Articles: Horse Tips
What To Do With All That Animal Manure You're Collecting
(Compiled by Mary Sisson Eibs, Master Composter, V.P. Tucson Organic
Animal manures have been used as a soil amendment for centuries. They are a
wonderful source of nitrogen and microorganisms which are necessary for
the formation of compost. Manures can be composted by themselves, added to
other ingredients in a compost bin, or they can be placed directly around
the base of trees. If you have a pile of manure sitting outside of your
animal storage area I would bet that the older manure at the base of your
pile is probably already partially composted. Those wonderful little red
worms that you see in the manure are called "red wigglers". Their waste or
"castings" are the second most expensive form of organic fertilizer on the
market. Many people are now starting to "vermicompost" using these worms to
break down their food waste and then mixing the castings in with soil when
I have obtained partially dried horse manure from a friend and have placed
it in my compost bin and mixed it with water to make a manure only compost.
It heats up rapidly and creates a wonderfully rich soil amendment. Frequent
turning and the addition of dried straw or hay will eliminate any odors that
may develop. Friends of mine collect this same manure and scatter it around
the base of their fruit trees. If manure is partially dried it will not
burn your trees when placed directly on the ground at their base.
Manure can be made into a nitrogen rich liquid fertilizer by filling a
gunny sack with manure and placing this in a barrel of water for a few days
(Backyard Composting, Harmonious Technologies, p. 57). This "manure tea"
can be poured around the base of your plants or can be sprayed directly on
their leaves to stimulate growth and plant health. This tea can also be
added to a newly made compost pile to accelerate its decomposition.
Here is a recipe you can use if you would like to add your manure to a
Recipe (Backyard Composting, Harmonious Technologies, p. 35)
||parts dry leaves
||parts straw or wood shavings
||part grass clippings
||part fresh garden weeds (avoid seeds)
||part food scraps
Layer these ingredients, water well, and turn the pile occasionally to
create a humus rich compost. More frequent turning will accelerate
decomposition. Your compost will be ready in 1 month if you turn your bin
every week, 2 months if you turn it every other week, 3 - 4 months if you
turn it every month, and 6 - 9 months if you turn it every other month.
TYPES OF MANURE USABLE FOR COMPOSTING
||Horse (Easiest to use.
Contains bedding and breaks up
|Bird Manures (VERY high
in nitrogen. Use sparingly and
always be sure they are well aged)
NOTE: NEVER , EVER COMPOST THE FECES OF MEAT EATING ANIMALS SUCH AS CATS OR
DOGS. THEY CONTAIN DANGEROUS PATHOGENS!!!