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Do you remove manure from pastures and how often?

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  • Do you remove manure from pastures and how often?

    I never have at our stable, but am considering doing so. Well really I would like to hire someone but not sure if anyone would be up for that.

    So my question is, do you think it is really necessary to remove the manure from pastures and if so how often should it be done? And I am not talking small one horse turnouts but larger fields that can range up to 5 acres.

  • #2
    I pick up the dirt sacrifice paddock every day (unless it's snow covered) but not the two grass pastures. I do harrow them very thoroughly about every month or so; the horses have a couple of preferred "potty" areas where they do 90% of their pooping and although the grass of course is dense and green there they won't touch it. So I make sure to harrow it really well and keep it mowed, and that leaves the other parts of the pasture good for grazing.

    Just too much work to pick up poop on 8 acres of grass--not enough hours in the day.
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    • #3
      Never. They're turned out for a reason- to minimize poop picking. The bush hog does a fine job of spreading piles. Between the pastures and paddocks, I have about 20 acres with horses on it. Ain't no way I'd even consider it!

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      • #4
        Once or twice a day in my 3 dirt t/o paddocks - without fail. Once a day in my 2 smaller grass t/o paddocks as well

        When we start fencing off the larger areas this fall (my hay fields currently) I will probably "spot" pick them out but no way I can drive up and down effectively picking out something that size

        And for me - they are turned out for excercise and fresh air, etc - not necessarily to minimize poop picking

        I HATE HATE HATE seeing foals lying down in piles of manure, covered in flies, or the horses standing in it because there is no other option for them to stand in a clean area. I went through that long enough when I boarded out. I swore I would never allow that once I had my own place

        And at the 50 lbs per mature horse per day they eject out the back end, it adds up REAL quickly if you dont deal with it on a daily basis ...
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        • #5
          I feed twice a day and clean the little corner I have designated for a bathroom and all use when in the pens,
          In the pastures, since we have 30 acres per horse, no, you could not find the piles, would take long time to get around in a grid to pick them all up.

          Here is a pasture vacuum for those with little pastures that need to be picked up:

          http://www.pasturevacuums.com/products.html

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          • #6
            I have free range chickens that pick through and spread out the poop so I rarely feel the need to pick it up. We harrow about once a month.
            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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            • #7
              Yes, weekly. It helps control parasites and I think it just looks horrible to have piles of poop everywhere, not to mention reducing the fly population.
              I used to drag, but with 5 acres divided into 2 pastures and 6 horses, I don't have the room to let the dragged pastures sit for any length of time without grazing. I recently attended a lecture by a vet who discussed parasite control. She said that unless you are letting a dragged pasture sit, you aren't controlling the parasites. She said the best control is to remove the manure.
              Before it got so bloody hot by 7am, I would spend about 10 minutes every morning before work picking up manure..it really isn't that bad since my horses seem to have designated potty areas, but with the heat, I now do it just on the weekends so I am not sweaty before going into work.
              Lori T
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              • #8
                With a dozen horses on 15 acres, never, except around the barn
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
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                • #9
                  I clean the sacrifice paddock a couple times a week (once a week really well, half-assed the other times)...but I don't clean the pastures because the horses use specific areas away from where they are grazing. If I were to harrow that area then their grazing places would be contaminated. Every now and then I will clean if I see a new horse doesn't really know it's supposed to go "there"...and I will move their manure to the right spot and eventually they get the message. Sounds strange but it's worked so far (could be a fluke?). We also rotate pastures so the manure spot gets some drying out time when they are in another field, and the guinea will pillage the manure and the piles disappear.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lori T View Post
                    Yes, weekly. It helps control parasites and I think it just looks horrible to have piles of poop everywhere, not to mention reducing the fly population.
                    I used to drag, but with 5 acres divided into 2 pastures and 6 horses, I don't have the room to let the dragged pastures sit for any length of time without grazing. I recently attended a lecture by a vet who discussed parasite control. She said that unless you are letting a dragged pasture sit, you aren't controlling the parasites. She said the best control is to remove the manure.
                    Before it got so bloody hot by 7am, I would spend about 10 minutes every morning before work picking up manure..it really isn't that bad since my horses seem to have designated potty areas, but with the heat, I now do it just on the weekends so I am not sweaty before going into work.
                    Agree with this, although if you harrow when the outdoor temp is high enough, 90's I think, the eggs are less able to survive.
                    We pick the smallest pasture once a week, the other two not quite so much and the manure tends to get spread by the mower.
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                    • #11
                      We pick our dirt paddock (app 100X200) every day (2 horses). It's just too gross not to.

                      One of the horses (my thbd) goes out on grass from around 8am until 7pm every day and then back into the dry paddock. So really it is like 1 and a half horses pooping in there every day. Guess how many poops on average in 24 hrs?

                      All the others are out in large grassy paddocks either 1 or max 2 per paddock. Those do not get picked.
                      "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."

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                      • #12
                        Yes. Two horses right now, sacrifice paddock and five pastures for rotational grazing. Every day, and the sacrifice at least twice a day.
                        The aids are the legs, the hands, the weight of the rider, the whip, the caress, the voice and the use of extraneous circumstances. ~ General Decarpentry
                        www.reflectionsonriding.com

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                        • #13
                          For larger pastures, I recommend harrowing the field once a week to once a month, the more the better. By spreading out the manure, the sun will kill the nasties in there, it won't kill the grass by smothering (like when you leave the piles laying around) and will fertilize your fields. For a smaller pastures, paddocks, drylots, etc. probably pick it at least weekly.

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                          • #14
                            My 6 acre field with 2 mares and 2 foals gets the high traffic areas done once a week. This is in the vicinity of where they eat as they tend to stand around and wait at feed time. I have 3 smaller paddocks done daily. I don't think it gets hot enough to kill parasites effectively here by spreading them out. The three smaller paddocks take 20 mins to do per day so it's no biggie. Looks better, is better for the horses, and better for the paddocks.

                            Terri
                            COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                            "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

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                            • #15
                              We have about 3.5 acres of turnout with 2 horses. One horse is out 24/7, the other comes in at 8AM and goes out around 6PM. We have 5 turnout fields, but only open a few at a time for the horses to graze. We pick our fields daily. I can't imagine what our property would be like if we didn't.... The only time we don't pick up poop daily is in the winter if there's snow on the ground. That makes things really difficult.

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                              • #16
                                I try to daily - I have two horses on a 4-acre grass field. Unfortunately the barn owners are NOT good about mowing it so it is hard to get to certain places but I do pick the areas that my two regularly graze in. Doesn't take long at all as long as I maintain it .
                                "When a horse greets you with a nicker & regards you with a large & liquid eye, the question of where you want to be & what you want to do has been answered." CANTER New England

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                                • #17
                                  I harrow and then rest the pasture in rotation.
                                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                                  • #18
                                    We have dung beetles, that make short shrift of any pile laying around very long.

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                                    • #19
                                      I don't pick the pastures very often at all. I used to, but it just got to be too much work, with 4 oddly-shaped acres and 4 horses.

                                      I have started feeding whole oats with my alfalfa cubes, and the birds seem to be flattening the piles for me. With the heat here, the worm eggs aren't going to last long once the piles have been broken up and spread a bit.

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                                      • #20
                                        I'm fanatical about harrowing. At least once to twice a week I drag all the paddocks and break up the piles.
                                        Watch the weather and get it done right before it rains.
                                        Birds help once it's spread out.

                                        I do pick out run-in sheds daily.
                                        You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts!

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