page 2 >
© 2008 Cherry Hill
newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and
My goal is to send you interesting stories and
helpful seasonal tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.
belated Happy New Year to all of you!
One thing that
I just love about the New Year is the sorting, cleaning, and organizing in preparation
for the next round of life! Because January weather is some of the windiest
and coldest weather we have, it is a great month to get ready for the spring horse
weather that is just around the corner.
Manure and More Manure
Recent Magazine Articles
a Senior Horse
Hill doesn't do endorsements!
For the last two weeks, it has been a flurry of activity here on our place and
we still have a few more projects to check off our New Year lists. Here's
what we've been up to:
Manure and More Manure
To give you an idea
of how much manure you might expect a group of horses to generate, here's how
it stacks up at our place.
Our annual manure pile usually makes 12 spreader loads. We have an International
540 PTO driven spreader with a 5.5 cu yard (120 bushel) capacity. By the
way, we pull it with a 60 hp Massey Ferguson 1190 diesel 4WD tractor.
We have 7 horses, 2 are usually on pasture and the other 5 are in stall/pen in-and-out
set-ups from 5 PM to 10 AM and turned out on pasture during the day. We
go through minimal bedding because most of the manure is "deposited"
in the pens or on the pastures. Pens are cleaned twice a day and the manure
is composted until it is spread during the winter.
We spread our manure on the pastures that we won't be using until mid to late
summer. January is usually the ideal time for us to spread because it is often
dry so we do minimal damage to the pastures by driving on them. (Pasture
is fragile here and tire tracks can remain as visible scars of poor timing.)
Usually we get our winter snows in February through May here at 7000 feet in the
foothills of the Rockies. As the snow cover melts throughout the spring,
it carries the decomposed manure's nutrients into the soil.
This year, we also had a 5 year old manure pile that we needed to spread.
It was so well composted that it had turned into an odorless, spongy brown humus
of the highest quality. We had 29 loads of that gold! So we had 41 loads
total to spread and we were sure glad we had invested in a loader for our tractor
- that made things go fast and smooth. In the past, we hand-loaded the manure
wagon and that was hard labor.
A healthy horse barn is a well ventilated barn which means that windows and doors
are often open.
This can result in the breezes carrying in fine dirt which settles on almost everything
in the barn. And if you are forced to store hay in your horse barn, you'll
find that no matter how clean the hay is, it does bring in some field dirt and
dust which becomes airborne as you feed. Bedding also varies in how much
particulate matter it puts in the air. The end result of all this means
that you really should perform a thorough annual barn cleaning to remove dust
and dirt in order to protect your horses' respiratory systems.
last week, I did my thorough barn cleaning which included:
down all cobwebs
vacuum all dust and webs from electrical receptacles and
remove all bedding from stalls
sweep stall floors
vacuum stall mats
vacuum stall walls
sweep barn aisles
clean feed room
tidy and vacuum tack room
tidy tool room
wipe down all stall grilles and blanket bars
scrub all hay and grain
feeders and water buckets
lubricate all door latches and hinges
You might laugh at vacuuming a barn, but it is a great way to remove the fine
silt that would just become airborne again if you tried to sweep it up or if a
gust of wind came in a door or window and stirred things up again. I used
an industrial vac that has a cloth bag which you empty and shake out periodically.
Every hour or so, I'd remove the bag and find it was quite heavy. It would
be loaded with fine silt which looked like black talcum powder! Many heavy
duty vacs have a place to attach an exhaust hose, so I just attach a 20 foot hose
(buy a couple of used ones at a second hand store and adapt them) to the exhaust
and poke the end out a door so the exhaust doesn't send more dirt into the air
inside the barn.
Now my barn sparkles! So when my horses are forced to spend time inside
during severe winter storms, they will have healthy air to breathe. A main
contributing factor to heaves is unhealthy air in a closed building.