Do you find it better to drag or try to pick and compost? I work full time and the picking is really getting ahead of me, but it's just not in the budget right now to buy a 4 wheeler/spreader. I've heard about making a drag from a section of chain link fence - has anyone tried that and had success?
I tried it and failed. I am on a very steep slope though. What do you have that you can use to pull the drag thingy ? My problem was that I only had the lawnmower, and it was not up to the job ! Now I have the tractor, so things are (theoretically) a lot easier ..... only trouble is I am too little to safely drive the tractor on slopes (Phil is quite an elderly tractor, and his brakes are 'quirky'). Anyway, if you have almost enough pasture, have you tried cross-fencing it in two, so you can rest one half, in which case you can get away with tromping round the resting half every now and then with yer big boots on, kicking the poo-piles to smithereens. That way you only have to poo-pick the 'communal' area.
I self care board on 2 acres +/-. I pick daily, compost and spread the finished compost by hand. Just got finished in fact for fall. I work full time too though my schedule is pretty flexible most days. It *is* a lot of work, it is easy to let it get away from me if I don't keep myself on a routine, but if I keep up on it its only about 25 min of work per day, and its good exercise, which I really can't afford to turn down.
If I had to care for more than 2ish acres, or I had more than 2 horses, I probably would devise a method of dragging as it would be a bit much.
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I pick everything. 2 horses on a 6 acre property, divided into 3 little pastures. They are in the barn nightly, so that is cleaned daily, as is their little holding pen where they eat all their meals except what they get overnight inside. I pretty much go on a spree every spring and fall, marathon picking, then drag and mow. I try and keep up a bit throughout the rest of the year, but it depends on the weather and how busy I am.
I don't think it would be feasible for me to spread it. Really, they poop A LOT!!! I obviously overfeed them I put it in a little dump trailer and every couple weeks take it over to a big pile at a nearby garden centre where I talked them into making their own compost rather than purchasing it all
Just the other day I mentioned to my husband that I was DONE picking. He looked at me and laughed and said, "You realize that you will never be done, right?"
I pick stalls and sacrifice paddock to compost, and drag my 2 acres of pasture twice a year (spring and fall). You can pull a chain link drag behind a truck, SUV or tractor (we use our tractor), just drive slowly.
My pasture is cross-fenced into three 2/3 acre pastures. The two best are dragged, limed, fertilized and seeded in the fall and then rested during the winter. The worst section is used as a sacrifice pasture during the winter for the geldings to let off steam when the ground isn't too saturated. And then it's dragged, limed, fertilized and seeded in the spring and then rested for the summer.
We use our tractor to spread the finished compost on whatever section of pasture or garden is suffering the most and give some to friends and neighbors. We don't have a compost spreader so the hubby just dumps/spreads it with the tractor bucket.
I had success making a drag from a section of panel fencing (comes in 16' sections and is really thick... look it up at Tractor Supply as "goat panel" or "horse panel") anyway we had a little section left over, added some scrap 6x6 post pieces (4x4 would have worked) and a chain. Hooked that over the bumper of my truck and it worked just fine for a couple of years. In fact it was still working just fine but I bought a "real" harrow that I could flip over and have tines. Otherwise I'd still be using it.
I was hoping to drag the home-made spreader (the panel fence sounds intriguing too) behind my small, easy to handle 4WD car not-quite-SUV. Pasture is basically level. I have it cross fenced into 3 based on topography, where the barn is, etc. but I really don't have enough grass to do big-time rotation. The section where the barn is, is heavily wooded and the grass there...is a nice diversion but in the winter won't maintain them (even w/ plenty o' supplemental hay and grain.) The third lot is pretty small...maybe 1/3 acre. I can probably use it and the barn lot w/round bales in the spring to plough and reseed the "big" pasture and make do for enough time for it to get well under way. But for right now I can't take them off it for weeks. I wish. But there's really more poo than I can just let sit there. For one thing, one of my 2 critters is a draft cross - BIIIIIIIIIG piles
I pick it all up -- stalls, gravel paddocks, small pastures. We have maybe 2 or 3 acres of pasture, cross fenced and just two horses out for limited time (one is IR). But I compost the manure and then it is spread after composting, with those areas being taken out of rotation for awhile. Just dragging on the field doesn't work so well in our climate. Composting to the proper temp will actually kill the parasites and by picking the manure up, it really helps with fly control, and I don't end up with big areas (bathroom places) that won't get eaten. Stalls and near paddocks are picked daily while the pastures are done every couple weeks or so. Not that big of job with the garden tractor trailer and two of us out there with pitchforks.
I had level ground and a pretty good riding mower. My drag was a six by six foot section of chain link fence, reinforced with rebar - much better than wood. I put four old tires on it and it made a great drag, really broke up the manure well. You can't get as close in the corners or along the fence line with a regular vehicle, but it would work better than no drag at all.
I tried the chain link fence with fence posts for weight and it didn't work for me. I now use a VERY heavy solid oak pallet I found by accident. Its pulled behind the gas powered golf cart or toyota 4 WD based on how muddy it is. I live in a swamp in Fl. Fell for it
"My treasures do not sparkle or glitter, they shine in the sunlight and nicker to me in the night"
Those who are using a section of chainlink fence, what are you using to weigh it down? I use a chainlink with 2 cinderblocks attached to drag my arena, but it actually pulls up some grass if I take it over the pastures... I was going to try just 1 cinderblock instead, as I don't think the bare chainlink will do enough on its own...
For years I have used a square metal-tubing gate frame with chain-link inside, and a couple of iron bars to weigh it down - all stuff I got from the local dump/recyclers. I tow it behind my car over gently rolling hills. 2 lots of 5 acres and two 1/2 acre paddocks.
In the winter the horses (2) live in the smaller paddocks 24/7 and I do a daily walk-around with a wheel barrow and make a pooh pile by the road fence. The local gardeners come and take it away.