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Manure management

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by QChickieMama, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Can you all tell me how you compost your manure? We've been piling it up in one area for a year now, but then when I want it for my garden, the fresh is on top.

    How do you compost it?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I use two different compost bins, side by side and made out of spare brick I found when I moved here. One is working and the other is to gather stuff to start a new batch. I also store certain stuff just lying on the ground in that area.

    When I start a new batch I put a layer of rough debris from the garden, corn stalks, bean vines, okra stalks, tomato or pepper vines, whatever rough debris I have stored. That’s the stuff I pile in the vicinity. You could use leaves if you wish. I top that with a layer of the stuff I have been storing in the gathering bin. That is also some rough debris from the garden, but also table scraps and manure. I put some rough debris to give it enough carbons it will start to work without stinking. Some of this stuff is pretty much compost when I use it to start the main pile. I’ll them put a layer of grass clippings to hold in moisture. Then I do another layer of rough debris, stored stuff, and grass clippings. I normally scrape the droppings board and throw a layer of pure poop somewhere in this.

    I usually do three of these sets of layers, winding up with a heaping pile. But within a week or two it has shrunk to half size so I add another set of layers. In another week or so it has shrunk again so I add more. For about a month after I start a new batch I add any scrapings from the droppings board to the working pile, just adding it on top. But then I start putting the fresh manure in the storage side.

    Hope that makes sense. I keep two different piles, one working and one storing.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    How much manure are you talking about, and what animal is producing it?

    We have 3 horses that are drylotted all winter, and stalled often, a beef steer, 20+ chickens, and 4+ goats. All the manure goes in one pile. The pile gets turned every few weeks with the FEL on our 45hp New Holland tractor. It breaks down amazingly fast, and we have "black gold" within a few months.

    The pile it and turn it with the tractor method is the easiest, quickest, and most economical for the amount of manure we produce.
     
  4. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    We have 2 horses, and they're in the stalls about 12 hours per day. Our chickens free-range, so there's nothing to do with their manure. I clean out under the quail pens about twice per year. That's it.

    I put the kitchen scraps (the stuff the chickens don't want) in 3 plastic garbage bins that have holes drilled in them. I water those once in a while & dump them on the garden during the winter.

    Am I supposed to keep the compost and the manure separate? They're both going in the garden once they're decomposed.

    Hubby has a tractor but I don't know if he has a gadget for turning manure or not. That does sound easy enough!
     
  5. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    We just use the loader to turn the pile. I know some people separate their piles. I don't... Never had a problem.
     
  6. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I take my horse and chicken manure and dump it in my garden. I don't turn or till it. Just drop the seeds in after Memorial Day and go from there.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    It’s really standard to clean out a coop or barn and spread the manure on a garden or field in the fall after harvest. By springtime the stuff has broken down and really helps in both nutrients and tilth. Farmers have been doing that for thousands of years.

    Raw manure in a vegetable garden can cause problems. “Can” means it is possible, not that it necessarily happens each and every time. The rate you apply it and where you apply it can make a difference.

    Raw manure can cause scab on potatoes. I’ve burned and killed tomato plants by getting fresh chicken manure too close to the plants. Squash, cucumbers, and melons are pretty sensitive to that too. I don’t worry about this one too much, but raw manure might spread some bad bacteria to your plants. I’m OK with some things, but things like green leafies that are in contact with it would bother me.

    Some manures like cow or horse can carry a lot of weed and grass seeds, whether fresh or rotted. If they are composted the heat generated by composting will kill those seeds, but I never get perfect composting. The stuff in the middle heats up enough but the stuff on the outside doesn’t. That’s a huge reason to turn it. Not only does turning speed up the process, the more you turn it the more you get the seeds in the middle where they will cook.

    If you can come up with a mechanical means to turn it, jump on that, bounce up and down, and go Wee! Wee! Wee! Turning by hand is dirty hard physical labor. That’s why many of us, me included, don’t turn the compost as much as we should.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    My husband and I were taught the same thing from birth. Fresh-outta-the-horse-or-cow poop is "hot" and will burn plants. Aged, composted, or "black gold" manure is ready to be spread or used wherever.

    The tractor does make turning the pile super easy. Just don't be on the down-wind side of the pile on a windy day, or you get a nice smelly coating of yucky "dust".
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    This! Yes. I think my husband is convinced to get a front-loader attachment now. I've been procrastinating doing this research about manure b/c I couldn't even handle the idea of more labor needed out there. I was thinking, gee, if hubby is going to spend hours forking poop, I won't have his help in a zillion other areas on the farm.

    Yesterday it took hubby and 4 of the kids a few hours to get all the old manure to the garden. We're getting the machines we need, little by little, but now we know what would be our next purchase.

    I'm still cleaning up from "muddy" boots.
     
  10. res

    res Chillin' With My Peeps

    You will not regret getting a FEL for a second! We use ours constantly! I cannot imagine being without one...
     

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