profit-out-of-disposed-beddingCategoriesDairy Farm Horse Bedding Lifestyle Manure Management

How to make profit out of disposed Bedding

An important role in making horse ownership safer for the environment and more cost effective for you is played by Manure and Bedding, both have useful “after life”. Some of the precious resources are our healthy soil and clean water which are fragile and as livestock owners we must take care of them. We can turn a waste into a resource and as there are many ways to reuse livestock manure and stall bedding.

Composted Bedding for Stalls:

Composted bedding can be reused in your horse stalls as an effective and economical alternative to wood shavings or pellets. From the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Program, the Snohomish Conservation District received funding to test composted bedding for horses and worked with several commercial equine facilities in Snohomish County.

We found that stable bedding with wood shavings can recover up to 80 percent of stall waste through composting and re-use, while most stable bedding with wood pellets recover up to 50 percent. For reusing bedding, the compost can recover 100% of stall waste in vessel systems, which represents a significance in reducing the cost of disposal and new bedding.

As compared to shavings or pellets, composted bedding is darker in colour and is slightly moist. It is a very good absorbent and is light and fluffy with a pleasant earthy smell. Compost significantly reduces dust and allergens in the stall as compared to wood shavings or pellets and it is non-acidic. Horses with skin and respiratory allergies also respond well to the composted bedding, and have shown reduced symptoms.

Managing Used Horse Bedding Material

On a daily basis, all stalls and paddocks need to be cleaned. After removing manure and urine-soaked bedding, wet areas should be cleaned with lime or another sanitizing, odor-eliminating treatment and to ensure safe, clean, dry and odor-free conditions, fresh bedding should be added. You don’t want to reduce stall bedding at the expense of your horse’s health, but you should consider the horse’s needs.

By nature, horses are used to sleeping on hard surfaces like the ground. To sleep comfortably, horses don’t need a huge cushion of shavings or straw. For many horse owners, rubber stall mats work very well. Rubber stall mats are healthy for hooves and can be cleaned easily. A stall mat gives a firm, level surface which allows you to scoop up manure and wet bedding easily. You can minimize bedding use and the amount of stall waste that has to be disposed of by using disposable bedding such as shavings or straw only on the places where the horse urinates frequently. Composting is the most productive and environmentally sound way to dispose of used bedding.

Through composting, the total mass of manure and bedding can be reduced by about one-quarter to one-half i.e., six tons of manure can be converted to 1.5 to 3 tons of finished compost which can be used in greenhouses, gardens, and nearly anywhere fertilizer would be used. Provide temporary storage for the waste in large, covered receptacles and arrange to have it hauled off on a regular basis or choose compost used bedding.

Uses of disposed bedding

1. Improve soil health:

To improve the health of your soil and pasture you can use your compost manure with disposed bedding material. Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, etc., which are consumed by animals, end up in their manure. For as long as people have been farming, livestock manure of all types has been used to build soil and fertilize crops. The disposed bedding makes it at its best.  For the growth of plants, these nutrients are essential, if they end up in our streams, lakes or well water, they can cause serious problems for all of us. The best way to improve long-term soil health, and invest is by adding organic materials like compost and manure to your soil. Organic matter provides food for soil microbes and improves soil structure and workability. 

2. Best from waste:

Gardeners and landscapers’ value composted horse manure as a high-quality soil amendment. The manure must be well composted and weed seedless and contain minimal bedding material. Avoid too much bedding mixed with manure. It makes compost more mulch than soil builder. This can be unappealing for gardeners.

Proper manure management and disposal bedding material serves an important role in keeping the farm functioning at its best. It also helps to keep horses healthy, clean the surrounding area and a thriving farm. We shall be well on our way to sustainable horse keeping when we can regard manure as a valuable resource rather than a waste.

3. Environmental Benefits:

Properly managed manure can be a valuable resource on a farm. Manure helps to improve soil quality and provide nutrients to crops and can be used as fertilizer for crops. Manure contains organic matters. It improves water holding capacity of soil. The purpose of manure management is to keep a monitor on horse manure to make sure it doesn’t have any negative effects on the environment. 

CategoriesCoco Coir Bedding Horse Bedding Manure Management Tips & Tricks

Horse Manure Management Guidelines

In this article, we are discussing the better management of manure and reducing the risk of pollution caused by manure, bedding and feed wastes. 

Composting is one such great method that produces a stable-sustainable-storable product that inhibits pathogens growth, and conserves nutrient quality in it. 

The Management of composting horse manure includes Composting Mix, Maintaining, Monitoring and Testing of Manure and Compost, Environmental Issues, Compost Use and Costs. 

Composting Mix

The very first recommendation is to get the right composition for composting mix. The mix needs to comprise an optimal level of 3 main factors that depict the worth of the end product.   

The amount of manure, feedstock and bedding in the compost pile are thoroughly mixed. The Moisture, Air flow and C:N ratio plays a critical role in mixing compilation. 


The composting can be done, both in Open pile and Closed shed as per the care taker’s wish. Building a shed for composting makes it easy for handling horse manure, pleasant surroundings and there will be less chance of nutrient runoff and leaching issues. 

It is preferred to make a Buffered zone for compost maintenance, isolated from residential and water resources. It helps prevent water pollution due to leachate, runoff and air pollution from foul odor. 

The buffer zone is subject to compliance with local ordinances and is recommended to be 150 feet from living quarters and the bottom elevation should be above water level or installed on concrete slabs. 

Open Pile– Like a free-stacking of hay pile, the manure pile can be raised till the height of 4-6’ tall. A regular mixing is required to ensure pathogen reduction, that a good stacking with minimal overturning will make good compact. A carefully considered piling is required to prevent leaching and runoff. 

Closed Shed– A shed composting consists of several side-bins, when the first bin is filled, then the content can be turned into the next bin. The pile height should not exceed 6 feet to ensure that compost is aerated. Bins are covered with roof to reduce possible runoff and no leachate is generated under the roof. 

Proper over-turning of compost is essential. 

The important aspect for a composting site is to allow access all-year round and well drained.

CategoriesCoco Coir Bedding Dairy Farm Horse Bedding Lifestyle Tips & Tricks

3 Factors of Horse Manure Management

Compost is basically a biological process that converts organic matter into fine particle humus. It involves a series of decomposition of microorganisms, digesting of organic matters. In this case, the organic matter is Horse Manure, Feeds and Beddings.  

Composting helps minimize the waste-maximise microbial activity, thus balancing the farm ecosystem, tending hygiene and ensuring horses’ health. 

On an average, every horse produces 30 lbs of feces and 2.5 gal. of urine along with spoiled bedding of about 10-12 lb is disposed every day. All up together, this accounts almost 50-65 lbs/day. 

The crisis of waste management starts with 5 important reasons that depicts the need for proper management of manure, popularly known as Horse Manure Management.

The main aim of Horse Manure Management is to keep each and every aspect of manure in check.

Originally, Horse Manure varies from horse to horse, feeds provided and type of bedding used, and is best if sorted early when manure produced is measured on weekly routine.  

These manures are the valuable and un-utilised resource that mobilise large amount of soil amendment and plant nourishing fertilizers.

Composting is one such method deployed in Horse Manure Management, and is feasible-affordable for every barn/farm owner. 

Composting enriches gardens, pastures by improving soil texture, aeration and water retention. Also, compost mix helps increase soil fertility, control erosion and balance pH. 

However, key features need to be ensured for proper composting and a good final product.


Temperature is one of the most important indicator of how well your composting is taking place. The temperature is a fluctual result of airflow in and out of the manure pile. If the airflow is at optimal level, higher the temperature, greater the heat generated.

Try flipping your pile upside down, to distribute heat evenly throughout the massive pile. An even distribution of hot air will help suppress pathogens, fly larvae and weed seed/egg and accelerate the speed of decomposition. 

Although, a vigilant temperature needs to be maintained in order to carry out decomposition steady and swift. 

More generally, a lower temperature range of 50-110oF is required at initial stages of decomposition, later 110-160oF to break down organic matter, kill weeds, pathogens and increase microbial activity as they are hyper-thermal activists. Over a period of weeks or month, the temperature gradually drops to ambient temperature for the decomposition to settle down.

Either way, overheating immobilises many beneficial organisms or falling behind will hinder decomposition rate. 

Lower the surrounding temperature; lower will be the composting rate. At the times of Winter, it takes 3-6 month for a normal compost to happen while it only takes 1-2 months for a pile to turn compost during Summer. 

Note: Always keep piles upto 3-4 feets high and square base of 5-7 feets for building up a necessary temperature pressure within it. Get a Compost thermometer at local stores to get exact compost temperature every few days. 

Moisture content

Moisture Management is necessarily a priority task while composting. An apt moisture will bring a perfect compost mix else it leads to odor, slow decomposition, and hard to achieve high temperature. 

Either, the lack of moisture will cause composting organisms to dry out and prevent pile heat up. 

There are severe ways to make sure that your pile is having sufficient moisture or not. 

One, you can manually check by squeezing the pile of innermost layers and see through it. If it is damp enough to hold moisture or too wet that it dries out after squeezing leaving behind dry lump. Then make a precautionary moist supply. 

Two, cover your pile using a tarp sheet to prevent it from getting excessively wet in the rainy season or too dry in hot days of summer.  This will also help limit flies, weeds and sweeping nutrients off the pile.

Three, frequent watering will help balance water hold, as it evaporates due to heat and airflow. Try turning the pile either side to provide a significant amount of water to it. 

Also, you may select the right location for your pile build, making it more convenient for clean-carry out-use. A right place, which is high enough to drain excess water or pour additional water when required, thus moisture maintained. 

Pile composition

Often the compost quality depends upon Pile Composition. Pile material provides essential nutrients, and vital decomposing proportion for compost, it renders ‘Carbon for Energy and Nitrogen for Growth’. The microorganisms that are turned into compost are fueled by Carbon and Nitrogen. 

Nitrogen is mainly found in manure and Carbon is found in bedding material, their proper proportion ensures successful composting. An ideal C:N proportion is estimated between 25:1 to 30:1, where carbon is in larger numbers. 

More precisely, Carbon is primarily released by carbon-rich material like straw, wood chips, shavings, sawdust and leaves while animal-byproducts like manure and feeds are rich in Nitrogen. 

Avoid using more bedding into pile build-up, more the bedding (carbon); longer the time for compost completion. Alternatively, if you’re using Coco bedding for your horse, you can reduce carbon pile up in your compost and reduce decompose after effects. 

Note: Compost is combustible, keep the compost pile away from housing, avoid smoking near the compost pile. 

A finished compost will reduce to half its original size, smells good and be like a rich soil.