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help! Need QUICK horse manure composting (for burial) advice

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  • help! Need QUICK horse manure composting (for burial) advice

    For various reasons, the two most prominent of which are I live on top of a granite mountain (deepest topsoil most anywhere on the farm is 23.5" ) and my knee and back aren't in any shape to be digging... I need compost advice.

    I lost my "special" dog this morning. He had something similar to CF and was never 'right' from the beginning. One vet told me to put him down at 9 weeks, but he was never in pain, so I couldn't see killing him... At any rate, he was five this year, and if you'd have told me he'd have made it through is first summer, not to mention five very healthy, happy years, I'd have lost the farm on that bet. He was always happy. Not always continent, but there was never a bad day in Augustine Donegan's world. He was a wonderful, daily reminder of that. He died quite suddenly, of what appeared to be CHF. I held him and he passed quite peacefully and amazingly quickly this morning.

    I've got NO IDEA what I'm doing though. I started with a small hollow, put him there. (I did leave him in his blanket, I had to. ) He probably doesn't weigh more than 60lbs? 70 tops. I had about 2 bales worth of very moldy old mulch hay and layered that... five or six wheelbarrows of aged manure--some of it quite loamy. It's the stuff we age to put on the gardens this time of year. Quite rich, but I'm not sure how 'active?' And I put in the two muck bucket tubfulls of last years tomato plants. Lots of roots and plant matter in those, in addition to mulch/manure.

    I had to stop there for today, to go to work. I need to know what else I need to do. Lime? Water?

    I've got more fresh and semi-aged horse manure from the run-in shed and the 'stallion mountains'... but I don't have a manure pile. I spread the stall stuff. I use shredded paper for bedding. I don't know how that breaks down either. I have probably 2 or 3 wheelbarrows of wet-but-clean shred paper (bags ripped during the hurricane) should I add those or not?

    And a very, very stupid question which shows my ignorance, but I just don't know... I have two very old horse blankets which once they stopped being horse blankets, covered round bales for two winters. They sat on the ground all summer awaiting me getting around to fall cleanup. I had a thought to lay these out on top of things to help keep heat in... but then wondered if they would harm more than help? I have some holey tarps too? I just don't know ANYTHING about this.

    Help. I'm ok with it, he's gone... I'm not overly sentimental about this part. (I am glad though, I could put him with those others who helped build and share the farm... ) I'm more concerned about critters--coyotes, bear... fishers... Obviously I've got to do what I need to do quickly. I don't think anything will bother him tonight. Enough moldy hay to cover any sort of scent...

    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)

  • #2
    No advice, but many hugs for you... I remember your special doggie. You gave him a happy life; I'm sorry that his time was so short. {{{pintopiaffe}}}
    Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
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    • Original Poster

      Thank you L... It was just so sudden. He was fine last night, and gone so quickly this morning. I always knew he would have a shorter life. Five years was a damn good run. He was so goofy, and happy... no muscle tone so he was like gumby and would flex his neck amost all the way around... His coat never came in like an adult dogs, even though he shed normally... it was always the fluffy, soft puppy coat.

      I didn't think it would be this hard. He was the one that if he was sleeping soundly in a strange position, you always held your breath until you saw him move... I knew it would be brief, and it was far longer than I ever expected, but not long enough.

      A friend took this wonderful portrait of him a couple winters ago...
      InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

      Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


      • #4
        RIP, doggie.

        Composting large animal carcasses:


        Here's an article on it:


        Do any of your state universities have an agricultural department? You might ask someone there. It doesn't sound to me like they use lime or anything extra. My concern would be how accessible the corpse would be to any animals that might drag it out. Smaller animals will be quicker to decompose due to less body mass.

        BTW, they're offering a free seminar in Oklahoma for burial composting:

        Delicious strawberry flavored death!


        • Original Poster

          Thank you, I knew I'd seen a link before. It appears the mulch hay was the right thing to do.

          The PDF says 12" of matter on all sides is plenty. (?) That should be fine. I will bring another halfdozen wheelbarrows of manure out there tomorrow then. I *am* worried about critters, but as I understand it, the odor is different composting than from just decomposing without the organic process. I might scatter some mothballs around the perimeter just to deter...

          My heart hurts.
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


          • #6
            What a gorgeous guy ...

            I have nothing to add to the mulching dilema but big {{{HUGS}}} to you during this time ...

            True Colours Farm on Facebook


            • #7
              I'm so sorry. {{{Hugs}}} He was a lovely looking boy.
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              • #8
                Haven't checked the links, but remember from my animal science class in college that large livestock can be composted quickly by covering in lime and then covering very deeply with sawdust. (5-6' over a full size cow) I would imagine a companion animal would require much less, but I always err on the side of caution and cover deeply too.

                Maybe once the composting is done in the spring you could plan a tree, bush, or other plant there in pup's honor. Sort of the ashes to ashes thing? Hugs. I hate losing 4 legged family members.
                "You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
                you have a right to be here." ~ Desiderata by Max Ehrmann


                • #9
                  No suggestions, but sorry about the dog.


                  • #10
                    just keep adding some material every few days for a bit - as the body starts to decompose you can get 'gapping' - other than that it sounds as though you are doing fine
                    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”


                    • #11
                      My boyfriend's daughter accidentally killed her rabbit (oak leaves) last spring. I put him in a plastic bag, didn't tie it too tightly, just enough to kinda cover the smell. It was a guess. But then I covered him back up with sand. The hole was maybe 18" deep and under some oak and pine trees. I put a bunch of hay from the bottom of his cage on top of the mound, and then put a broken concrete block on top of it (which I painted into a headstone). Nothing came to bother it, surprisingly. Granted this was in the suburbs, but we still have some stray cats and people that let their dogs out off a leash. My dogs never even stopped to sniff.

                      So maybe after you finish your mound, find something large and heavy to put on top of it? Branches from a tree, broken fencing boards (without the nails, obviously), something like that?

                      Sorry for your loss. It is always hard to have to bury a pet.


                      • #12
                        Riding the winds of change

                        Heeling NRG Aussies
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                        • #13
                          No advice, just {{hugs}}.

                          I'm so sorry for your loss. He was so lucky to have you to love him. Godspeed, special doggie...
                          ** I LOVE PUIKA & SHELLA FAN CLUB*** member
                          Originally posted by 2DogsFarm
                          Good job R&G!
                          You may now add Horsesaver Extraordinaire to your resume


                          • Original Poster

                            Thank you very much for the suggestions... still wondering if the old blankets should go on top or not?

                            Thanks SO much for the condolences. It was a bad, bad night at work. We are not allowed to book out sick unless we have a Dr's note... no 'personal emergency' allowances... so I had to go... but I shouldn't have been there. It was awful.

                            I did sneak on here to read the kind words, they helped.

                            It always surprizes me somehow, how much grief physically hurts. I guess if we remembered it, we'd never love again ever. So we blissfully forget.
                            InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

                            Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


                            • #15
                              Ohh, so sorry for the loss - just looked at his picture and it brought tears to my eyes - what a soulful look in his eyes. Dogs are so special. It is amazing how much grief physically hurts - as though your chest aches. But as you said, we do move on, but they are always in our hearts.


                              • #16
                                If the blankets have any nylon to them I wouldn't add them as they wont breakdown unless you plan on only using it to help breakdown tissue as it will help hold heat in. Hot pepper and rocks will help deter the more determined animals. So sorry and hugs.
                                Proud Mama of a BOY rider


                                • #17
                                  Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. Our doggies never can stay long enough

                                  A small consolation that you can bury him on your farm. Bisous is here and I am grateful for that.

                                  The horse we put down last night is waiting to be picked up tho'... he went down in a place that I cannot dig near, and I just cannot transport him around the farm to another place... I feel so bad, even tho' I know it's only his earth suit.
                                  "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                                  • #18

                                    Rocks/boulders = dig as far as you can and use rocks to cover him after putting lime on him. It's a lot of hard work but worth it. If you have a tractor or wheelbarrow. Walk around picking them up and mound over him. Works for horses. I have more rocks than grass blades on my farm!