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composting manure in bags?

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  • composting manure in bags?

    Does anyone do this...details...Thanks PatO

  • #2
    I stumbled upon this bagging up manure for family and neighbors to add to their composting piles. My "special technique" has even been published in a green horsekeeping book!

    It's really not all that special. As with any composting, the secrets are water and oxygen. I use the super-heavy-duty contractor-grade garbage bags to line a muck bucket, fill to a manageable weight (25-35 lbs for me), punch holes top and bottom, pile behind the barn. If we don't get rain, I water weekly with the hose. I shake each bag vigorously once a week to "turn" the pile.

    It works fast this way. In a month, the manure in the bag turns to lovely, loamy, ready-to-use compost.
    Equinox Equine Massage

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


    • #3
      Would this technique work in any climate? Can you re-use the bags?
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #4
        Interesting. As I already muck into garbage bags in my muck bucket and leave them for the yard trash to pick up at the road each week. We do have a few bags that ripped that couldnt be put out, so they are at the back of the property. I did notice that they got extremely hot quickly.... I bet those are already composted. Thanks for the post!

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


        • #5
          Originally posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
          Can you re-use the bags?
          That would be my biggest concern.... Turning a "green" thing into something that uses more waste than normal, KWIM? I would question how many people would actually reuse their bags. Sounds interesting though.


          • #6
            I personally DO reuse the bags, until they just become absolutely shredded, which does happen eventually. If you take care in punching your holes top and bottom, though, and when emptying into the spreader or wheelbarrow or whatever, they will last for several re-uses.
            Equinox Equine Massage

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


            • #7
              I wonder if you could use empty pellet bags for this? I have lots of them!
              Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


              • #8
                how clever!!! thankyou for posting!!!!!!!!
                Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                • Original Poster


                  I had posted this because a stable owner was willing to take any sawdust bags that were emptied at the top...not split down the side. I asked what she did with them and they use them for manure collection. I seatched on line and saw a few people who offered the composted bags locally and in some cases it was free as long as the bags were returned...exchanging empty bags for bags with compost. She has about 20 stalls. Seemed like a good idea if you have place to put the bags. You can use shavings, pellet, contractors bags. PatO


                  • #10
                    Very interested in this... We just moved to a new property, horses are right next to my backyard, and I have a LOT of landscaping to do this spring!

                    Not to over-complicate things, but coloredhorse, I have a few questions! As far as the holes in the bag - what size holes are we talking? With the holes + the weekly vigorous shaking, I'm picturing me shaking partially composted manure/shavings all over myself. And, I'm assuming your manure is mixed with a small amount of shavings?


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heinz 57 View Post
                      Not to over-complicate things, but coloredhorse, I have a few questions! As far as the holes in the bag - what size holes are we talking? With the holes + the weekly vigorous shaking, I'm picturing me shaking partially composted manure/shavings all over myself. And, I'm assuming your manure is mixed with a small amount of shavings?
                      Heinz, I use a screwdriver or the end of a pair of scissors or a hoofpick to poke 3-4 small holes in the top and bottom of each back after filling. This allows air and water through, but doesn't do too much damage to the integrity of the bag.

                      I don't stuff the bags full; my personal limit is about 35 pounds. At this weight, I can pick the bag up and shake with minimal mess. Some will fall out the bottom holes, and you will get some on you (usually pants legs), but it's not a huge mess.

                      The amount of shavings varies. My horses have free in/out access, so it depends on how much time they've spent in their stalls. I don't find that it makes much of a difference. If I find I am scooping up a lot of shavings, I'll pull out a wheelbarrow and truck a shavings-heavy load to our garden composting piles, in which we like to keep a broad mix of materials cooking.

                      Hope that helps!

                      Re: types of bags: You can use any type you want, but my firefighter cousin cautioned me strongly against any kind of paper bag due to the amount of heat generated by this method. He also warned me not to make my pile of bags too big for the same reason.
                      Equinox Equine Massage

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


                      • #12
                        Cool! I'm going to try this out if my horse ever get to come home!


                        • #13
                          Does anyone use all feed bags? I filled up 4 yesterday and will let you know if it works...
                          "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


                          • #14
                            Wondering about the feed bag option myself???

                            Feed bags are somewhat self ariating, easy to water, and I would think more re-usable.
                            "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18


                            • #15
                              I actually do compost in feedbags - This is very small scale - my horse is boarded at a friend's ban.

                              I use the bags to pick up the arena until they are half to two thirds full, load them in the Mini cooper and take them home, throw a few compost worms in them fold the top and put a brick on top. The product goes in the tomato containers in the spring . I have added kitchen scraps to the bags but reconsidered that after I found a rodent hole. I use bigger plastic tubs for food scraps and use the manure as a base for an active colony of worms. They like banana peels better than manure (who wouldn't), but eventually they digest everything.

                              Its not a high volume strategy. Putting the manure in the bags takes a little more care than using the wheelbarrow. The feed bags do age in sunlight, but they hold up well enough to use them to move the compost to its finished location.

                              The compost worms make that manure much more productive. I don't go to any great lengths to cultivate them. Here in Seattle they seem to survive the few weeks of below-freezing temperatures okay without any special care on my part.

                              One thing about the bags - unless you piled a bunch together, they would not have enough bulk for heat to build up - the resulting compost will provide a healthy hay and grain crop if something does not block the sunlight. Great for reseeding your pastures though.
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