Jump to content
Jcnielsen4

Best use for 250 lbs of horse manure a day

Recommended Posts

Hey everybody,

 

We recently bought a horse boarding business. The previous owners solution for the manure was to keep piling it up. We now have a pile the size of a house. We will deal with that.

What i need is something to do with the new manure collected each day. We currently have 20 horses on the property with space for about 20 more. 

 

Ideas?

 

Jens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jens,

 

A business with a "back end" if ever I saw one.

 

Horses (particularly working ones) are fed a rich diet, however, they have particularly inefficient digestive systems.  Much of what goes in one end exits the horse incompletely digested.

 

Just be aware of one thing when using horse manure.......it contains various worming pharmaceuticals most of which have an active life of about 30 days - so it's important to stockpile it for long enough to the drugs to lose their strength....and the ability to kill off helpful organisms including works.

 

With 250 lbs of horse manure per day, you're in the worm business if you choose to be.  You could use large composting bins but I'd be more inclined to consider wind rowing the manure......it will make handling that quantity of manure much easier......particularly if you are mechanising the manure collection.   You can cover the wind row with burlap or old canvas and ensure adequate moisture content with a dripper line.

 

As I said earlier, this is an opportunity that is charged with back ends.......fishing worm (night crawlers), composting worms, vermicompost, brewed worm tea, BSF larvae, etc,

 

As Velacreations has already pointed out, you can feed pigs and poultry off the undigested grain in the manure......and then do all of the other things, too.

 

It sounds like a great opportunity.  One caution, however..........ensure that you keep all of the agistment customers on strict payment terms.  Many people that I've dealt with around horses (agistment farms, feed stores, etc) complain about difficulty getting horse owners to part with their money.

 

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That amount of material could mount up quickly, and you want to cycle it through something ASAP to preserve nutrients. I imagine you could maintain 100 laying hens or more if you mix with some wood chips.  And then just sell it as compost, or run through worms as well.  You have a lot of potential product in that amount of energy.  You just need to select a chain of animals to help transform it for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could look into a bio-char machine. Converts the manure into "sweet", plant available carbon that contains all sorts of nutrients. I don't know if the price tag would be cost inhibitive to buy one for an operation only accuring 250 lbs of manure a day, but you could also sell it at a nice price to conventional broad acre soil farmers and ranchers. Good carbon tends to be what modern agriculture fields lack, even including the no-till fields, which is why I use so much composted manures. Don't know if there is a small economy size bio-char converters available. Might be worth something looking into.

 

 

Yeah, and time is money when dealing with manures if wanting to keep the nutrients. The downside of windrow manure composting is quite a bit of the ammonia released from the urea volatizes (releases into the atmosphere) on hot, dry days.

Edited by crsublette (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the suggestions!

 

Gary,

You are absolutely right that horse people do not part with their money easily. In my 6 months on the farm so far i have had to make quite a few "reminder" calls for board money.  So am i correct in my understanding that i would have to stockpile for 30 days before adding the worms or the chickens or the hens?

 

Vela,

Why would i have to add the wood chips? Could i just wind row then let the chickens loose then add worms? How would i do hogs and chickens? 

 

I have read the thread and seen the clip from Geoff Lawton about the fellow in Maine that runs chickens on his compost to help finish it so i knew there was a lot of potential there i just have to plan out my strategy for implementation.

 

crsublette,

bio-char is an interesting idea but surely out of my price range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You add the wood chips to balance out the nitrogen and save it from just leaching away or evaporating to the atmosphere.  It also bulks things up and helps with water retention and aeration.  I'm glad you saw Lawton's videos about the chicken composter, that's similar to what I am suggesting you do.

You don't need to stockpile for 30 days before adding the chickens.  As soon as the manure comes out of the animal, it starts breaking down.  To preserve the nutrients, you want to get the carbon (wood chips) and animals working it ASAP.

 

Yes, you could just do windrows, and let chickens in there.  Same with pigs, make big piles, and let the pigs stir it and aerate it for you.  You can have chickens and pigs in the same area.

 

The way I do this is to have a pen that I fill for a week or so, and it is fenced off from the animals.  When the pile in this pen is big enough, I let them in, and then close off a previous pen they had been working that is all spread out and finished.  If you were selling compost, at this point, you gather up the ready compost to send it out to be sold, and then that pen is ready to start filling again.  So, it's a rotation system with a couple of areas where you rotate animals.

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a thought....

    + Run chickens on the "fresher" manure.

     +After that move the manure into a bio-digester and create bio-gas..

                 With the bio-gas you can run lights, heat stoves

                 Here is just one of many sources:http://www.wcasfmra.org/biogas_docs/Horizonal%20Biogas%20Digester.pdf

    + The sludge left over from the bio-digesting process needs to be "discarded - worms next

    + Removed processed bio-sludge and feed it to worms and Black soldier fly larva

 

     The worms will create a great worm castings product for you - income stream

      The worms -whatever type/market emphasis you choose - will provide:

                   - a source of feed for your chickens (and even for pigs and fish)

                               - this can be a $$ saver - less feed to buy for your critters

                   - income as fish bait, or composting worms which ever you choose

      BSFL - are a great food source for farm fowl, fish and even pigs, reptiles

                   - this can be a $$ save money you would otherwise spend buying feed

                   - can provide an income stream 

 

    A large hot composting pile can be used as a "heater " for coils of PVC water pipe buried within it and can provide radiant heat for a house/barn/fish tank/greenhouse. (look up Jean Paine on the internet for examples)

 

   

    Another option - if you hot compost the horse manure (to kill seeds that are not digested)- you can also sell the manure to eager gardeners.

 

   You have a gold mine on your hands!  Best of luck to you!

 

- Converse

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out o2compost.com. They're in the aerated static pile composted business - and aerated static pile is a match made in heaven for horse dung.

 

I'm putting together what they call a "microbin" for my farm. 4x4x4 plywood box - easy to built more as the need arises.

Edited by smatthew (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm DIYing the bin. They sell a kit (you can even buy it on amazon) for 699 which includes the hardware pieces you need (4" pipe, T fitting, two 9's, two end caps, slide valve, blower, recycling timer, and temp probe) plus building plans for 6 different ways to build it, plus support from the company. The hardware is worth $250ish. On the upside - they do run 20% off specials, and if you decide to build one of their larger systems they'll apply whatever you paid for the micro-bin to it. 

 

Attached is a sketch-up render of what i'm planning to build. It doesn't really show, but the front can be removed to make loading/unloading easier. 48x48x48 cube. Might change it to 40x48 and build it on a pallet base. Still doing the math to figure out if I can use a DC blower and have this puppy run on solar without needing an inverter.

post-3315-0-74103000-1415839500_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can get a marine blower for that.  I got one this one for a solar air heater.  It puts out a lot of heat, and fits in 3" pvc.  You can get bigger as well.  If you don't have to run it all the time, this will run fine on a small 12v panel and battery.  If you run all the time, and don't need as much air volume, you can use 12V computer fans.  I have several 4", and they move a lot of air, too.

What does the inside of that unit look like?

Chickens will aerate/compost a pile that size in a short time, a few days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, i've looked at marine blowers. The static pressure is fairly low, especially compared to the blower included in the kits. Usual run time is 30 seconds every half hour. Here's a pic of the inside of the unit.  There are holes every 6 inches in the distribution tube.

post-3315-0-60131600-1415847753_thumb.jp

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vela,

Will pigs survive on just horse manure? How would i do pigs and chickens? Pigs first then chickens or chickens first then pigs. Maybe it would be easier to just use one species then aerate static pile to finish compost. Do you have pictures of your pig pens? I will check your blog.

 

Jens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will pigs survive on just horse manure?

 

They probably could, but you'd want to give them some more protein and energy that what the manure has. I imagine a bit of grain and some whey would do it.

 

How would i do pigs and chickens? Pigs first then chickens or chickens first then pigs.

 

 

I do pigs first, then chickens.  And most of the time, it is pigs and chickens at the same time.  I use chickens at the end to level off the pile and spread it around.

 

Maybe it would be easier to just use one species then aerate static pile to finish compost. Do you have pictures of your pig pens? I will check your blog.

 

If you do just one species, do chickens.  They are a lot easier to handle for beginners.  Look online for Geoff Lawton's videos about feeding chickens without grains.

 

My pens are different, because I am gradually terracing a hillside.  So, my fences run along the contour, perfectly level.  They are about 10-15 ft wide.  I do a rock wall on the downhill side of the pen to retain the terrace. The pigs go in first with a lot of rough compost and manure.  I add old logs and lots of wood against the rock wall to form a water battery. They mainly get the big stuff uprooted and start the leveling process.  Then, once things are fairly leveled, I move the pigs down the hill to start the next terraces. 

 

The chickens are then allowed into the first terrace area.  I have wire cylinders, about 3ft wide and 3 ft tall.  It's stucco lathing, so very fine, and doesn't let a lot of stuff out.  I fill one of these each week with manure, wood chips, straw, bedding, whatever we have.  When I fill it up, I wet it down real good.  The next week, I start a new one.  After I have about 3 of these filled, and about 3 weeks has passed, I open the first cylinder.  During this whole time, the chickens jump up into the cylinders and pick through it, stir it up, and generally help it compost.  When I open a cylinder for them, it's just a big pile, and then they really go after it.  In a few days, it has been completely spread out and leveled across the terrace.

Here's more about the pigs, we call it the pig dozer: http://velacreations.com/blog/393-pig-dozer.html

 

This is a rough description and photos of the terraces, mostly after the pig dozer: http://velacreations.com/food/plants/perennials/430-forest-garden-howto.html

Edited by velacreations (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Vela,

 

Love the creative use of animal labor, working with nature in a win-win situation. I only have chickens, but my girls sure do earn their keep between the manure, composting and garden prep efforts - not to mention eggs!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's an article about feeding cow manure to pigs, which would be similar to feeding chickens: http://permaculturenews.org/2014/08/22/can-cow-produce-100-pounds-pig-feed-day-poland/

 

They claim a cow can produce 100 lbs of pig feed a day.  One suggestion for a feed composition was 40% manure, 40% molasses and 20% commercial ration.  I think you could substitute some of the molasses and commercial ration for grains (preferably fermented) with a bit of whey and maybe a mineral supplement.

For chickens, you could get by with a bit of grain and be done with it.  I like to stack fresh manure with carbon matter (wood chips, straw, bedding, sawdust, etc) for a bit before I let the chickens have it.  This seems to attract and collect more insects, so when the chickens get it, it's loaded with good stuff.
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old mound we spread before we did the earth works for putting in a new almond orchard. It is all just part of the soil now. Then we began to build a mound just like the old owners. I have not had the time or the money to do anything different. So. . .the mound grows. I have a day job so the horse stables is a side job. We have had to concentrate on getting the stables fixed back up. Stabling horses is a very thin margin business so i believe doing something with the manure could really help the farm turn a profit. I will update when i get around to trying something. 

 

Jens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...