Fiancee is shopping for our new "farm" ATV and I am on a mission for my manure speader! We have two horses, and at most will add a mini donkey to our herd but that is it. We have four acres and access to a field to spread in. I need something that will comfortably handle this load but is EASY to use. I can handle the ATV (former motorcycle rider), but have no experience with manure spreaders.
Horses are out 24/7 and I mostly use pelleted bedding in their stalls (free access to them).
I've used several of these for several years. Overall they are good for a small operation. They will NOT handle wet hay mixed in and it helps to be able to drive over bumpy, uneven terrain to unclog. I don't like the agitator as it clogs easily with wet or hay mixed manure. They will require maintenance/replacement parts so make sure you are able to do this. I have not used pelleted bedding so I have no experience with that.
For small farms I liked the Millcreek spreader we had at the last barn I leased. We had the model 57 which was supposed to handle up to 10 horses but it honestly could barely handle the 8 we had.
It seemed pretty well made, never had a problem with wet shavings or anything like that.
I would recommend getting something bigger than you need. It was a real PITA when the horses were all in because of horrible weather and I had to empty the spreader in the pooring rain. I decided that I would get one that I didn't have to empty daily when I get my farm. (Then again, the tiny spreaders probably don't take too long to empty.)
A lovely horse is always an experience.... It is an emotional experience of the kind that is spoiled by words. ~Beryl Markham
We have the Newer Spreader and like it a lot. Never had it clog, but there isn't a lot of hay mixed in. Apparently the new ones (like mine) have a spring loaded thingy to let larger chunks pass without clogging.
As for other ATV toys, we have a big yellow plow and that thing can really push some snow.
We have a Millcreek that we pull behind our ATV and I love it. So very easy to use. We use shavings or paper (my gelding is allergic to the shavings or pellets) but have put straw through it too with no problem.
We also have a winch on ours and it has come in handy a bunch of times to move various objects and get it un-stuck. We have the detachable "Moose Plow too" and is very handy up here in CNY. And our last toy for it is a pull behind finish mower... we can mow our riding field in record time...
A trailer for it is handy too, but I find myself frequently just using the spreader as a trailer to move stuff.
I love using our ATV as our "Tractor" it is so versatile and has been very low maintenance.
Edited to add: I forgot we have a drag for it too... can speed drag the paddocks/fields too!
I LOVE my Newer Spreader. I bought it 5 years ago and it is still working great. I don't put much in the way of hay into it, it is not so hard to keep it seperate (and my horses don't waste any if they can help it). Best 500 bucks I ever spent.
I have 3 horses, and got the regular size one. I don't even have to spread it every day, since my horses are out 24x7, but do have free access to their stalls, and love to leave me "gifts" in there.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
I've had a Fuerst manure spreader for about 12 years and it's still going strong. Small enough you can move it around (empty) by hand, but it will hold a fair amount, I've pulled it with my John Deere Gator as well as the lawn mower. It has ground driven beater bar and chain advance. It's like the Millcreek, but without the bells and whistles...not painted and pretty, but galvanized steel (and a good bit cheaper). It's been in constant use, mucking from 3-8 horses over these years.
One feature I've seen that I covet from the Millcreek is the"shield" that swings up when you get ready to spread...it prevents the manure from being flung forward (into the back of your head, when the manure is frozen). Fuerst doesn't offer this, and my efforts to cobble a similar thing together have, so far, failed miserably. Hint: always drive into the wind.
Like Trinity, it has been used to haul "stuff"....fence posts, rubbish, etc. Works as a handy little trailer when needed.
But unlike the Newer spreader type, you can put just about anything in this and it will fling it.....hay, straw, shavings, etc. The occasional rock won't cause any problems. Pretty easy to work on and if you call for parts/support, you get a real person.
We have a Newer Spreader too and after using it for 5+ years, I've finally decided that I don't hate it It will clog horribly with hay depending on the type of hay you make the mistake of putting in it (anything with timothy is a major problem, but alfalfa/ orchard grass is a breeze). We finally made the discovery that if you put your lawn tractor or ATV in reverse, it will unclog (YAY!!!). We have one of the smaller ones and with 2 big OTTBs and a wee pony who are stall-kept for 7 hours a day, it's a bit on the small side. My husband is going to see if it is possible to build the sides up taller this summer. He's also going to try taking the agitator off and installing it "backward" (with the wide parts to the inside) since the tiny bit of hay that gets run through it winds around the center of the agitator rendering it useless. We have kept ours outside for the past 5+ years and you'd never know it. They are quite durable!