surburban paddock manure management?
Hi, we have a small paddock on a piece of adjoining property (1/3 acre) that we own in the middle of a neighborhood. We keep a large pony in the paddock and I'm feeling quite conscious of keeping the impact of us having a horse low for our neighbors.
I'm prepared to muck the manure frequently, especially as the weather warms up in spring, but I'm wondering if there are any tips or tricks to managing a suburban horse? is there anything that will help the manure decompose faster or reduce the odor of it? I can't see how mucking will help with odors since I'm just moving the manure from one place to another.
Help me keep my NEIGHbors happy. :lol:
I don't know if you live in the states or not... but you need to see if your state allows horses on 1/3 of an acre. I know some only alow one horse per 1 acre.
Well, a bin type area to keep it, and thick black tarp to help cook it. That will help break it down. Also don't forget to water your manure some. That also helps it compost. Pellet bedding also is great because it breaks down to sawdust so it compost much faster.
You can always bag it for your neighbors too. They might like some free manure. Or cheap manure.
Also, make sure the pony has a hay feeder because if it is windy & the hay blows away... lol
How long has the horse lived there?
ok wait - let me be more specific,
we have the pony on an empty lot of a 1/2 acre with our house and lot being adjoined on an additional 1/3 acre so total our pony is on 3/4 acre. Which we're good with - I've been talking with the city about this.
He's a Christmas boy so we've only had him a few weeks so far. Don't plan on him going anywhere though - we love having him close.
I would recommend have a pit dug to put the manure in (get someone with a backhoe to do this for you.) You can put lime, and then a then layer of dirt over a layer of manure, this will control both the smell and the flies.
In some areas (CA and AZ)you can get commercial dumpster service for manure removal, I think that's a excellent option if it's available in your area. You can go the less formal route and contract with a landscape contractor or anyone that has a front end loader and truck and get the manure hauled away monthly or semi-monthly.
Another option is to compost the manure - you can do this above ground, without the pit, with a tight wire enclosure. Lime helps with the smell, and the heat generated by the compost kills parasites. If you can manage to keep the compost covered, that helps generate sufficient heat for decomp and reduces the smell.
Also investigate feed through fly control, such as Raybon. It's relatively inexpensive, and greatly reduces flies. You'll have an easier time mucking, and the neighbors will thank you.
As gross as it sounds (and you may not be able to do this) but our chickens used to take care of our manure. They would scratch through it and break it up. It disappeared in no time. Sadly, coyotes put an end to letting the chickens clean things up for us, so now we have to muck out the pens and dump the manure on the garden. We do pile it up at various points to let it compost to a certain extent, but it doesn't break down fully before we spread it. Garden doesn't seem to care at all.
However, we live way out in the boonies with no close neighbors, so that probably won't work for you. One poster did mention that your neighbors might be quite happy to take some of the free organic matter off of your hands, if you have any gardeners living nearby. One of the people I work with complains that she can never get enough free organic matter living in the city. I just tell her she can come get all the poo she wants. She only wants it after its composted though...and sterilized...and guaranteed to have a certain chemical makeup. Sorry - I'm not going to that much trouble for poo!
You might want to contact waste management in your area to see if they have a dumpster rental program. You pay by the pound for pick up with most companies.
Otherwise, your best bet would be to look into composting it. There are a lot of online instruction manuals about composting. If you don't use all of it for your own garden, you can usually put it on craigslist.org and give it away or even sell it if you bag it.
There's a great book by Cherry Hill about horse management on small property. You might want to buy it or see if your library has it. You can probaby find it cheaper on Amazon.com, but here's the author's web site. If you buy it elsewhere, make sure it's the second edition.
Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage, 2nd edition by Cherry Hill
Thank you SO much everyone! luvs2ride1979 - never heard of that book and i'm going to go find it now...
One thing to consider, your pony may get lonely. Horses are herd animals. You might consider getting him a friend, like a small donkey or a large goat. Goats are nice as they will eat the weeds in your pasture that your pony will not. Femal goats or "wethers" (nuetered male goats) are generally very friendly if family raised and they don't stink like billy goats. I have 5 Alpine dairy type goats and just adore them. Four are girls and one is a wether. I don't breed them, so I don't have to worry about milking them. Other friendly goat breeds that are large enough to stay in a horse fence include La Manchas, Nubians, Toggenburg, and Saanen. Meat goats tend to not be as friendly, unless they were bottle and family raised. The most common meat breeds are Boers and Kikos.
I had the same problem as you, I have two large horses. My one neighbor has a green thumb and lets me make a pile of manure on his property for his garden in change for riding lessons for his grandchild. Also, we have a garden, and just dump in there. We have a well and dump our manure far from where it can soak into the ground into our water system.
Be careful and make sure that when you dump manure it's not where it can get into anyone's water supply.
Good luck! :)
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