View Full Version : Question: Pasture Maintenance - Where Manure was - How Does One "Treat" The Residue?

Jul. 8, 2012, 09:52 AM
Or a link to a previous CoTH Thread?? I don't know what subject to look under. :confused:

...The patch where the manure was before I picked it?

Like many others, we have a a bit of a drought going on. My gelding is on about an acre. I am picking the manure, but really want to maximize the grazing (and I know a horse won't eat where he's manured). What will "sweeten" the manure spots? I was thinking a bit of powdered lime in water, in a sprinkling can.

Would this work? If not, what should I do?



Jul. 8, 2012, 04:13 PM
No one does anything?

Maybe I should rephrase the question?

Jul. 8, 2012, 04:27 PM
I remember reading a study saying that if manure was removed within 24 hours (I think?), it wouldn't taint the ground and horses would eat there once the grass regrew. If manure sat there for longer then horses could tell it had been there for months (6-12+) afterwards and wouldn't graze that spot.

Maybe super-regular manure removal is your best bet?

Jul. 8, 2012, 05:27 PM
Thank you, kali!

I have been picking regularly (every night/every other night) ... once I was able to retrieve my muck-fork & bucket from my friend: only about 8 - 9 days went by w/o picking.

It did rain, briefly, two different days.

So wetting-down the picked spots with a weak lime/water solution wouldn't help with the older spots?

BTW, Thank you!

Jul. 8, 2012, 10:04 PM
Would you pour lime and water on your horse's hay in a stall? If it's a drought, what you put down now is essentially fed right to him assuming the plan even worked and he ate the cleaned grass. No, it's hot, it's dry... you do not need to be out there treating your pasture like a persian carpet with cat yak on it. Pour yourself a tea and relax somewhere far away from the manure tainted bent grass blades. Grand total- what amount of grass are we talking about? If you added it all together would it even make one bale of hay?

The potty/pasture system horses have figured out is actually a pretty good one and I wouldn't force them to go against those great natural instincts. Keeping it picked and mowing the roughs is ideal pasture managment- but I don't know that the purpose is to trick them into eating grass they shouldn't be eating.

Jul. 9, 2012, 02:19 PM
You mow the rough spots to keep the grass growing and not gone to seed. Once the grass sets seed, it goes dormant, so the rough area will look all dried out and VERY visible, especially in times like this heat.

I agree that forcing horse to eat that grass is a poor idea. Equines evolved to poop away from the food they eat, to stay more disease free in their wandering of the plains. By next year the ungrazed poopy area, should be producing better feed with protected seed sprouted and horses probably will have a different poopy area in that grazing section. Miles of acres allowed this kind of grazing. Seeds in horse poop, grasses growing by the horse poop fertilizer, all get a better chance at seeding and making it thru the winter, than other, less protected seeds do.

Not the same in pastures these days with heavy grazing, small spaces. Still good though for horses to avoid the poopy area grazing, even if grazing there LOOKS excellent to our human eyes. Just exposes equines to whatever worms or disease they might be carrying, pooping out, by grazing those areas before winter comes and goes. Weather USED to kill that stuff, before we made it so resistant with good worm meds.

Jul. 9, 2012, 04:46 PM
I've never done anything to it. I pick every day/every other day, so it's never sitting there too long.

I'd avoid pouring a water/lime mix on the grass- it could create a bald spot.

Jul. 9, 2012, 04:53 PM
Lime it. You don't have t o put down a lot of lime. Just throw out a handful. And if you add the water, it does dilute it.

Our 2nd barn had a nice wide concrete aisle. The BO put down lime once or twice a week, to keep the aisle looking light, almost white, and clean. While Callie ignored it, Cloudy often stuck his mouth right down on it. Despite my best efforts. For 2.4 yrs. No harm done.

She used those big bags of gardening lime from the garden shop. And yes, she also put lime on the wet spots in stalls. And at first barn, the BO put lime on the wet spots in stalls, even with mats. After cleaning the stalls of course. The wet spots were on the mats/dirt, depending on the barns.

Now everyone uses the sweet pdz in stalls. I assume it can be used in a pasture, but it's more expensive than gardening lime.

mzm farm
Jul. 9, 2012, 05:06 PM
You could throw a flake of hay on that spot - if he is hungry enough, he will eat the hay and the fines along with the grass.

Personally, I think a better bet is just hay in shade and mow the grass when it gets too tall/stemmy. Compost manure, and spread back onto fields to feed/fertilize the earth, let it rest 6months or so, and back for a season of grazing.

I have a new field this year and even though there is/was no poop on it, the animals picked areas to leave uneaten - guess they just don't taste that good to them.

Jul. 9, 2012, 05:17 PM
Throw some bermuda seed , under or over,
why waste good fertilizer?

After floods and droughts, I have 75% persian carpet now, it is lovely.

Jul. 9, 2012, 05:46 PM
IMO you are over-thinking this. This is how horses are. They instinctually do not eat in their bathroom areas. Do not put hay in the "roughs." Put the hay in the clean areas. Keep the roughs mowed. Picking paddocks is for people with a too much time on their hands, IMO, because the horses aren't going to graze the roughs anyway, but hey, whatever floats your boat.

To maximize grazing, take soil samples to your local extension office, and then follow their instructions regarding liming, fertilizing and seeding. Keeping your horse inside 12 hrs. a day also really helps a small paddock to stay nice. Be sure to mow regularly, and if you want you can spray for weeds once in a while. Concentrate on maximizing the grazing potential of the good areas rather than trying to make your horse graze his potty areas. A healthy pasture doesn't necessarily look like a lawn.

Jul. 9, 2012, 06:46 PM
Thank you, all of you for your advice. :)

I had just been thinking that: "well, if I sprinkle some limed-water over the patches, and then after it rains; after a week or several, it'll be graze-able again."

I won't do the lime, per all of your advice; so thanks!

FWIW, there are no "rough patches", really.
Also - he is turned out 24/7 on about an acre+ (barely plus.) He gets a slurry of beet pulp, T&A hay cubes, 1/4 c. BOSS, 1/4 c. Veg oil & a tbsn of chia seeds twice a day (he came home about 200 - 300 lbs underweight: gained 35 lbs 1st week.)

Oh .. and I am taking him out to hand-graze in a lusher field 1 - 2 times a day, for 1/2 - 1 hour.

We are in a bit of a drought, which is rare for this area.

Jul. 9, 2012, 10:45 PM
When I asked the same question a while ago an answer came back that you wouldn't want to eat in your potty spot either, would you.

I have a small field and try to maximise their time out there without over grazing so it beomes a weedy mess. The horses can only go out there an hour or so a day. The field is divided by electric fence and rotated. When they finish one half, my husband mows it even. In the long spots (potty area) he weedeats it and throws it over the fence to them in their dry paddock - they eat every bit.
After a while and after it has been mowed, they seem not to care.

He also lies it and fertilizes it somewhat - it is only the size of a postage stamp, but is quite productive since we don't have the long droughts that some parts of the country have.

But he's got lots of that nervous energy that cannot sit still. It does look nice and tidy and has got five huge oak trees for shade. Very pleasant to see the horses out there.