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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m looking at setting up my dry lot for our wet winters, and really the only decent spot is about 50 feet from my wellhead. I plan on picking manure in there every day, but I’m worried about urine soaking in. I was thinking about making a covered shed that abuts to the dry lot where I would feed them. I was thinking I would cover the ground there in mulch, as we should have plenty of it once I get the wood chipper. I expect the horses would mostly prefer to pee in there since the mulch would make for softer ground. Will the mulch absorb a lot of the urine? If so, would I need to clean it out every day, or every week, or could I just keep adding on to it and then clean it all out at the end of the winter? My goals with the urine management are (1) protecting the well water and (2) keeping the horses from standing in puddles of pee.

Also, if I wanted to do this, am I better trying to use old, dried out wood, which would theoretically be more absorbant?
 

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If you don't want them to stand in their pee, you probably want something that drains rather than absorbs. I'd close off the front with a six-inch beam and fill it with sand or arena footing, literally creating a litter box. The pee will drip down through six inches of sand to the top soil where the microbes can do their thing, whilst the horses stand on relatively clean footing. I don't know how many horses you have, but I doubt you need to be concerned about ground water pollution.
 

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In the PacNW the best results I've seen for dry lots is when people put down geotextile and then pea gravel or sand over the top. I don't care as much for mulch. They put down some in an outdoor arena and on some paths at our barn. The wood chips are quite slippery when wet and small chunks tend to get wedged in the horses' frog crevices. Because of the uneven size of the pieces, it also means some sink down into the soil and others don't, which makes for a lumpy surface. I also find it difficult to pick manure out of. The wood pieces will jam up in the tines of the manure fork or break them off if you try to rake with it. You really need a metal rake to use separately to smooth the surface.

For your shed, it can be very helpful to put gutters on and have them empty into barrels to keep from having puddles right under the roof edges.
 

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I used bark peelings in the stables one year and loved it. I was surprised at hoe muck urine it absorbed and that, when cleared out it never smelled at all.

I don't know about mulch but would think it muck the same.
 

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We used fresh ground mulch at a barn I worked out.
When it was first put down we thought is was wonderful...
Then reality set in...
Horses wearing shoes would get a piece wedged between shoe and hoof...needing a pair of pliers to yank loose hopefully not upsetting the balance/tightness of the shoe.
Pieces got caught in shoes or boots like rubber muckers piercing holes and now you had wet/dirty feet. :frown_color:
When it rained, they hid depressions and often you got a wet foot, really wet since you didn't see the puddle underneath.
They decomposed, rotted and stunk.
If a horse defecated on it it was miserable picking up all of it for cleanliness standards.
It became "dusty" for lack of a better word describing what it was like to walk on..
It was slick when wet and when snow got on it slick is a understatement...wet ice.
Personally, remember this was fresh ground...I would not use mulch.
It is also usually from trees taken down that were removed as diseased, possibly full of carpenter ants, termites and that is not something I would invite near any of my buildings.
Far rather to do sand which is a natural filter and easily poop removed from.
However, consider carefully if you want to invite the horses to urinate in one location...stench no thanks and don't care what you use multiple horses urinating, concentrating that in one location/spot is going to invite stench.
As for your well...ground is one of the best filters if you just treat it right.
I have a well for my house water...my water table is normally 4' below grade...that is pretty darn good filtration and remember your well does not take from aquifer top but from well bottom...how deep is known only to you.
My well was pounded 80 - 100 feet but the pump/motor is at the end of 2 lengths of well pipe = 40'...so my water is pulled at 40' below the ground regardless.
I don't know of any well that works by siphoning surface water so think you are "safe" that your water will be ground filtered...do a water test though for impurities and chemical seepage.
I would pass on any mulch, for all the reasons above and a fire hazard is dry tinder..:shock:

:runninghorse2:...
jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Alright, it looks like the mulch idea is a loser! Thanks everyone for setting me straight.

The well is over 100 feet below ground. I guess I'll use the sand / geotextile and hope for the best. Worst case scenario, we have city water in the street...

Thanks for setting me straight everyone!
 
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Sand is the best. It drains well and stays relatively dry. Even for stalls, a good sand base is nice provided you don't feed grain over it. It's never a good idea to feed grain in stalls anyway because it attracts mice.
 
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