2, 2010, 03:41 PM
I only pick the area directly outside the barn (which is open directly to the pastures) because that is where 90% of the poop is. I "pick" the area once or twice a day- I just spend ten minutes topping off the wheelbarrow after stalls while the horses are eating, I don't necessarily pick up every pile. I go through once or twice a week and try to get it ALL then. The random two or three piles in the back 40? Yeeeeah no.

PRS has a good idea with the chickens.... might bring a few of my bids up to the barn and see if they're interested. We did have a few giant turkeys up there the other day... although they didn't seem terribly interested in the poop.

Trevelyan96
Jul. 2, 2010, 06:34 PM
Sacrifice paddock gets picked up daily. When they are turned out in the smaller back pasture, I pick it up daily as well, or harrow if I miss a few days.. Larger pasture gets harrowed weekly, and mowed in the 'roughs' where they won't eat.

Dalemma
Jul. 2, 2010, 11:19 PM
Gravel paddocks attached to stalls get cleaned once to twice a day........I have 4 acres of pasture.....divided into about 10 smaller fields for strip grazing.......I pick manure about twice a week.........harrowing is not an option as some pastures are 3 to 4' high while the others are 18" high. This type of maintenance allows me to worm only twice a year and fecals are showing 0 eggs at 6 months. I have 6 to 8 horses.

Dalemma

pAin't_Misbehavin'
Jul. 2, 2010, 11:28 PM
We have dung beetles, that make short shrift of any pile laying around very long.:)

Me, too.:) In fact, I don't pick my dry lot very often, in order to encourage the beetles. Bram normally poo's in his stall, which of course I pick daily, so if he occasionally goes in his dry lot, I just leave it alone. By the next morning, there's not much left.:)

equineartworks
Jul. 3, 2010, 08:47 AM
2.50 acres, picked 3-4 times per day in the summer. I cannot stand seeing horses standing in or rolling in manure. It keeps the bugs waaaaaaay down as well.

In the winter we pick once or twice a day depending on how cold it is out :lol: But in all honesty it is so much easier to do it morning and night-less wheelbarrow trips.

If I had more to acres and more horses I would still do it just as often with a tractor and wagon. Nothing ruins a pasture or paddock faster than manure left to sit!

Thomas_1
Jul. 3, 2010, 09:01 AM
It depends.

I do if:

it's a small area
I'm advance/retreat strip grazing
I'm likely to cut for hay

I don't if:

it's a large field that I'm just using rationally. Then the muck is harrowed in as organic matter fertiliser

Lady Counselor
Jul. 3, 2010, 02:50 PM
The front sacrafice area gets picked up 3 to 7 times weekly (depending upon weather and schedule) The back paddocks, 0 to 4 times a month depending upon traffic in them and weather.
Every year, I also completely scrape down the sacrifice paddock and re do the sand footing in it. Keeps the muck way down.

theoldgreymare
Jul. 6, 2010, 08:43 PM
All of our pastures have manure removed once a week. Medical paddock gets picked out daily.

goeslikestink
Jul. 6, 2010, 10:20 PM
as i only have a small holding of a couple of acres then i do it every day
as i rotate my fields every 12 weeks,
for the last week of the rotation i leave the poohs where they are then when the horses are moved out i harrow the pooh in to fertilise the ground and to help the grass grow as i worm the horses during this last week towards the end before they move into a new paddock

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jul. 6, 2010, 11:16 PM
I have six horses in an 80 acre field :) no way am I picking it! If I had smaller areas then yes I would, frequency would depend on the size of the paddock, number of horses, etc.

Jaegermonster
Jul. 6, 2010, 11:44 PM
I have 6 horses on 5 acres, and I have gorgeous lush grass. I don't pick up poop in the fields, if I wanted to spend what limited horse time I have picking up shit I would keep them in their stalls and not turned out all the time.
However, I do drag the fields weekly, and everyone is on daily dewormer.

buck22
Jul. 7, 2010, 03:58 PM
Yes. 2 horses on 2.5 acres. I used to pick daily but got lazy over the winter when we had deep snow, now I spot pick 3x a week and pick the entire place 1x a week. I like looking out at my horses grazing in clean green paddocks, not fields of crap. It does wonders for keeping the bugs down too.

I've been making lovely compost, my garden at home is growing great, and I've been spreading my compost in areas that have little topsoil. So far its working quite well, though it is a lot of extra work.

Debbie
Jul. 7, 2010, 04:23 PM
I, too, feed whole oats and the birds spread the piles out. We have very few flies so the birds are getting to them quick enough that eggs don't hatch.