what to do with horse compost

What to do with your composted horse manure!

Manure happens. Or any iteration of that phrase that suits you.

  • You might know that your darling horse produces about 50 pounds of manure a day. A DAY!! And depending on where your horse lives, you will have a few options to deal with that manure.

  • The “greenest” option is to compost the horse manure, but then you are still challenged with what to do with the compost. Lots of options here on compost use.

perfect horse manure compost

Various stages of composting goodness.

  • You might find a manure recycling program in your area. I’m not kidding about this. Basically, a waste management service that picks up your household trash will also pick up your manure and compost it at their facility. Great for farms with no compost areas.

  • Some communities have compost-sharing programs. Local farmers and residents can share their compost between neighbors. The group in my area will even specify what type of animal created the manure, just in case your flowers prefer pig compost over horse compost. Check around your local feed stores and co-ops for details on a group in your area.

  • You can also place ads to sell/give away your horse compost. There are some gardeners that will never use horse manure because of the myth that dewormers will poison their plants. Not true. Or they think the worm eggs in manure will poison their plants. Also not true. The composting process, when done well, generates so much heat any eggs are destroyed. Five days or so at 140 degrees F will kill all eggs. Dewormers are broken down in a few weeks.

manure spreader putting compost on the fields

No raw manure spreading! Only compost.

  • You can also use the compost to spread on your own pastures in spring and fall (not winter). Spreading raw manure leads to the spread of parasites and can have serious environmental hazards if it runs off into streams. However, composted manure is awesome for fields and pastures!

  • Perhaps your barn needs a veggie garden? Or flower beds around the barn? Just use the compost. Tilling compost into the soil makes for a wonderful spot to grow amazing veggies. Carrots anyone?

  • In the winter, use your compost to pile on top of pipe and water lines that might be shallow enough to freeze. This adds layers of warmth that can prevent frozen and broken pipes. And a super-topic of conversation for your non-horse friends about steamy piles of poop.

compost covering water line into barn

Outside of all the barn in winter, is a stack of compost where the pipes come into the barn. No frozen pipes this winter!

For more on the composting process, read this riveting article about how to start your own horse manure compost piles. Riveting!