© 2008 Cherry Hill
on even the smallest horse farm requires constant attention. Sanitation
practices must be implemented for the sake of horse health, family health, relations
with neighbors, and to fulfill legal obligations.
A one thousand pound horse produces approximately fifty pounds of manure per day
or about ten tons per year. In addition, from six to ten gallons of urine
is produced which when soaked up by bedding can constitute another fifty pounds
daily. Therefore, four horses in stalls can produce 160,000 pounds of manure
and wet bedding per year. That is a mountain of manure by anyone's standards.
NEGATIVE ASPECTS OF MANURE
The combination of dung and urine is a perfect medium for the proliferation of
bacteria destructive to the hoof. When certain fecal bacteria ferment, their
secretions can chemically dissolve the intertubular "hoof cement".
Dung and urine can break down the integrity of hoof horn. Moist manure mechanically
softens, loosens, and encourages the breakdown of hoof horn structure. In
addition, the pungent vapors of manure and urine can be irritating to the eyes
and lungs of both horse and humans.
Wherever there is manure, there are parasite larvae. The life cycle
of all horse parasites involves leaving the horse host via the manure and then
reinfesting a new host. Parasite larvae can do great internal damage to
a horse as they migrate through the tissues. When a horse eats from manure-contaminated
ground, he ingests parasite eggs. Along with deworming horses every two
months to decrease the number and viability of the parasite eggs that are shed,
the daily removal and proper management of manure is the best way to break the
parasite life cycle.
Stable flies breed in decaying organic matter. Moist manure is perfect breeding
medium for flies. The life cycle of stable flies is 21 to 25 days from egg
to adult. A female often lays twenty batches of eggs during her thirty day
life span. Each batch contains between 40-80 eggs. When the eggs hatch,
the adult flies emerge ready to breed. The number of flies produced by one
pair of adults and their offspring in thirty days is a staggering figure in the
why fly prevention is essential to keeping the fly population under control.
Optimum fly control begins with removing the breeding grounds and controlling
moisture, important aspects of manure management.
ASPECTS OF MANURE
one-fifth of the nutrients which a horse eats are passed out in the manure and
urine. If the manure is properly handled, about half of those excreted nutrients
can be utilized by pasture or crop plants in one growing season with the balance
being used in subsequent years. Horse manure is considered one of the most
valuable of farm manures, being quite high in nitrogen and "hot" or
capable of fermentation. A ton of horse manure will supply the equivalent
of a one-hundred pound sack of 14-5-11 fertilizer as well as providing valuable
organic matter and trace elements. Fertilizer numbers designate the nitrogen-phosphorus-potash
content, in that order.