View Full Version : anyone bedding ON your compost?

Apr. 13, 2011, 12:28 PM
Have seen cows bedded on their own composted bedding. Does anyone do this with horses? Pros and cons experienced?

Apr. 13, 2011, 01:19 PM
My horse bed themselves on composted stall-cleanings.

Once we get a huge snowfall I am no longer able to scrape clean their yard - just outside the stalls.
I rake out the used bedding into this area & it composts over the Winter.

As soon as the snow melts, and sometimes before, I find them sleeping on this stuff.
It generates heat as it breaks down so it must be comfy.

I don't think I'd want to leave it in stalls though, as it takes a while for the {ahem} "aroma" to dissipate.

Once it is fully composted there's no smell aside from that of fresh loam, but some damp Spring days it is less than fragrant.

Apr. 13, 2011, 02:17 PM
Have seen cows bedded on their own composted bedding. Does anyone do this with horses? Pros and cons experienced?

My horses live on high desert sage and scrub land so are fed along the fenceline twice a day (so don't do a lot of grazing). They have, over time, built several manure piles (potty spots) that are probably 20-30 feet across and 2 feet or so deep and compost continuously. These are where they will bed down at night, esp in the winter. Suspect that they are warmer (due to darker color so absorb heat during the day time sunlight as well as composting so create some heat). Doesn't bother the horses and since they are slightly raised over the surrounding area they tend to stay pretty dry at least on the very outer surface and the horses stay out of the mud this way. I go rake up wheel barrow loads of this for the compost pile for the garden every couple months and since it is already about half composted my garden piles just chug right along and give me great compost in a shorter time period. Cattle in feed lots do the same thing and the feedlot here scrapes manure up into a big heap running the length of the feed pen (most are probably 2-3 acres in size)...cattle laying up there all the time...guessing heat and maybe visibility.

Apr. 13, 2011, 08:38 PM
In the UK it's called the deep litter system. You bed on straw usually, or sawdust, very deeply at first, and only remove poop and wet spots all winter. Add more straw each day, but don't disturb the bed (and dust/spores) by digging around too much.

(This system doesn't work well with stall walkers)

By spring, the beds are very deep and cushioned, and very warm. It's a bugger to strip them then, but it's very soft, warm, and saves time in a country where it gets dark at 3.30pm each day in winter!

Some people strip once a month, some go longer - depends on how good you are at managing them. They should not smell.