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Very Small Farm Owners.. what do you do with your poo?

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  • Very Small Farm Owners.. what do you do with your poo?

    I'm opening this up to advice from anyone with a small farm. It seems like in my area it's not worth it to have poo hauled away from only 2 horses.

    (most places give you a container and charge a monthly cost, but it would take a long time for my guys to fill it!)

    Those who rent small farms, or don't have spreaders or big tractor equipment, what do you do with the poo that gathers around run ins, hay feeders, or from when you occasionally stall them?

    This is a bird's eye view of the farm: http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2...68747398JSwWYD

    You can see that the barn (and future barn outlined in red) is about 200 feet from where I park (the black "P") and even further from the road.

    The barn is in a low area and it's often too wet to drive back there, esp a big truck.


    I rent a small farm in Elkton, MD (I can spit and hit Fair Hill) and although I don't stall the horses at this time I still like to pick the field and run in area (it's only 5 acres so pop piles up quickly)

    The people who rent the other 6 acres (right next to mine and owned by the same landlord) have a huge.. I mean HUGE pile that the landlord says has never been hauled away. Gross but nothing i can really do about that.

    I don't have enough horses to have the mushroom farms come haul it away, but I need to do something with it.

    What do you do with yours and how?

    ps- I don't have a spreader and although there is a tractor there my tractor driving skills are limited.
    Last edited by Meredith Clark; Dec. 28, 2009, 10:14 PM.
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    One of the long sides of my property is completely lined with brush and I have about 6 rows of grapevines that the previous owners used but I have no interest in them. I dump the daily stuff in between the vines and when it starts to fill up (or I have a stroke of extreme motivation for a day) I take the front end loader and scoop and dump the manure into the brush. I figure it helps to build it up and keep hunters/naughty neighbor kids at bay.
    Who needs wings when you've got a jumper?


    • #3
      Leave it out in the cold until it hardens, paint it silver, and sell it as moon rocks on eBay. Duh.
      Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


      • #4
        Pine View Trucking does roll-off containers- kinda pricey IMO, but they do a good job
        "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
        So you might as well have a good time"


        • #5
          I get rid of mine by placing ads on Craigslist (spammer city, but I can ignore them), Freecycle (a Yahoo email list group available in most cities/towns) and the local newspaper.

          Since I have a tractor with loader, I include free loading of large loads (pick-up truck beds, open trailers, etc.), with smaller quantities "bring your own bag/shoveling implements and have at it". I have developed a small list of "regulars" now that keep the amount I have on hand at a minimum.

          I also keep two piles - the aged stuff and the "newer manure" so folks can get whichever they want (yes, some folks opt to take the "newer" stuff).
          Equus Keepus Brokus


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by LexInVA View Post
            Leave it out in the cold until it hardens, paint it silver, and sell it as moon rocks on eBay. Duh.
            I look forward to the day that you actually give me some valuable insight or advice that I seek on these boards..
            http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
              Pine View Trucking does roll-off containers- kinda pricey IMO, but they do a good job
              Pine View said that they would be way to expensive for only having 2 horses and not stalling them. I appreciate their honestly and they referred me to another company with smaller containers.

              Maybe I should change the title of this...
              http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


              • #8
                You might try composting it. I don't mean leaving it a pile - but really composting it.

                If you have a real composting system - it actually breaks down very fast. It's also a pretty small pile.

                Once it's composted you can spread it back on the field, or use it on your lawn, garden, or veggie garden.

                A real composting system isn't expensive to set up, and it doesn't require much room.

                There are some composting guides available free on the Internet - usually from extension services. Your extension service is on-line - search through it and see what you come up with.

                If you can't find anything - or need some help setting something up - just holler and maybe some of us can walk you through it or help you select a location for you. I've got links and designs and whatnot either saved on my computer, or on a bookshelf.

                It's much more sensible than having it hauled away -you can use it to build up your pasture and increase grazing - no worries about pathogens, flies or worms.

                Also wanted to add that when you remove manure from the fields, it's a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because it's good management, but it's bad because you are removing even more nutrients from the soil. In the long run - you spend more money on things like fertilizer and seed - when merely returning nutrients to the soil (compost) does it at little to no expense to you.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  I have always offered it to neighbors for their gardens. I agree with picking pastures and paddocks when you only have two horses, especially in the summer. When all else fails, I also spread along the fence row which has brushy vegetation. We have a manure spreader so we "can deliver locally" which helps. I'm with the others, put an ad on CL and let someone else get some use out it.
                  Hope this helps.
                  Free bar.ka and tidy rabbit.


                  • #10
                    In Florida with only one horse, I would go around with the wheel barrow picking up manure in the field, and dump it along the far fence line. My dad laughed at this, until he realized how much manure even one horse can produce!

                    One year, we got a bunch of pine trees from the forest service and planted them along the property line... you could look out and see where the manure was, those trees were larger and deeper green!

                    Occasionally if I needed some for the garden, I'd start at the "old" end and bring back some of the aged stuff.
                    ... and Patrick


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by JSwan View Post
                      You might try composting it. I don't mean leaving it a pile - but really composting it.

                      If you have a real composting system - it actually breaks down very fast. It's also a pretty small pile.

                      Once it's composted you can spread it back on the field, or use it on your lawn, garden, or veggie garden.

                      A real composting system isn't expensive to set up, and it doesn't require much room.

                      Thanks JSwan.

                      I'll start looking into this. I would really like to do something "good" with all that poop, and it'd be nice to have a compost pile because the location of the barn isn't readily accessible by large truck to have it hauled away so I'd have to wheelburrow my poo across 4 acres to reach the other side that has a service road.

                      My other issue is that the barn is near a creek which feeds into the Elk River so I need to make sure the poo isn't seeping into it.
                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                        My other issue is that the barn is near a creek which feeds into the Elk River so I need to make sure the poo isn't seeping into it.
                        Well, that's a good thing. In a way.

                        If you're near water you may qualify for cost share assistance or a tax credit (not a deduction, a credit) for putting in a composting system.

                        No matter what - your extension agent and soil and water conservation district offers free advice and assistance - yeah - I know it's a case of "I'm the gubmint and I'm here to help". Famous last words.

                        On the other hand, if this is a subject you're not familiar with, the extension agent is highly educated and really can be a useful, on-site person who can really give you some terrific advice.

                        If you need help figuring out how to contact these people just holler.
                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                        -Rudyard Kipling


                        • #13
                          Like JSwan, we compost ours, and end up using most of it on our pastures and gardens. Kept properly moistened and aerated, it breaks down very quickly and there is virtually no odor.

                          At times, neighbors or family members will take a tub or bag for their gardens. To move excess off the property, I've had great success putting notices on the local craigslist and freecycle. But most of it gets used right here on the property.
                          Equinox Equine Massage

                          In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                          -Albert Camus


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post
                            I look forward to the day that you actually give me some valuable insight or advice that I seek on these boards..
                            If you feel you haven't gotten any from me yet, you just aren't paying enough attention to what I say.
                            Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


                            • #15
                              There are organic farmers and vineyards in my area they love horse poo. When I first moved to my area after about 6 months my pile was getting a wee bit large. I placed a free ad in the local paper - I had so many calls but one guy had just bought 20 acres for a vineyard and brought his dump truck and tractor and took it all before anyone else could get here. After that when the pile gets big enough I have a waiting list for my free poo. I do have a compost pile for my own use. I have 8 horses so my pile can get big in a short time. Place an ad and they will come....


                              • #16
                                I have 3 horses at home. I have them constantly on 1.5 acres and then the other 1.5 acres they go out on for a few hours on the weekend.

                                For the poop I clean out of the stalls, I muck into a muck bucket with a trash bag in it. Make sure its not too heavy so the bag doesnt rip, and once a week put them at the road and the yard trash takes them away. As long as they arent over 35lbs.

                                I just started cleaning the paddocks as now that I do have 3 horses instead of 2, the poop piles up even quicker. Right now, I have an ad on craigslist for free manure. Now I used to have a 2 cubic yard dumpster that was $100/mo that we would muck into but when I discovered that the yard trash would take it, I canceled the dumpster.

                                I havent decided what I am going to do with the poop from the fields yet. A friend of mine who has 5 acres with 4 horses and a mini cleans her stalls and fields and has a wooded brush area along one fence line where she dumps it.

                                I would see if there is a garden club or something on craigslist that would want free manure.

                                BTW, since my hubby was the one who started the cleaning of the field for me (getting it caught up to where I could maintain it daily), he researched and discovered that each horse produces an average of 50lbs a day of manure. Times that by 3, and thats 150lbs a day for me. He was trying to figure out how to potty train them. LOL

                                Member of the ILMD[FN]HP Clique, The Florida Clique, OMGiH I loff my mares, and the Bareback Riders clique!


                                • #17
                                  We have 2 horses on 5 acres. We put the poo into a long pile. Once a year in the fall, we take the oldest part of the pile (last year's poo) and put it on the garden.

                                  Our garden grows awesomely!


                                  • Original Poster

                                    hmm... it seems like this would be a lot easier if I had a garden!

                                    I personally have no use for the poo nor do I have a tractor to move it around if I did have somewhere to put it!
                                    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn


                                    • #19
                                      Let me know if your having trouble with the composting thing. The piles that accumulate where I keep my horse go to some guy that uses it for something (so specific, I know!).

                                      The guy is a friend of the owners of the place where I keep my horses. If I remember correctly, the guy comes periodically to pick up the manure. Not on a regular basis, but he does it for free. I am not up on all the details, but if you want, I can talk to the barn owners, figure out that deal and figure out if it is something that is feasible for your guys.

                                      He generally doesn't come around when its really mucky, but he did pick up right before the storm (and my mare and her fieldmate replaced that pile quickly during the storm and following week....)


                                      • #20
                                        2 horses, my lot is 4.5 acres but currently only about 1.5-2 acres are cleared for the horses.
                                        I have zero issues with manure build up. On small acreage the key is to pick your paddocks/turnouts, run in and stalls daily. Sounds like a pita, but if done daily it's no time at all really. Takes me all of 10 minutes per day to remove manure from all turnout areas and then add in whatever time it takes for the stalls.
                                        Everything gets dumped in the manure pile daily. Manure pile gets turned once per week in winter (until it freezes solid) and twice a week in summer. In warm months I water it heavy once per week too. The manure pile is in the shade, right in the woods so I don't need a roof for it, but I do have sides on it. Built it downhill attached to a small depression in the ground, kind of like a bank barn, so I don't have to climb a pile with the wheelbarrow.
                                        And that's how I compost it. There are better ways to compst more thoroughly, but this works for me. In almost 6 years my manure pile hasn't grown. I can keep it a static size.
                                        And when it's composted and if it does grow and you want to knock it down in size some...put a sign out on the road and one in your local paper for free fully composted manure. Anyone with a garden in your area will come take as much as they can get in spring and fall. So will some nurseries. I plan on trying raised bed gardens with mine this spring...I tried the ground level gardening but failed in an epic way. (I stink at gardening)
                                        But do make sure to remove manure often from the turnouts and sheds...manure build up is tough to deal with if you let it get away from you. And in warm months leaving it around on small lots means 5x momre flies and you might as well throw dewormer in the garbage for all the good it does a horse that eats off manure-laden ground.
                                        You jump in the saddle,
                                        Hold onto the bridle!
                                        Jump in the line!